The man, the lord of the land, spoke roughly to us and took us to be spies of the land. Genesis 42:30
It is striking how often the first words Jesus spoke to people in the Gospels might easily have turned them away.
In Matthew 15, a Canaanite woman came to Jesus and begged him for help. Jesus said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” She would not take no for an answer. Then Jesus said, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” You would think at this point she would take offense and go, but instead she says, “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Jesus finally said, “Woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire” (15:21-28).
Perhaps you come to church, and what you hear is not comfortable. The Word of God is disturbing to you. One way to describe the Bible is that it has two parts—the law and the gospel. It tells us what God requires of us and it reveals to us what God provides for us. Only when you feel the weight of the law will you see your need of the gospel.
If you feel convicted of sin today, thank God for it. To be at peace when your sins are not dealt with is the worst of all positions! When God speaks to you harshly—which is what conviction of sins feels like—it is actually the greatest kindness.
The great irony in the story of Jacob is that the man who speaks harshly is the brother who loves Jacob’s sons, and whose undeserved favor will save them. God may seem to be against you, but He is totally for you in Jesus Christ, and when you come to know who He is, you will see all that He says and all that He does in a completely different light.
Have you felt the weight of the law? This is the first work of becoming a Christian. Have you seen your need of the gospel?