This morning we begin a dark week of reflecting upon how early in The Great Story what was made so very good became so very bad. Genesis 3 begins with a single step that leads into what many, including Eugene Peterson in his Bible translation, The Message, have come to call the “downward spiral.” That one first step was deceit. Deceit from the lips of the serpent led to doubting the truth God had spoken which led to fear which played on pride and led to disobedience.
For those who are reading through the whole Bible in a year, today’s reading comes from Genesis 28-30. Esau’s hatred burned against his brother Jacob whose name mean’s “usurper,” one who wrongfully takes the place of another . . . deceiver. That’s exactly what Jacob did as their father Isaac was nearing his death and ready to give each son the blessing rightfully due him. Jacob had already taken his brother’s birthright by taking advantage of Esau in a vulnerable moment. Jacob journeys to a place called Paddan Aram and soon falls in love with Rachel, the daughter of his uncle Laban. Laban deceives him into marrying his other daughter, Leah (who, it seems, didn’t have as much of a chance at marriage and a future). Laban get’s a two-for-one deal as Jacob marries both daughters. The deceiver has now been deceived! Deception, it is clear, came from the mouth of the serpent, entered into the human soul, and has resided there corrupting the image of God ever since.
What’s amazing is that through all of this God never ceases to be at work. In these same chapters, God comes to Jacob in a dream at Bethel and renews the very words of the covenant He established with Abraham (Genesis 12). And from Jacob’s marriage to both of Laban’s daughters, Rachel and Leah, come the 12 sons whose names would be remembered in history as the Twelve Tribes of Israel. So, we can not read the bad with total discouragement. What incredible hope and promise that even through the infection of deceit and disobedience God continues to prepare and administer the Antidote.
How directly this relates to the reading for today in Matthew 10 where we find Jesus preparing His disciples to be sent out on His behalf:
So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. -Matthew 10:26-27
Just imagine what a group of people could do if we were totally committed to the truth even when surrounded by lies. We could change the world.