Genesis 30:1-2: And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die. And Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?
Galatians 1:3-4: Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
Am I in God’s stead or is he in mine? This informs us of something important about every one of us. The situation between Rachel and Leah was tense. Jacob’s response to Rachel’s question was that the answer is in God’s hands.
It’s inherent in every human. We have the nature to feel we’re our own ruler. Some believe because they know so much, or because of their physical abilities or their status that they are a god. Some don’t feel the need to serve God because they are doing pretty well without him. Rachel was barren. Leah had several children. Rachel was frustrated and told Jacob he needed to give her children or she would die. He asked her if he was in God’s stead. In other words could he step in God’s place?
Each of us is here because God allowed it to be. We’re a gift of God and have a purpose. We can be deluded thinking we don’t need God. “I can do things for myself.” Many have given me this answer through the years stating they are doing pretty good; they are good people. Look, the fact of the matter is that without Jesus Christ we are not all right! Jacob was telling Rachel she’d never have a child until God allowed it to happen. He didn’t have the power of life and death.
The word stead means to fill someone’s place as a substitute. In school we loved it when substitute teachers came. We treated them differently. There is no substitute for God or the need for him. There is no substitute for the Savior. No substitute for salvation of our soul. We cannot save ourselves by ourselves. There is no power within us to be ruler of our own life and do a better job than God can do. That’s a foolish attitude to have. One thing has been clear to me through the years: I need God and I need Jesus!
If you’re trying to and feel you can take care of your soul, consider how good a job you’re doing. The more a person attempts to save himself the more lost he is. The more he tries to be like God, the more depraved he becomes. The Bible says for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. We’re fallen. Our heart is deceitful above all things. If you expect to get to heaven without Jesus, you will realize your mistake as soon as you leave this life. What a mistake you’ve made!
By believing what Jesus did in our stead we can be saved. We cannot step in God’s stead but he, through Jesus Christ, stepped down to be in our stead. He bore our sins so we wouldn’t have to bear them ourselves. Any other plan won’t work. You cannot save yourself from your health problems. You can say you’ll never go to the doctor or to the emergency room. That’s a foolish statement, so what makes you think you can save your soul? Not a one of us can say we’re without fault or failure. The only one who can say that is Jesus Christ. How then can we say we can save our soul? We also can’t stop the passage of time. The katydids are already “didding.” We can’t stop the passage of our life. We’re closer to our death than ever. What makes us think we can save our soul? If we can’t do these things, why do we think we’re gods?
We have far less freedom than we think. Without God we are bound in darkness. What we can’t do by our own works, Jesus did. He gave himself all the way to the cross to deliver me. That lets us all know that we can never be and do, but Jesus did and can. We can’t be in the stead of God. Jesus did step in our stead. God is holy and infallible; we are not. God is all powerful; we are not. We don’t possess the knowledge of God no matter how good our education. Our knowledge is very limited. We don’t possess presence. We may feel like we’re stretched pretty thin, but we can still only be in one place at one time; God is everywhere. I’m glad I don’t have to be God! We are not God’s size. We feel big and talk like our reach is way out there. We fool ourselves. We are nothing compared to God. He fills heaven and earth. We don’t possess the unchanging attributes of God. We change from day to day. We’re on one day and off the next. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. I’m glad this eternal God looked down at me and stepped in my place. I’m glad to have a Savior. The only way to know I have forgiveness of sins and will get to go to heaven is because I’m trusting in Jesus Christ.
We cannot save ourselves. In order to save us God had to step in our stead. We can’t be God, but we can have a God forever. If you can’t do all these things, why do you think you can save yourself? The only thing you can do is trust in the one who stepped in your stead.