Phone Line Transcript 2001
66 Books You Should NOT Read If You
Want To Remain a Jehovah's Witness
No.3 Genesis : Jehovah, God of Grace (Phone Series)
Is anything impossible for Jehovah? We congratulate Jehovah's Witnesses for entitling one of their best-selling books Things in which it is impossible for God to lie. But we ask them, Do they believe the God who cannot lie when he inspired Moses to write Yahweh appeared to Abram? This God does not explain how He does things -- He simply does them. Though 2 of the 3 'men' who Abraham had entertained go on towards Sodom, as for Jehovah, he was still standing before Abraham.
Do you believe what the New World Translation says? Abraham, who according to ch.18 had even washed the feet of Jehovah, is by now feeling familiar enough to haggle with His God. We read in verses 23-32 that Abraham felt sure enough of Yahweh's grace to know that if this God found even 10 righteous men there, He would spare the whole city. But there were not 10 righteous men there, not even one truly faithful, for even Lot and his family had become compromised by materialism and sensuality, to the point where Lot's daughters would not only marry Sodomites, but would later commit incest with their father. Nevertheless, in the compassion of Jehovah upon him, Lot and his daughters survived the overthrow of Sodom. Lot knew he hadn't earned God's grace. Indeed grace, by definition, cannot be earned. Grace is ALL of God, undeserved kindness, unmerited favour, or as Lot himself confessed in 19:19, you are magnifying your loving- kindness. God doesn't magnify his loving-kindness by saving people who deserve to be saved. That would be simply justice. Grace is God with no help from us.
And so it goes throughout the rest of Genesis. Abraham's heaven-given son Isaac has no extraordinary spiritual virtues. In fact one of the few deeds recorded of his long life is a deception parallel to Abram's in Egypt. And his children reflect poorly on their father. Not only Esau, who sold his birthright for a bowl of stew. But Jacob, who cheated both brother and father to get the family blessing. Jacob, whose children carried on the family tradition of deceit, and didn't shrink back from murderous vendetta after deceit. The family hall of shame included Jacob's first 4 sons, one who slept with his father's concubine, two who revenged their sister's rape by murdering a whole town's male population, and another who frequented prostitutes. Not learning from the grace of God a better way, these 4 and the rest of their brothers even conspired to destroy their own younger brother out of jealousy. Yet Yahweh's covenant with their great-grandfather Abraham could not be cancelled by even their best efforts. Part of the chastisement for these sins took the entire family to Egypt again. Here, just as Jacob's sins came back to haunt him in his children, so the sins of those children were visited upon their offspring. Nevertheless, mercy triumphed over judgment again. Egypt, the place of their chastisement, became the cradle of the nation Israel. Jacob the liar became Israel, a Prince with God. In blessing his sons before he dies, Jacob now Israel can trace the hand of God's grace even during his family's worst times: The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has shepherded me all my life until now, bless the boys.
Next week: Salvation or service -- which comes first?