In a lot of movies, as the climax approaches, the audience feels this sense of stress and suspense as they wonder how the main protagonists will ever accomplish their goal. How will they escape the bad guy or mend the relationship or win the competition? It seems impossible for just a few minutes, but in the end, everything works out almost flawlessly. Wow, you think. They did it.
Wouldn’t it be nice if life worked like that? It doesn’t. And half the time it’s our own fault, like it was the fault of our own protagonists in this chapter of the Bible. The siblings are about to go head to head again, but this time it’s the parents who instigate the battle round. Rebekah’s been waiting for a long time for her favorite son Jacob to get what’s due him – the upper hand, just like God told her in Genesis 25. When she hears her husband Isaac making plans to give Jacob’s brother Esau the birthright blessing, which is a huge advantage, she springs into action. Esau has left to hunt some game so that he can make his dad some food for the official blessing ceremony. While he’s gone, Rebekah convinces Jacob to trick his dad into giving the blessing to him by impersonating his brother Esau. Thankfully (?), Isaac is blind, so it’s possible to pull this off.
After donning animal skins and Esau’s clothes in order to confuse his father’s senses, Jacob enters. Even though there’s a few close calls (verses 22-24), Jacob manages to convince his father that he is Esau. Isaac blesses Jacob, promising him riches and power over nations. Jacob makes off with his blessing just as Esau reenters. Jacob – 2, Esau – 0.
Esau and Isaac soon realize what’s happened and make quite a fuss – Esau throwing a tantrum and his father trying desperately to console him. Ultimately, however, Esau can only receive the lesser blessing: no riches for him, only a life of servitude to his brother. Someday, however, he will be free. This silver lining is not enough for Esau, and he promises to kill his brother once his father dies. Charming. Rebekah is obviously not having that, so she has her husband send Jacob away under the pretense of finding a wife. At least he has the blessing. Victory?
The Treasures Within:
I Believe In God…But Also In Me
This story puzzled me at first. They way these people were acting didn’t seem logical. The information that God gave Rebekah in Genesis 25, that the younger twin would rule over the older (Genesis 25:23), couldn’t have been a secret. Rebekah must have told her husband. The boys must have known as well, else why would they have clashed the way they did at the end of Genesis 25? Everyone knew!
Given this knowledge, it sort of makes sense that Isaac would try to furtively give the blessing to his favorite son. Yet why would he try to go against God? And if Isaac and Esau were so sure of their success, why did they collectively lose their minds once Jacob tricked them? Why not just declare a do-over or something? Then there’s Rebekah and Isaac. If they knew that God had declared that Jacob would be more powerful, why bend over backwards to deceive and trick people to make sure Jacob got the blessing? Didn’t Jacob already get his blessing – from God?
None of this makes sense. These people seem a little bit insane – but the problem isn’t their brains, it’s their faith. All of them believe in God – but only a little bit. Isaac and Esau believed God’s prophecy about Jacob ruling Esau – they believed it so much that they freaked out when Jacob ended up with the favorable blessing. But they also believed in themselves – they believed that their palsy, clumsy efforts, if successful, would have been enough to get around God’s very own word. Similarly, Jacob and Rebekah believed what God had said about the twins – they believed it so much that they were sure that the blessing was supposed to go to Jacob, to lock in God’s plans. But they also believed in themselves. They believed that the only way for God’s promise to be fulfilled was if they stepped in with some good old-fashioned trickery and deception.
Do you see how insane this is? God is strong, but not strong enough to get past me. God means what He says, but sometimes He needs a little help in order for His dreams to be realized. This is not faith. These sentences do not apply to the one true God. They’re better suited for one of those misbehaving, inattentive, vacillating gods of the Greeks and Romans. Our God, the One who created the heavens and the Earth, cannot be outsmarted. And He doesn’t need our help. Yet how many of us are still trying to work around Him?
How many of us know that God asked one thing of us in His word, but assume we can bend the rules a little bit in order to get we want? And how many of us believe that God really does love us and really will work everything out for our good, but decide to use our own slightly questionable methods in order to secure the future we assume He desires for us? How many of us are trying to trick God, placate Him, ignore Him, or play games with Him? How many of us live our lives as if God were some kind of whimsical force, to be bent to our own will? All of what this family attempted in order to gain something ended up causing a great loss in the end. How many of us are heading towards the same fate? How many of us are willing to rework our perspectives?
God’s Message To Us:
“I have never lied”. When God commands something of us, promises something to us, or declares something to us, He is speaking the purest, most correct, most trustworthy Truth that will ever be spoken. It’s not like when your boyfriend promises you something or when your parent asks you to do something or when you set your New Year’s Resolutions. God isn’t vague. He doesn’t vacillate and He certainly doesn’t change. We can all probably agree that these are facts, but the hard part is trusting even when it seems like God is about to break His promise to us. Still, He doesn’t lie. He will always do exactly what He says! If we accept it, this truth will be like a safe foundation, a comforting support that will hold us up and fill us with strength even in the most uncertain of times.
What do you think? What did you find interesting about how Jacob and Rebekah and Isaac and Esau chose to act in this chapter? What do you think God wanted you to learn from this chapter?