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Jacob And Laban

“So it came about in the morning that, behold, it was Leah! And he said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served with you? Why then have you deceived me?””(Genesis 29:25)

Some call it Karma. Some call it poetic justice. Others use expressions like the chickens have come home to roost; what comes around, goes around; just desserts; or, as my grandma used to say: Gettin’ your comeuppance. Whatever name you want to call it, it’s something that seems to happen far too often to ourselves and far too seldom to those who have wronged us. Yet in God’s program, it is something that we are assured will happen to all of us eventually. Sooner or later, we all must pay the piper.

Far, far too many Christians go about their lives with the unspoken, underlying belief that since our sins have been covered by the Blood of Jesus Christ, then our sins carry with them no consequence. Nobody ever really comes right out and says this, but it is not hard to see that a great many professing Christians believe this by the way they live. Since the fear of Hell is alleviated by the promises of God’s Word, many believers conclude that no other penalty worth mentioning awaits further sin and that they are now free to transgress the commandments of God with complete impunity. But God’s Word assures us all that our misdeeds have a nasty way of coming back to bite us later:

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” (Galatians 6:7)

“Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52)

Back when we were in Genesis 3 in this study, we talked about the Ironic Nature of God’s Judgments; how the holy judgments of the Lord seem to always be filled with poetic justice and “comeuppance.” This is a lesson that Jacob learned under the apt tutelage of his Uncle Laban. Not only was the self-styled master of deceit himself hoodwinked, the pure irony of it all had to leave him with the heartsick realization that he was, in fact, getting exactly what he deserved. Not so long ago Jacob, the younger sibling, had posed as his elder brother; sneaking into the tent of his father pretending to be Esau (Genesis 27). Now, the elder sibling of his beloved Rachel comes into his tent; posing as her younger sister (Genesis 29:23). The wedding veil concealed from Jacob what the blindness of old-age had hidden from the sight of his father Isaac. Jacob’s own words of protest had to have lacked any real conviction, even as he spoke them (Gen. 29:25), for Laban had done no differently to him than he and Rebekah had done to Isaac.

Jacob’ sin of deceiving his father and taking advantage of his brother Esau did not cause him to cease to be a child of God. He did not earn himself a spot in Hell through his actions. But I believe if we were to ask him he would say that his conduct was hardly without consequence. In fact, he would likely tell us that the judgment that came on him was in direct proportion and in the very same manner to what he had done. The punishment fit the crime, as it were. A lot of Christians learn this same lesson long after it becomes too late to stop the chain of events that they themselves have put into motion. Though their sins are forgiven and their relationship to God is unchanged, they learn that the Lord does indeed “chasteneth those whom He loves” (Hebrews 12:6 KJV).

But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.” (1 Corinthians 11:31-32)

Praise God that there is hope that we can escape some of the consequences which our sinfulness earns for us. If we judge our own sins, confessing them to the Lord and turning from them, then we can avoid many of God’s judgments on our lives. When we “judge ourselves”, then it is not necessary for the Lord to bring our sins to our attention. Yes, we may still have to deal with the other consequences of our actions, but the Lord’s chastening hand will not be one of them.

May we all live before the Lord in such a way that we shall rejoice in the fact that we will reap what we have sown — not despair of it.

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published June 17, 2010]

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

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Jacob In Haran

“And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother.” (Genesis 29:10)

Genesis 29 opens up on the same high note which Genesis 28 closed with. “Jacob went on his journey”, the King James Version tells us. The Hebrew literally reads that he “lifted up his feet“, conveying the idea that Jacob is refreshed now and filled with a newness of strength and purpose. His direct encounter with the Lord God Who visited him through his dream the night before has definitely made a powerful impression on Jacob. He is not timid and lonely anymore, but seems to proceed with a fresh spring in his step; the heaviness of the fear of Esau now giving way to the encouragement that can only come from the confidence that God’s mercy rests upon him.

In some ways, I wish that Genesis 29 was but a single verse in length because things go downhill from there. How many people have we known who have left a Sunday church service with a renewed zeal and purpose, their faces glowing with a revitalized passion for the things of God, only to return to business, as usual, come Monday morning? Even worse, the pricking of their own conscience and the convicting work of the Holy Spirit are now muffled by the illusion that all is well within them. For many, there is little doubt that the former state is preferable to the latter; since a solitary feasting at a banquet does little more for the starving man than satiate him for a short time, all the while further callousing his sensitivity to the hunger pangs by which he perishes.

But we are convinced of better things concerning Jacob. For God will call Jacob back to Bethel and will revive the wayward prodigal to Himself. But for now, unfortunately, Jacob must pass through some difficulties resultant of his reliance on self rather than trusting in the provision of God. Verse 2 of Genesis 29 begins to paint a familiar, yet somewhat dissimilar scene to one we read about in Genesis 24. A meeting at a well, a beautiful young girl, a man in search of a bride. But something is strangely absent this time, something is different. The humility and quiet determination of Eliezer, Abraham’s servant, has been replaced by the headstrong recklessness of Jacob, Abraham’s grandson. The observance of polite etiquette which Eliezer demonstrated stands in stark contrast to Jacob’s brashness. Jacob presumptuously refers to strangers as “my brethren” (v.4), and then proceeds to instruct them in how they ought to be conducting their business affairs (v. 7). To top it all off, Jacob takes it upon himself to move the stone guarding the well without being bidden or permitted to do so (v. 10)!

I am sure that more than a few of the onlookers were a little shocked when this stranger threw himself upon Rachel and began to loudly sob (v. 11). It is obvious that Jacob was very enthusiastic and emotional about having arrived at his destination, but there seems to be more than mere social impropriety during Jacob’s encounter with Rachel that set it in great variance to Eliezer’s encounter with Rebekah years before:

“And [Eliezer] said O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham…And [Eliezer] bowed down his head, and worshipped the LORD.” (Genesis 24:12, 26)

Now, there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that it was God’s will for Jacob to marry Rachel, but I wonder if things might have ended a little more pleasantly for Jacob if he had been trusting more in God and less in his own abilities? Perhaps Jacob was relying on the direction of the Lord more than we are told in the narrative, but it sure doesn’t look like it. God led Jacob to the exact spot where he ended up at the exact time he ended up there, but it doesn’t appear that Jacob was fully understanding just how much God was directing things. Even Jacob’s vow back in Genesis 28:20-21 seems a little “wishy-washy.” “If God will do this, if God will take care of me, if God will bring me back to my father’s house…” God had already promised that He would do these things (Gen. 28:15)!

So, Jacob comes to the well where Rachel was bringing her father’s herds filled with confidence and determination, but it sure doesn’t seem to be a humble determination in God like Eliezer had. It looks a lot more like self-assuredness than a firm faith in God. But have we not all been guilty of such from time to time? We reach a spiritual mountaintop and have a very intimate encounter with our Lord, and then we come down from that mountaintop fully energized to face the trials of our lives. That is, face them in our own strength! God never told Jacob “I will be with you so that you can do what I have spoken to you”, no, He said “Behold I am with thee…I will not leave thee until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of” (Gen. 28:15 emphasis added). God doesn’t tell us that He is going to strengthen us to accomplish His will in our lives, He tells us that He is going to accomplish His will in our lives. God did not appear to Jacob just so that Jacob would become a little more confident in his own abilities, to have a little greater trust in his own ingenuity. God appeared to Jacob in order that Jacob would be confident in the Lord’s abilities and not continue to trust in his own. He does the same with us.

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published June 10, 2010]

All Scripture quotations in this post are taken from the King James Version (KJV) of the Holy Bible

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

Jacob’s Ladder

“He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.” (Genesis 28:12)

In Jacob’s journey from his father’s house to Haran, we are told of only one event. A single incident is described from what was otherwise considered an insignificant trip. Jacob dreamed a dream, a dream about a ladder which reached down from Heaven and rested upon the earth. This ladder, or stairway, was covered with angels of God ascending and descending its steps. From the summit of this ladder stood the Lord Himself, calling down to Jacob as he slept. The Lord announced to Jacob Who He is and confirmed to him that he would inherit the land which was first promised to Abraham, his grandfather.

The imagery from this dream illustrates one of the most recognizable scenes from the entire Old Testament. But what exactly was this dream all about? What is the meaning of “Jacob’s Ladder?” What was God trying to show him? Let us consider what this dream meant to Jacob:

What The Dream Meant To Jacob

Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” (Genesis 28:16-17)

The concept that God is not confined to any particular place is something that most modern believers understand, but imagine if we were in Jacob’s place? As far as he was concerned, he had left the God of his father Isaac and his grandfather Abraham behind when he fled from the wrath of Esau (Gen. 27:43). The desolate place in which he had arrived, filled with steep rocky crags and littered with boulders stretching skyward, must have done little to reassure him otherwise. Though he had secured the blessing of his father, though he had acquired the position of “first-born” with all the rights and privileges that entailed, he was still, at this point, little more than a frightened fugitive, fleeing for his very life. The loneliness that encompassed him as he now swapped the comforts of Isaac’s household for pillows of stone must have been suffocating.

But this would not be a troubled and dreamless night. Jacob would find sleep, and in that slumber, he would encounter God Himself. And what would the Lord have to say to him? Would He scold him for his unrepentant duplicity with which he had defrauded both his father and his brother? Would God chastise Jacob for his less than honorable actions? We must make no mistake, Jacob would pay a price for what he had done, but not before receiving the assurance that God would be with him always. Before arriving at the house of his Uncle Laban (where he would be outfoxed and beaten at his own game), Jacob would have this direct revelation of God’s mercy, grace, and protection that would follow him for the remainder of his life.

“Surely the LORD was in this place and I did not know it!”, Jacob declares the next morning as he reflects on his dream. Surely this is something to which we can all relate, for we have all gone to places where it seemed that any sign or indication of God’s presence was wholly lacking. But we are reminded, as Jacob was, that there is no place beyond the reach of the Lord, no place that He cannot find. We, too, find Him at work in the most unlikely locations, locations that we ourselves would never have suspected He would go.

Even more so, Jacob concludes that the very spot upon which he had laid his head was the “Gate to Heaven” itself. “This is the House of God, this is the place where Heaven and earth meet”, he thought. Having at his disposal no other way of commemorating the spot, Jacob erected the stones which he had slept on and fashioned a marker with them. He named the place “Bethel”, the “House of God”, and this very spot would serve as a rallying point to which he would later return (Gen. 35).

What The Dream Means To Us

But what exactly is the significance of this enigmatic dream for us? God used it to reinforce to Jacob His covenant which He had made to Abraham, that is, that the land of Palestine would be an everlasting inheritance for the people of Israel. But does “Jacob’s Ladder” hold any meaning for the Gentile? Fortunately, this is one Old Testament incident which Jesus Himself interpreted. In John 1:45, the Apostle Philip ran to tell his friend Nathanael that he had found the promised Messiah. Nathanael was skeptical but agreed to come and meet Jesus. The first words that Jesus spoke to Nathanael were, “Behold an Israelite in whom is no guile!” There was deceit and trickery in the heart of Jacob, but not in Nathanael. Jesus concludes the conversation with a reference to Jacob’s dream when He announces to Nathanael:

“…Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” (John 1:51)

So, the Ladder that Jacob saw in his dream was not a place, but a Person. The Lord Jesus Christ is that Ladder which stretches from earth to Heaven, connecting man to God. Jesus is the Gateway to Heaven, and there is no other (John 14:6). The angels, the messengers of God, are seen both descending from Heaven and ascending from earth. They carry from God His blessings and provisions to those who love Him, and they come back to our Father bearing the prayers and requests of God’s children. Yet the Highway upon which they travel is none other than Jesus Christ. There is no other road which leads to God.

No one else is uniquely qualified to stand in the position which Jesus does. The Ladder reaches all the way down to earth, for He is all Man. And it rises all the way to Heaven, to the very throne of the Father, for He is all God. The Lord Jesus alone stands with one foot in Heaven and one foot on earth, bridging the gap between them. He is the Ladder by which God reaches down to man and man reaches up to God.

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published June 4, 2010]

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

Acting Like A True Believer

“And Esau went to Ishmael, and married, besides the wives that he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebaioth.” (Genesis 28:9)

After deceiving Isaac into passing his blessing of the first-born onto Jacob rather than Esau (Genesis 27), Rebekah learns that Esau intends to kill Jacob as soon as their father is dead (Verse 41). Under the pretense that Jacob must not marry from amongst the “daughters of Heth”, that is, the local peoples among whom the family is living, Rebekah plants the idea into her husband’s mind that Jacob must be sent away, back to her own people in Padan-Aram to find a suitable bride from among them.

A successful con artist will tell you that the most effective tool of their craft is to persuade others to do what you want them to do and make them think the idea to do so is their own. Rebekah does just that. Genesis 27:43 tells us that she intended Jacob to go to her hometown of Haran and stay with her brother Laban until Esau’s wrath subsides. Yet she makes no specific mention of this to Isaac, but merely laments their family’s prospects if their son is left to wed one of these Canaanite girls. Her cunning is demonstrated in this maneuver just as it was when she instructed Jacob to deceive his father; for Isaac gives heed to her distress and makes the “suggestion” that the young man ought to go to his Uncle Laban and find a bride from his household (Gen. 28:2).

May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. May He also give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your descendants with you, that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which God gave to Abraham.” (Genesis 28:3-4)

As if the magniloquent blessing bestowed upon Jacob back in Genesis 27:28-29 was not enough, Isaac again pours out upon his son beautiful words of adulation before his departure. Still humiliated and seething in quiet anger, Esau witnesses this conversation between his father and brother and carefully notes the instructions that Jacob is given.

Esau’s response is quite interesting, for he does what so many who have felt the sting of self-inflicted rejection have done before and since. He seeks to precisely emulate the behavior which seems to carry the promise of approval. If God shall require an offering, then Cain will bring one (Gen. 4:3), if God is pleased with sacrifice, then King Saul shall offer it (1 Sam. 15:15), and if God’s blessing shall rest upon the son who marries daughters from the lineage of Abraham, then Esau will do likewise. But the hearts of each of these men were far from the Lord! The carnal man has ever sought to secure the approval of God through careful attention to the deeds and acts which God has prescribed, all the while withholding the one thing which God cherishes above all else: a love for Him. They perform in a way that they believe will endear them to the Lord, but they inwardly despise all that God is.

Just as Cain and Saul, Esau’s “obedience” to the expectations of the Lord was perverse and deficient at that. Genesis 28:9 tells us that Esau married a descendant of Ishmael (Mahalath), but he had already married two Hittite women, much to the dismay of his parents (Gen. 26:34-35). What a tragic portrait of the worldly man who desperately seeks to fool God into applauding his piety, but in the end has only deluded himself. For Esau is like those who will not “divorce” their own commitments to the things of this world, nor sever their ties to the deeds of their own flesh; but rather they will merely attempt to add some sort of righteous observance atop their lifestyle of sinfulness. “I will go to Church”, they say, “But I will not cease to go to the bars and taverns.” “I will read the Bible, I will pray, I will be baptized”, they declare, “But I will not stop reading pornography, cursing, nor will I change the lifestyle to which I am accustomed.” Let me add these things to my daily practice, let me take on these new habits, but do not ask me to forsake any of the old.

It is the rankest of hypocrisy to suppose that sanctimonious behavior actually sanctifies. To presume that marching abreast of God’s people will indeed make someone one of God’s people is to deceive only one’s self. It was not the marrying into the Semitic line that gained the approval of God, it was the grace of God that gained Jacob His approval. Esau made the error that so many who know nothing about the things of God make: he believed that God looks upon the outward appearance, just as man does. He was fully willing to go through a particular ritual, to marry a new wife if that meant that he might gain God’s (and Isaac’s) blessing. But he was not willing to surrender himself to the Lord and accept His grace. He was willing to act like a true believer, so long as that did not mean that he must become a true believer.

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published May 26, 2010]

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

The Stolen Blessing

“But Isaac replied to Esau, “Behold, I have made him your master, and all his relatives I have given to him as servants; and with grain and new wine I have sustained him. Now as for you then, what can I do, my son?” (Genesis 27:37)

Last time, we spoke of Isaac’s commendable devotion to the Lord and his steadfast dedication to pursuing the things of God. It is good that we were shown such a wonderful picture of Isaac’s faithfulness in Genesis 26 because if we were left with only the account of the events of Genesis 27, we might have come to quite a different conclusion about his character. In fact, the whole sordid affair of the “stolen blessing” casts such a despicable shadow across this entire family that it gives us pause when we reflect upon the fact that they were the lineage through whom our Lord Jesus would ultimately arise. Yet we know that we serve a perfect God Who is in no way dependent upon “perfect” people, and thus we are reminded that even the Patriarchs of old were not without their faults.

“For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)

As we read through the details of this incident, the treachery and deception of Jacob’s ruse, carefully rehearsed to him by Rebekah, his mother, makes it readily apparent that neither the woman nor her son are blameless. Rebekah is guilty of conspiring to defraud Isaac, while Jacob perpetrates what is perhaps the world’s first case of “identity theft.” We know that they are in no way innocent. But Isaac and even Esau are no less blameworthy of wrong-doing in the eyes of God.  Let us consider the role of each player in this very sad and deplorable scene:

Isaac

As is so often the case, the head-of-the-household is where the occasion of familial folly can be traced. Isaac calls his favorite son (Gen. 25:28), Esau, to his side and tells him that he is old and will soon be dead; therefore, the time has come to pass on the mantle of blessing in order that Esau might assume the role of his father (Gen. 27:1-2). But why does he do so? Has the Lord appeared to him again as He did previously (Gen. 26:2, 26:24), instructing Isaac to do this? No. It seems that this notion has arisen solely from the heart and mind of Isaac. He tells Esau that he fears that the days of his life are at an end, but God has certainly not given him this idea. No less than 43 years will transpire before we read his “obituary” in Genesis 35:29!

Isaac reacts out of fear and panic that his time is short and that those things which must be done can wait no longer. So he decides that he shall take it upon himself to pass the blessing on to Esau at once. But we can be certain that Isaac was not ignorant of the oracle which the Lord had told Rebekah those many years before: that Jacob would be the blessed son (Gen. 25:23). How is it, then, that he should seek to circumvent the will of God in order to accomplish his own purposes?

“And prepare a savory dish for me such as I love, and bring it to me that I may eat, so that my soul may bless you before I die.” (Genesis 27:4)

Like so many parents throughout history, Isaac seems to have intertwined the value of Esau with Esau’s meeting his expectations. How many fathers have we known who withhold their love and approval save that their own sons fulfill the desires which they have for them? Genesis 25:28 tells us plainly that Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his son’s venison. As Esau had been willing to sacrifice the blessing of his father in order to satisfy his own fleshly appetites, so is Isaac willing to “sell” the birthright to the son which will satisfy his. What a picture of two men being led about by their own appetites, preferring to serve the god of their own bellies (Phil. 3:19), if but for a season, rather than remaining mindful of the things of the Living God.

“Then Isaac trembled violently, and said, “Who was he then that hunted game and brought it to me, so that I ate of all of it before you came, and blessed him? Yes, and he shall be blessed.” (Genesis 27:33)

Isaac’s response when he realizes that he has been duped is very interesting. He does not become angry. He does not recant the blessing which was extracted from him under false pretenses. He trembles. Is this not the response of any of us when we are reminded that we are powerless to override the plans of God? So often we know the will and desire of God, yet we try to supersede it with our own. And when the sovereignty of the Lord of Heaven moves upon our own lives in those instances, trumping our actions with His own, we, too, are left with no response but fear and trembling. Ashamed that we have even tried to superimpose our own will over that of our precious Lord’s, we are left with no viable recourse but to throw ourselves on His mercy and accept the course of action that He has set in motion.

Rebekah

If we could have asked Rebekah the day that this happened, she very likely would have told us that she had really done nothing wrong. After all, she had already been told that God had chosen Jacob to receive Isaac’s blessing, what was the harm in making sure that this happened? As she overheard Isaac and Esau discussing the giving of the blessing to occur after Esau returned from his hunt (Gen. 27:5), Rebekah must have surely been gripped with desperation. She must have felt compelled to do something to prevent this from happening. But what to do? There is an age-old philosophical question that asks: “Is an evil deed truly evil if the end result is good?” Or, “Does the end justify the means?” In the eyes of God, we know the answer to this question. We are never justified in resorting to trickery, deception, lies, or any other sinful behavior in order to bring about any perceived “greater good.” We serve an all-powerful God in Whose hands all things are upheld. We must trust that He will bring about all things according to His will.

Rebekah had heard the Word of God which clearly told her that Jacob would be the son of blessing, not Esau. It was not up to her to ensure that this would happen; God would cause it to come to pass. Yet how often do we do likewise? We have the promises in God’s Word to us (the Bible) and we still resort to all sorts of measures that conflict with His holiness in order to ensure our own “success.” We must trust in the One Who has made the promises to bring them to pass. Any suggestion as to what would have happened that day had Rebekah not intervened would be pure speculation. I do know one thing, though: the blessing most definitely would not have been passed on to Esau.

Jacob

Like his mother, Jacob’s greatest fault is believing that he is personally responsible for making sure that God’s will is carried out in his life, regardless of the method. We already saw Jacob behave less than honorably when he took advantage of Esau’s low regard for the blessing back in Genesis 25:27-34. So, really, his despicable actions here do not come as any surprise. But there can be little doubt that he has definitely taken things quite a bit further by moving from extortion to out-and-out deception. He lies repeatedly to his father with a coolness that leaves little doubt that he was one with much practice in lying and manipulating others. Two aspects of this make things particularly heinous: that he is deceiving his own father, and that he is doing so in the name of God.

“Isaac said to his son, “How is it that you have it so quickly, my son?” And he said, “Because the Lord your God caused it to happen to me.” (Genesis 27:20)

Few things are more distressing than when a person attempts to validate their own misdeeds by applying the endorsement of God to them. They equate the success of their own endeavors, no matter how deplorable, with the approval of the Lord. Or else they seek to elevate their own wicked agenda to a level of unwarranted respectability by fabricating the confirmation of Heaven behind it. “God has told me to do this”, or “The Lord wants me to do that”, they will claim. They do things in the name of God which God has nothing to do with. Perhaps Jacob really believed that the blessing of God was with him during this tragic event, but we can be certain that this was no plan of His. How the will of God comes to pass is every bit as important as whether or not it comes to pass at all.

Esau

“For you know that even afterwards, when [Esau] desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.” (Hebrews 12:17)

Esau blames Jacob for stealing his birthright (Gen. 27:36), though he had willfully given it to him for the price of a bowl of soup. That thing which had previously been of absolutely no value whatsoever to Esau now was something he was exceedingly bitter and angry over. Why the change of mind? Sadly, it is not that Esau now has a higher regard for the things of God; he has not acquired a higher level of spirituality. But he is now standing face-to-face with the consequences of his decisions, and that is what disturbs him. Many people, when faced with the consequences of their sinful behavior, will cry out in despair, but it is not because they have suddenly realized that they have offended the holiness of God. It is for no other reason than they sincerely desire that the results of their bad decisions be abated. Esau has no more interest in serving in the priestly role of the family than he did before, but he is interested in the “grain and the new wine.” Oh, to enjoy the blessings of God without having to yield one’s will to Him! To eat the delicious red stew and receive the blessings of Heaven! To sing with the drunkards on Saturday night and with the church choir on Sunday morning! This is what Esau is so bitter about.

Conclusion

Finally, it must be noted that, although each of the four members of this family were selfishly going about to pursue their own desires, the will of God is not frustrated. Though they were all in error, though they all were guilty of trying to do things their own way rather than God’s, the end result was exactly what God said it would be. This was not how God planned for it to come about, but His purposes were realized, nonetheless. Rebekah would never again see Jacob after she sent him away (Gen. 27:43), Esau would end up living away from his homeland in the land of Edom (Gen. 32:3), and, ironically, Jacob, who had just received such a magnificent blessing from Isaac, being the heir to all of Isaac’s wealth, would flee from his home and the wrath of Esau with no more than the clothes on his back and the staff in his hand! What a price they paid for their sins. We do well to be certain that we do things the way that God would have us do them.

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published May 20, 2010]

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

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