Let’s just say it, Jacob is pretty much a jerk.
The stories we have of him in Genesis 26 and following make him out to be a jerk. He cheats his brother out of what was rightfully his, he tries his trickery on others, sometimes succeeding and other times not so much. His actions are passed along as his children act in similarly deceitful ways. But there are points along the way where it seems like Jacob is turning in a new direction even as others follow in his footsteps.
As I read the initial parts of Jacob’s stories, I thought about how it is hard to begin to live in new ways – either in our own actions or in the ways that others perceive us. I know there are things in my past that are not things that I would say or do today and I am grateful for God’s forgiveness, the forgiveness of others, and even my own forgiveness for myself. Jacob does change his ways as you get further in the story but he has a hard time escaping his past.
But I am grateful to God that there is always the possibility of going a new way from the ones that we find ourselves on and for new directions that we can set out upon with the help of the Holy Spirit. I am grateful that “once a jerk” doesn’t always mean, “always a jerk.”