This was not meant to be Myth Busters Pt. 2, but God used my little blog theme to teach me this morning (He's so nice to condescend). I'm reading Genesis right now and it's blowing my mind! Here's the myth: "God's people in the Bible were really good people. It's basically a collection of moral heroes that we are to emulate." At least I know I've often thought that.
Throughout the Old Testament, God is referred to as "the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob" as if those guys are like, the all-stars of humanity and everyone is wowed by their character. Well, I'm only through Genesis 27 but so far, Abraham and Isaac both lied about their wives in order to save their own skin, Abraham got his servant pregnant then cast her out of his home, Isaac favored his older son because he was a better hunter (I thought that only happened in South Carolina!), and Jacob's very name means Deceiver- he lied outright to his own father to steal the older brother's blessing.
Not exactly the all-stars I had made them out to be. In fact, as I'm reading, I can't help but be a bit disgusted by them. I'm finding that reading through God's Word seems to leave very little room for being impressed with man at all. The only option I truly have is to be impressed with God. God created everything and actually deserves and can demand right behavior (stop and think about this- we all demand "right" behavior from others. Just listen to all our talk about "human rights." We, who do wrong all the time, still feel entitled to good treatment. How much more does God actually deserve right behavior from His creatures?). Yet this God weds Himself to an unfaithful, ungrateful, undeserving people and transforms them with His goodness. This God loves them- and me- not because any of us have "impressed Him" (ha!) with our good deeds or pure hearts. God loves because of His pure heart, and in spite of our "good deeds"- which are filthy rags compared to Him! God's relationship with His people doesn't show that He picked the cream of the crop, but that instead, He picked the opposite- in order to show Himself as Redeemer.
If I've ever read the Bible thinking the central theme is, "be good," I was mistaken. What is actually at the center of this great story is God declaring of Himself, "I AM good."