Jacob, as described in Genesis, was a liar and a deceiver. To my shame, I know plenty about those traits as well.
I'd like to think I've never scammed another or lied, but honesty says otherwise. Jacob gives me hope, because God reached out to a determined swindler and utterly changed him. God even changed his name to Israel, which means "one who strives with God."
In Psalm 135, as the praises swell to honor God's name, the question "why?" comes up. Why would we sing anthems to God's beautiful name?
Here's the answer: "Because God chose Jacob, embraced Israel as a prize possession." (Psalms 135:4)
Jacob was locked in his sin, running from its consequences, when God snagged him. God chose Jacob while Jacob's thoughts were on self-preservation. And then God changed him.
Jacob had a new name and a new label: a prize possession.
That's God's grace: to choose Jacob the Grabby and turn him into Israel the Prize Possession. Hallelujah!
But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us!
Romans 5:8 (HCSB)