Jesus won for us what Esau lost

6 min read

Esau, Isaac’s older son, is slick. He is skilled. He studied in one of the world’s elite universities. He travels all over the world signing big deals. He is a gym buff. His body makes ladies drool – you should see his calves. He is single. Oh, yes, red meat for the ladies. Everyone wants to hang out with him. He is a cool dude. He is the apple of his father’s eyes. When he is in town, he takes his father to five-star Michelin restaurants. To get a table in these restaurants, you need to book six months in advance. He knows a few people. He can pull some strings. No big deal. He is a man of action. He is a man’s man.

Esau has a brother. His name is Jacob. Jacob is a quiet guy who loves to stay at home with his mum. We rarely see him in public. That’s all we know about Jacob.

One day, Esau comes home after his long travels abroad, exhausted and hungry. He finds Jacob in the kitchen cooking a sumptuous vegan stew. It seems Jacob is vegan. “Hey J, give me some that of that. I’m starving”. The bible tells us at this point his name changed to Edom. “Dude”, Jacob, his quiet brother replies, “sell me your birthright”. Esau hesitates. His hunger pangs grow louder. “C’mon J, I can’t give you that. You know I’m the eldest son. Dad would kill me”. Jacob gives him a blank look. “Dude”, he says, “sell me your birthright or you aren’t having my vegan stew”. Esau hesitates but gives in. “Okay, okay, I will. Here’s my plate. Quick”. “Not that quickly”, Jacob replies. “Let’s shake hands. This agreement is as good as death. Cool?” “Okay, okay. Here’s my hand. Shake it quickly. I’m starving”. Esau swears to Jacob and gives him his birthright. Jacob serves Esau his vegan dish. Esau eats, drinks and off he goes. By this act, Esau had despised his birthright.

What is a birthright?

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Why God accepts us despite our foolishness

6 min read

The book of Job has a happy ending. The proverbial “they lived happily ever after” comes through. Job’s suffering ends, and he is blessed with more than he had before. He gets a family. His daughters are the most beautiful in the land. He gives them an inheritance, something unknown in the ancient world. In the ancient world, only the eldest son got the inheritance. So here we see Job, a very progressive man in ancient times. Job lived long enough to see his great, great, great, great-grandkids. (Job 42:12-16)

But as he suffered, he had these three foolish friends who gave him advice on why bad things were happening to him. Apart from the young man, Elihu, the rest, elderly men were just wrong. At the end of the book of Job, God appears, he is angry at them. My anger burns against you and against your two friends, God says to Eliphaz. For you didn’t speak what is right to Job. (Job 42:7-8) God is livid.

God gets angry? An irreligious person may ask. This idea that God gets angry is offensive to those who believe God is only loving. The same people cannot reconcile how God should deal with evil and injustice. How should God deal with unrepentant paedophiles, wife beaters, mass murderers, despots and the like? They turn themselves inside out trying to explain how God should deal with the problem of evil and injustice.

Why shouldn’t God be angry? A God who doesn’t get angry at injustice is not loving. This is a senile old man, an indifferent being. I will not in a million year’s worship or obey this God. Never. God gets angry because he is love and he loves. In a recent TV advert, the voice-over artist says this of Chef Gordon Ramsey, the foul-mouthed, award-winning chef, “he is only angry because he cares”. Even advertising companies know this to be true.

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Is your God big enough to handle your doubts?

4 min read

Abraham and Sarah are old, like really old. God appears to Abraham and tells him the most ridiculous thing ever. You will have a son. Abraham bursts out laughing. Like Abraham really laughs until he collapses on the floor. Like seriously, Lord? Are you for real? Nah, you are joking. Do you know how old I am? Have you seen Sarah lately? Dude, Sarah is old, like old. Everything with her has gone south. Are you kidding me? Abraham informs God (God rolls his eyes) that he already has a son. Why do you need to give me another one? I have this one. Where is he? Bring him here? God tells Abraham, Nah, this one will not be your heir. Isaac the son I will give to you will. (Genesis 17:15-22)

The same Abraham had thirteen years before slept with his maid to satisfy Sarah’s whims. A passive man and adulterer. Many years preceding this event, he had conspired with his ‘sister’ to lie to Pharaoh. God gave Abraham a sinner made righteous a promise, a magnanimous promise.

Sometime later, God appears to Abraham and Sarah. Abraham is savvy enough to know these aren’t the usual guests. He says to Sarah quick make some roti (chapati) and let me get the young man to make some beef curry. They make the dishes and serve the guests. Like a butler, Abraham stands silently as his guests eat. As they eat, the main guest asks where Sarah is. Sarah is in the tent, eavesdropping. The guest says to Abraham, next time this year, Sarah, your wife will have a son. Unlike Abraham, Sarah laughs within herself. “Like I am old, but have you seen Abraham? Can I even enjoy making love? I am too old for such things”, Sarah laughs. The laugh wasn’t audible, but God heard it. Why did Sarah laugh? The guest asks Abraham. Is anything too difficult for the Lord to do? But Sarah denies it, making her a liar. (Genesis 18:1-15)

Sarah doubts, is a liar and thirteen odd years before she made Abraham sleep with Hagar and give her a son. Years preceding this incident, she was a co-conspirator with her husband when they lied to Pharaoh. Sarah is a sinner indeed.

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The God who defends willful sinners

5 min read

Genesis 12:1, now the Lord said to Abram. Who is this Abram? Let me tell you. He is the firstborn of Terah. The family is from Ur and they are idol worshippers. His family has family idols. They pay homage and offer sacrifices to these idols. Every family has one or more idols. The Lord, Yahweh, speaks to this idolater. We have to take a pit stop and address this.  

The Christian faith is notorious for showcasing instances where God spoke to and spoke with people of dubious character. Murderers, liars, adulterers, thieves, schemers, fearmongers, doubters and the like. A good Christian shouts, God is holy, God is righteous. God only deals with people who are righteous and holy as he is. I ask, then please explain how he spoke to Abram and idolater. He spoke to Cain after he had killed his brother and promised to protect him. The good Christian fumbles and look for the exit sign. God speaks to sinners. This is a shocking truth even to me who believes the gospel of grace. I know I’m a sinner. Fact. But that God speaks to me, that’s just not right. 

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God’s barak over you in 2020.

4 min read

For some years now, I’ve developed a habit of reading through the whole bible. I formed this habit out of the rediscovery of the gospel of grace. I heard these words from several people, that “the bible is all about Jesus”, and these words ignited a desire in me to read this ancient text to find out if what they told me was true. It is true. The bible, this ancient text is all about Jesus.

This year, I got myself a new bible and begun following a bible reading plan. If you are interested, I use the Olive Tree app. The app has several bible reading plans. I use the Chronological plan. This plan helps you to move through the bible in chronological order—according to recent historical research as the order of events occurred. I enjoy it. Try it.

Genesis 1-3 was my first reading of the year. Genesis 1:22 reads and God blessed them. Them? Swarms of living creatures in the waters and the birds of the sky.

Vs 28 and God blessed them and said to them. Them? Adam—a general term for humankind. By this time, Eve wasn’t there yet. So, in a generic sense, God blesses all humankind—Adam.

What did God say over them?

Genesis 1:28 NLT
Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”

As usual, some words give me an itch I have to scratch. The word blessed is such. The Hebrew word for blessed is barak, which means lightning (noun). Its verb form means to kneel, be adored, to lavish with praise and affection.

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Books I’ve enjoyed reading in 2019

Hi everyone,

It’s been a while since my last post. Been busy moving house. I’m only catching my breath now. They say moving house is the next most stressful thing after a family member dying. I always thought the former was a joke until it happened. What a stressful time it has been. The moving scrambled my reading and writing rhythm. It was hectic. Anyway, Jenny and I are beginning to have a semblance of normalcy in our new home. With this “normalcy”, I thought I should sign off 2019 with a list of literary works I’ve enjoyed reading.

So, here we go

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Echoes of grace in the Springboks Rugby World Cup Win

5 min read

South Africa’s national rugby team known as the Springboks or the Boks arrived from Japan with the Webb Ellis Cup. They defeated the English Roses with an emphatic 32-12 win. They made history. Siya Kolisi was the first black captain of the team. This was a momentous achievement. You need to live in South Africa to know what this meant to the nation and especially to black South Africans. Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe were the first players in rugby history to score tries in a final. It hadn’t happened before. The Springboks were also the first team in history to have lost their first game against the All Blacks and gone on to win the main cup. A lot of firsts. 

When they landed at ORTIA—the O. R Tambo International Airport, jubilant South Africans from across the nation met them. It was a glorious homecoming. I watched on TV the scenes unfold at the airport. Jenny was on her laptop finishing some work. Bad!

As usual, I see grace; I see the gospel everywhere. Grace is present everywhere. The point of this short post is to showcase grace in this historic win. 

Here is grace

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A mother and her two sons

6 min read

Then the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus with her sons. She knelt respectfully to ask a favor. “What is your request?” he asked. She replied, “In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.” But Jesus answered by saying to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?” “Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!” Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup. But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. My Father has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.” Matthew 20:20-23 (NLT) 

Oh, mothers and their sons. They will do anything for their sons. James and John’s mother is one suburbanite lady who is always looking out for their best. She gets her sons into the best schools, social clubs, and even restaurants. She is a pusher. She knows the mayor’s wife and had good social connections. She is a career woman. She frequents beauty spa’s twice a week. Her exercise regimen, bar none. Her marriage is not that great, but hey, her two sons are her pride and joy, her significance and worth. Of course, they are. Most important of all, she is a spiritual woman. Oh, she goes to Church. She leads the lady’s ministry. She sings with the worship team. She is a super mum. 

She approaches Jesus, kneels down and asks Jesus a favor. “In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left. Is that workable, Jesus? Could you make that happen? These are good boys. I have raised them well. Look, they even follow you. I mean, I raised them as instructed by King Solomon, If a child is trained up in the right way, even when he is old he will not be turned away from it. See I have done my part, now do yours.”

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