A common fixture in many small communities is the “bike-man.” The bike-man is not a mechanic who fixes your mountain bike or performance racer, though he is certainly an able mechanic. The bike-man is the man who trawls the neighborhoods and garage sales in town, looking for junked or nearly junked bicycles, to restore and sell for next-to-nothing to children who need a good bike, but can’t really afford one. His mantra is “every child needs a bike and every bike needs a child.” He is motivated not by profit or by challenge, but simply out of the desire to see things that are thrown away, restored to useful and joyful purposefulness.
The bike-man is an apt metaphor for the God of the Bible, in whose image he is made. For the persistent theme of Scripture is God’s redemptive purpose to take men, women, boys and girls “thrown away” by sin, and to renew and restore them to useful and joyful purposefulness. And more than that, to make them His own, to love and value and cherish.
One of the Bible’s great themes is that of adoption. We are familiar with the power of an adoption story. When a child is victim of tragic circumstance or is unloved or uncared for, orphaned and thrown away, how beautiful it is when a parent comes and adopts that child into their family to cherish and nourish. When we adopt we become like the bike-man, taking those others have set out on the curb, restoring them to useful and joyful purposefulness, and giving them a loving family. More importantly we become like our Heavenly Father who adopts us who were set out on the curb by our sinful rebellion, yet reconciled and adopted because of the finished work of the God’s only-born Son. The scripture says that our God, is a “father to the fatherless, [who] sets the lonely in families” and that through faith we have “received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
As the story of Jacob draws to a close in the final chapters of Genesis, we see the first account of an adoption in the Bible. Jacob adopts his two grandsons, Ephraim and Manasseh. These boys were not homeless or uncared for, but Jacob adopts them to include them in the promises of God and to give them a stake with God’s people. Likewise, God graciously adopts us through faith in Christ that we might know and trust in His good promises of salvation and eternal life and so that we might throw in our lot with His family, the Church, and not with those who are alienated and estranged and orphaned from God’s grace and from real community.
Join us for worship this Lord’s Day, September 16, at Pottsville Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church as we examine Genesis 48 and consider beauty and power of our adoption as sons and daughters of God. For directions click here. We look forward to seeing you there.