The book of Genesis is one of my favorite books in the Scriptures. There are numerous fascinating characters, events, charming stories, and ultimately a message of hope for a fallen world. This theme of hope is wrapped up in another major theme of the book, and that is the sovereignty of God.
The word "sovereignty" means all powerful.
This strikes me. If God is both sovereign and good, why do bad things happen in the world? Why terrorists? Why attacks on innocent people? If God was truly sovereign and good, then it seems to follow that he wouldn't allow evil things to happen. This must mean then that God is either not sovereign (can't stop evil from happening), or not good (he likes bad things to happen).
There is a third option, however, that the book of Genesis offers.
The author of Genesis reminds us that even though there is evil in the world, God is, in fact, sovereign and good. This is best exemplified in the story of Jacob. Jacob, as a human being with free will, falls far from the proverbial tree of faith that is his grandfather Abraham. Jacob is the one who is to inherit the promise of bringing blessing and healing to the world.
However, Jacob is a liar, a thief, and a master manipulator who always ends up getting himself into trouble. Since the moment of his birth he was making attempts to get the upper hand, and even over and against his twin brother! He was only interested in his own concerns and fulfilling his own desires. He wanted to be powerful and rich, and didn't care if this meant walking on other people, even his own family, to get it.
This doesn't sound too out of the ordinary (unfortunately). We can say, "Jacob is just like so many others in the world even today." The problem with this is that this is the guy through whom healing and restoration is supposed to come to the world! God promised that he would actively work to redeem the evil in the world and that he would do it through Jacob.
When we consider Jacob's life we can't help but wonder if perhaps people can get in the way of God's good work in the world. Can people thwart God's plan?
This is where the heart of the message comes through Jacob's story. The author tells us that God can use anyone to bring about his plan in the world. If he can take a guy like Jacob and turn him into the hope of the world, then he can do anything.
We find a similar theme in Jesus' story. "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" What can a simple man from a simple family who ends up being executed by the Roman government do to change history?
The story of both Jacob and Jesus reminds us that not only is God sovereign enough to use the lowly of the world to accomplish his purposes, but he redeems every act of evil in the world. Every evil act, every act of injustice and terror will be redeemed and God will use it to serve his greater purposes.
The murder of Jesus was the greatest injustice known to the world, and this was the event through which God's justice came to the world.
God is in the business of redeeming evil for God. He is that powerful.