What are you ashamed of?
With this simple question, David Ramos establishes the deep, freeing theme of this devotional, Escaping with Jacob: 30 Devotionals to Help You Find Your Identity, Forgive Your Past, and Walk in Your Purpose.
Reading about Jacob’s life is tough. Frankly, he’s not the most sympathetic of biblical characters. It’s hard to feel sorry for someone who lies, cheats and schemes. And that, perhaps, is the point. The reader is moved to confront her own lack of goodness. We may not like Jacob, but we can relate to him.
Jacob’s life of running and wrestling is illuminated brilliantly through this book. At any point he could have turned around. He could have repented. In many ways, he knew better. But don’t we all?
Day 14, midway through the book, brings us to the crisis point in the life of the patriarch. “Many of us are like Jacob. We have something incredibly shameful in our past. A weight that is so heavy, it has in a big way defined and shaped who we have become.” God stands in Jacob’s way. He will not allow him to pass until the great burdens, the great shames, of his life are dealt with. That is our own great crisis point. We must also wrestle with God, allowing Him to draw us into submission. From here He takes the darkness of our pasts and shapes it in the light of His grace.
I appreciate that David Ramos keeps each day’s reflections brief. His focus is not on expounding on every point of the passage, but rather to prompt the reader to ponder the overarching truth of God’s graciousness. Over and over he asks us to recognize and celebrate the greatness and goodness of God. We are given permission to be small and human. This doesn’t mean we have no responsibility, but it does mean that we don’t have to waste time beating ourselves.
I received a free electronic copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.