Text Size: Zoom In

How we Read the Story

DSCF1145In considering the idea of bargaining with God, we referred to a moment in Jacob’s life that can be read either as a condition of negotiation, or as a vow of faith. (Gen 28:20-22) Jacob was either at a point of grateful resolve where he was saying, in response to the vision (Gen 28:10-17),  “If (since) God is going to do all of this for me then certainly I too will worship the God of my fathers.” Or, even though in awe (Gen 28:18-19), he was taking a more tentative, “wait and see” approach. Down through the years, readers of Scripture have tended to take one or the other of these two  different approaches.

As we have seen, something similar can be done with Rebecca’s motives when she and Jacob took things into their own hands to impersonate Esau and deceive Isaac into unintentionally blessing Jacob (Gen 27:1-29) in order to fulfill God’s earlier prediction (Gen 25:21-23). Rebecca and Jacob are either acting in shrewd faith, or they are taking matters into their own hands with motives of self-reliance and actions of deceit that reflect the flesh rather than the spirit.

It is for this reason that some of us have commented, God only knows the heart of these people.

If Jacob was at a point of worshipful resolve (Gen 28:20-22), it would have been an appropriate response to the God who was revealing himself to him. If he was expressing a more tentative approach, then what we see is that, over time, God graciously showed Jacob how faithful he was being to his own word.

So then are there no other issues than to say that “God only knows” what is in his heart and ours?

Seems to me that one problem with trying to give people like Isaac, Rebecca, or Jacob, the benefit of the doubt is what the Bible reveals about human nature.  If we are inclined to defend the heart of Jacob and his descendants (Israel), we might miss the point of what finally happens when Jesus shows up in a merciful search and rescue for those who are lost.

From the beginning, the God of the Bible is doing more than looking for good people to honor. He is patiently working with people like us to bring us to the place of seeing that, even though he reserves the right to accept or reject the challenge of our tentative terms of relationship, he’s leading us to something better.  Ultimately he wants us to see that the real bargains of life are not those that we offer God, but those that he offers us when (because of all that he has already revealed to us about his heart and ours) he says, “Come to me— all you who are burdened and broken— and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28)


Vote on whether you think this post is something you'll be thinking about:
Vote This Post DownVote This Post Up (+19 rating, 19 votes)
Loading ... Loading ...
27 Comments »

27 Responses to “How we Read the Story”

  1. BruceC says:

    Mart,

    You said “Ultimately he wants us to see that the real bargains of life are not those that we offer God, but those that he offers us when (because of all that he has already revealed to us about his heart and ours) he says, “Come to me— all you who are burdened and broken— and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28)”

    This reminded me of years ago when I was a member of our unions “bargaining unit” for the Sheriff’s Dept. We were allowed to bargain with the county for a labor contract because we were recognized and had “standing” with the state. This gave us a legal right to bargain.
    With God we have no legal right to bargain. All humanity stands as sinners before a holy and righteous God. We are in no position to bargain. Any thought of such if purely fantasy on our part.
    The Word says that Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. And that no one can come to the Father but by Him. To me that sounds like an offer. A final offer. It’s an “either or” type of thing. But in a way you could say that it is a bargain; using another definition of the word. It costs us nothing and has been paid for by the blood of Christ. It is freely given to all who will believe and accept it.
    So it truly becomes the most blessed and the greatest “bargain”.

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  2. SFDBWV says:

    In reading the new topic Mart has offered, I find that in truth I have already answered these questions from my perspective in my comments in the last topic. I am not sure if I can say anymore relevant to the subject than I already have.

    Yet as to using people like Jacob, Rebecca or any of the *characters* found in Scripture in a thread to the people *Israel*; I have to say simply that this was God’s design in its concept and fruition.

    What or who can keep God from achieving His desires and goals?

    What are we to learn from the fact that God used seeming dishonest or unseemly people to achieve His purpose?

    I came across a marvelous quote yesterday I want to share with you all today from Jean Racine it goes as follows; “A noble heart cannot suspect in others the pettiness and malice that it has never felt.”

    Is it that Jacob, Rebecca or others are lesser people than we would expect God to use or is it that they are just people? People like you and I that have not had the embarrassment of having our lives shown from birth to death and studied by millions to be scrutinized, analyzed and discussed?

    I don’t see God as a product of Persian imagination; a genie in a bottle or magician who conjures up supernatural entities to make things happen as He *wishes*.

    No I see God who created all people even those who would re-invent Him to fit their limited understanding as interacting and existing amongst His creation using His created being to achieve His desires and goals. We can feel very honored when He chooses us to be any part of that process, and I am pretty sure none of us have gained a status by our actions or attitude to be worthy of such an honor it is simply that God decides, not us.

    Who among us has not been any different than Jacob or Rebecca, we would like to think so, but have we?

    Steve

  3. plumbape says:

    yes Bruce it goes on to say in Matt: 29 “take my yoke upon you and “learn” from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls”. So trying or not to bargain He will take an interest more in those who seek Him out, I think, than those that just say I believe but go through life never really enjoying the Love that only can come from God. I’m loving it every day and I talk to the living Lord as if he is in the room or where ever I am. He shows me more and more as I can understand I guess. IMHO Michael

  4. swwagner says:

    This has been a very humbling discussion. I see myself in Rebecca and Jacob’s deception and can identify with some of the desperate motives that seem to be at the root of their actions. Thankfully, I also know the forgiveness and love that only God can give…even though He knows all the ugly truths about me.

    A few thoughts:

    If Isaac had given Esau the birthright blessing…would it have mattered? Since Jacob had already been chosen by God wouldn’t He have intervened in His own time and made Jacob the leader without the deception of Rebecca and Jacob?

    When the emergency is “right now”, you make a leap of faith and make decisions to do something based on common sense and the knowledge that you have…because to do nothing seems just as wrong. God in His mercy does “make all things work toward good”.

    I covet your prayers today as my heart is heavy with the looming decisions of health, financial and family matters. Praise God in all things!

    Cool and cloudy here today…maybe some rain???

    Sheryl

  5. refump says:

    Sheryl , I have said a prayer for you as I too know the heaviness of heart over financial, health & family matters especially in past few months. It has been a time of revelation to me how weak my faith in God really is. Very humbling.

  6. poohpity says:

    Those who say God knows our heart should really find that a bit scary without Christ. Yes God does know our heart and has said that every inclination of it is towards evil since birth. (Gen 6:5 NIV; Gen 8:21 NIV) To make excuses for the deception of Rebekah and Jacob and not call it what it is would be similar to the thoughts of the world around us and in our everyday life to not call something that is wrong, wrong or by making excuses or blaming or even going as far to say if I do wrong God will turn it around. Turning things around for good are for those who love the Lord and if we say we love the Lord then we will admit wrongs.

    Making excuses in my life has prevented me from asking God for forgiveness (I John 1:9 NIV). It is only with a contrite spirit can we really please the Lord. (Psalm 51:17 NIV; Isaiah 57:15 NIV; Isaiah 66:2 NIV) If we make excuses and try to justify wrong behavior then it mounts up in our lives and we fail to see just how amazing God’s grace really is and that is the best bargain we will ever have. The bargain where Christ gives us right standing with God by trading His sinless life for my sinful one. 1 John 1:10-2:2 NIV

  7. poohpity says:

    I am also going through similar things like Bruce, Sheryl and refump. Know even if I may not say that I am praying I am with all earnestness for all the struggles that everyone is facing. Praise God that He is so much bigger than anything we are going through and is carrying our burdens with us as we trust in Him for the answers. Praise the Lord!! He is able to do far more than we have even hoped for when we give our cares over to Him. He is all I have.

  8. BruceC says:

    There are many times in our lives poohpity that when looking down all we see are His footprints in the sand.
    Will be praying with and all others here.
    His Name be praised!

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  9. oneg2dblu says:

    Praise God that He grants us a prayer life, gives us his ear, and knows our hearts, and even our words are known to Him before we utter them.
    Today I was asked to pray for my friends cat with health problems, saying that it may a silly prayer, but I said no prayer is silly to me.
    I have prayed for some very unusual circumstances things that others may deem as silly, petty, or non-consequential when looking at the big picture, but God is still God even in the small things, and He cares for the sparrow, so praying for a cat’s recovery to health is not so silly after all.
    I do admit my prayer is for that animal and the owner of that animal to find a place of peace and resolve in the midst of this current trouble.
    How quickly life can take us from the mountain top to the valley.
    But, if we look up as well, we see that greater place.
    Gary

  10. bubbles says:

    Gary,yes. God made the animals, and we knows He knows when a sparrow falls. He knows we care for these animals.

    When my students requested prayer for their pets, we took it seriously and prayed for them. Every day.
    We prayed for horses, turtles, fish, birds, cats, dogs, and even an Texas Longhorn bull to be better behaved. I think God wants us to want Him to be in every part of our lives.

  11. foreverblessed says:

    Well, it is hard to say this, because even many christians frown when I tell them, I have prayed for our fruit tree. It was badly ill, and should be taken out. But when I stood next to the tree, suddenly a verse out of the bible came up, where God told the Israelites He would send away the locusts and other insects that eat our food, when they would obey Him. And so I started praying about it, I said God, I obey You, will you heal this tree. (I sounds like bargaining to me now, while we are in this topic). It was in springtime, and lo an behold, the disease was gone! For the first time in years! No orange spots appeared! The answering of that prayer was so encouraging to my faith in God!
    Now this year I found this book on the God calling home page: The miracle and power of blessing, by M. Enquist.
    THere an older lady says she gets her plants from a christian man, who sings christian songs in his green house, She says, the plants are just better and stronger. So this year I started to bless my garden too, the whole garden, talking out loud. And lo and behold, the garden is thriving. I am absolutely amazed!
    Even two pair of birds came in and made their nests! I see that as a sign from God that it is because of the blessing. And I praise and thank Him.
    These little birds looked out of their nest looked at me, funny little faces, with what looks like hair, standing straight up on their little heads. That must be feathers still sticking together.

    Is this not getting a bit out of topic? God blessed Jacob when he had just taken matters in his own hands, when he fled for Esau. God was busy blessing, and not correcting Jacob, (not yet).
    Refump, good to hear from you, didn’t we pray for a very ill man, a few years ago? How is he doing now?

  12. BruceC says:

    There are no silly prayers. We are opening our heart to our Lord and speaking with Him directly. He loves to talk with us and hear our concerns. He is not just the Lord of the “big” things; but also of all the tiny details.

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  13. foreverblessed says:

    Yes God of tiny details! Are you still up Bruce? Here it is in the morning.

    Since the topic is still on Jacob, I would like to share this (it turn out to be a bit long):

    The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
    Why does God call Himself like that:
    He calls Himself by the new name of Abraham, not the old one Abram, but He does not choose the new name for Jacob, Israel? And that choice is essential.
    The God of Abraham, it is God who Calls,
    The God of Isaac, it is God who provides- the Son given
    The God of Jacob, it is God who transforms despite the self will of man.

    With the first two, you could say, everything is settled, God calls and He provides, everything is taken care of, end of story.
    But then there is the next significant fact: the self will of man, man doing things in his own power and strength.
    The God of Jacob:
    “The lessons taught to us from the life of Jacob concern the Holy Spirit’s discipline of the Christian. It is this that makes room in our lives for Christ to reveal Himself. This discipline is concerned not with our old man and his sinfulness but with our natural strength, the strength of self. Before we are saved they are as one, and we cannot distinguish between them; but in the Christian they are clearly distinguished in Scripture.”

    It is this natural strenght and self will that Jacob used in the first part of his life. He even started with it, when he was born, getting hold of his brothers heel Gen 25:26.
    The things Jacob fought for, where the same things as what God had intended him to have: the blessing.
    This could be said of many of us christians, well since God calls Himself by that name Jacob, I believe it is a matter of us all. I know it is for me: I do the things God want, but I do it on my own time and in my own strenght, but they are still good things, christians undertakings, nothing wrong you would say.
    Jacob did not wait for God to work it out, he did it his own way.

    When he fled for Esau, God blessed Jacob, He would not tell him what he had done wrong, God was positive that Jacob would be changed because of the work of God with him, God knew Jacob would meet his match in Laban.
    Laban cheating him with the daughter he was not in love with, Laban not letting him go.
    Even when he was blessed while working with Laban Gen 30:37, he would add a little more: instead of waiting for God to bless him with the sheep, spotted streaked or speckled, he would work it out himself: Gen 30:37. maybe this was not that bad, but the next move was a bit beyond the way of who Jesus is like: the stronger females he would use for himself, and the weaker were for Laban. Gen 30:41-42.
    Anyway, this self willed man, the man who would do things in his own strength, came to his end when he faced Esau. Gen 32:3, 6-7. Jacob was in great fear and distress!
    This meeting with Esau was a great ordeal to Jacob. Gen 32 describes all the things Jacob did, he was stressed to bits. And he came to the end of what he could do himself, there was nothing left, just the fear. Gen 32:22-23,24-25
    And there he was in the night and wrestled with God, what a great night that was:
    This was the end of the self will, the natural strength of Jacob. He now was bowing his head, and totally handed over his will to God, here he was where God wanted him, and not only him, but Jacob stand for all the people that would be devoted to God: the conquering of human nature and self will.
    This is such an encouraging story, for all who struggle, who do the same failures over and over again, who get defeated at their lack of overcoming:
    We serve the God of Jacob, God calls Himself by that name, the old name of the man who would struggle all his life, till he met God at Peniel Gen 32:30-31 He was over his fears, Jacob had met God and lived! What else ot fear for, not for Esau, it was all over, the struggle was gone.
    I pray that we all come to this place, and God is all sure as long as we are devoted to Him that He will come to this place with us:
    o bargaining anymore, no struggling, just real trust, faith, oneness with God through Jesus, the Son given for us. Everything we need is in Him.
    (Out of the study of Watchman Nee, changed into His likeness, te be read on the twolisteners site.)

  14. SFDBWV says:

    I have always read of the fame of an Arab trader as well as the shrewd ability of the Jewish merchant; small wonder as both of these peoples came from twin brothers who both apparently possessed the desire to *bargain*.

    Which of the two were better at bargaining? Hebrews 12:16 gives us an insight not found in Genesis.

    Jacob bargained with cunning while Esau from an empty stomach and cavalier attitude.

    In truth Esau gave his birthright away for a meal, so Jacob stole nothing from him.

    As to this all important blessing from Isaac. I have never found a Scriptural basis for any reason, authority, or power given in such an action.

    If Isaac were giving away an inheritance such as property one might see it going to the older or first born son. But this isn’t what the *blessing* was all about. The blessing was some sort of empowered prophetic pronouncement of the future of the recipient.

    If this is the case then God spoke through Isaac in the form of this *blessing* as only God can both bless, see and produce the future; not Isaac.

    The details of the stumbling of Jacob and Rebecca in order to make certain that Jacob received the better blessing than his immoral and profane brother Esau were an exercise in futility, as if they had simply trusted the matter to God and if Isaac were to speak for God and not Isaac then the blessings would have came out the same any way. Just as they did in the story of Balaam and his hired attempts to curse the nation of Israel.

    Even the unwilling, unknowing tongue will obey the will of God, when He uses it to prophesy.

    Steve

  15. Artle says:

    I have thought similar, that the blessings given in the OT were more significant and had impact on the lives of the blessed. It makes sense that the blessing comes from God and not just the thoughts of the one offering the blessing.

    Though I know the characters in the story as well as us today have the free will to do as the heart wanders, I have to believe the will of God is always a guiding force. If the first thought of our heart is “God’s will be done”, then we have a better chance of stumbling in the right direction.

    My thoughts and prayers with everyone.

  16. poohpity says:

    Mart, how we read the story says a lot about us. I could read the story and think how cunning, shrewd and deceptive Jacob was in his own strength using his own way of doing things compared to trusting and depending on God. Do I see that in my life do I think I can make things go the way I want without realizing what the point of the whole story is? I could come away with how I rationalize my own behavior or admit my heart still has not changed very much if I am still relying on my humanity to change life as I see it and not from how the great “I am” changes everything.

    The great difference in Jacob after He wrestled the Lord to finally release humanity (his way) and turn it over to the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscience God who knows what is best when I come to the end of myself and the way I have chosen to always do things, the difference in night and day. The difference in tearing apart relationships to mending them. Taking the high road, less traveled or the one that so many people make a choice to follow even after they say they know the Lord? If there is no change what does that say about how close to the Lord I really am and if I really do not even see the true condition of my heart because I blame and make excuses. I can look like Luke 18:11-12 NIV who is still so linked to himself and his pride or Luke 18:13 NIV but the Lord so graciously shows us which one truly shows us who we are before a Holy God. Luke 18:14 NIV

    Some Christians say I was raised in a Christian home so there has always been Christ so there is not much change but does that really signify a heart that recognizes the need of a Savior? Jacob was from a line of the faithful yet it had to become personal for him. He had to have his own encounter which made God real to him. He could not have an Abram to Abraham or Isaac experience, he had to have a Jacob to Israel experience. We have to have a before to after experience as well but do most still look like the before rather than the after still making excuses for our wrong behavior rather than admitting it and asking to be forgiven and changed? “I Am” changes everything or has it?

  17. oneg2dblu says:

    It seems to me that after our own personal encounter, or wrestling match with God, we had not prior been able to embrace the reality that this relationship can really exist, and after it does, we can not deny it and the whole story is read differently because God comes in and changes us, first from the inside, then from the outside.
    That has been my experience. I can never forget my first days of daily reading Our Daily Bread seeing God’s words come to life as never before, igniting in me a desire I had never known and finding a relationship awaiting me there in them.
    He alone changes us and we can not deny it! Gary

  18. oneg2dblu says:

    Did I first encounter Jesus by being raised in a Christian home? Maybe.
    Or going to church every Sunday, or in my childhood Sunday school classes? Maybe.
    Or, was I just hearing some endearing and likable childrens stories about biblical characters by my teachers who were placing those cut out characters and stuck them to black felt backgrounds?
    Do they still have those things?
    Did I meet Christ through watching Billy Graham crusades on that old black and white tv?
    Perhaps…
    But to me until I reached the end of my own strength finding my yoke overbearing, and then calling upon Him did I find that His yoke was light and trusting in it was my only rest.
    That’s when I found Jesus to be real, and that I would never be alone again. Gary

  19. swwagner says:

    The story of Jacob is so rich in forgiveness and compassion. I am so glad that the Bible includes the restoration of Jacob and Esau’s relationship. I am so glad to know that after all the years of struggling and wrestling and bargaining, Jacob wasn’t abandoned by God. Jacob ended up with a limp to remind him of his face to face meeting with God. A limp that reminded him to forever depend on God for all things.

    How wonderful for us to throw ourselves on the mercy of God and stand on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ our personal Savior. He is our all in all. The unknown is safely in His hands. He walks with us in the sunshine and in the shadows…what more can we want or need?

    Just to know that our sins are covered and we can talk to the Creator of all things, is more than wonderful…more than words can say. I am so happy that the “groaning” of the Holy Spirit takes over to translate the prayers of our wounded hearts into praise and worship for the Friend of Sinners.

    In spite of ourselves, God meets with and restores us to Himself and then uses us to bless others. My heart is overflowing. Thank you all for your encouragement and prayer in my behalf.

    Joyfully,

    Sheryl

  20. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends –

    Been camping on the beaches of S. Oregon and N. California the past while – no computer, no email, no Facebook! Let me ask your prayers for the firefighters in that area. Inland, the river valleys of the area are filled with forest fire smoke. Please lift up those working to save lives and property at their own risk. Our firefighters are toiling in many places in the country.

    These past two posts, Mart, it seems to me are about “How then shall we live?” Biggest question of life perhaps. It seems to me that in vv 10-17 of Genesis 28 Jacob stands (bows) at the gate of heaven and experiences the primary awe (fear) of God’s presence: “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” (Gen 28:13-15)

    Can it be that by verse 20 Jacob has reasoned that God is making a proposition? Is God really offering a deal in exchange for his loyalty and worship? The man perceives an “if this; then that” relationship with God. Later, God will clarify the kind of relationship God seeks with God’s people – the First, Second and Third Commandments (Exodus 20:3, 4, 5, 6)

    God’s terms are “Because I AM who I AM; you therefore live in My Presence.” In Jesus we see the pivot of history fully:

    “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.” (Colossians 1:19, 20)

    We have the freedom to read the story as a treasure-hunt. We also have the freedom to enter the story and surrender to abundant Life. In Christ, we step through the purifying ring of fire into the very fellowship of the God of Creation, Redemption and Comfort. We die to the business model of life and we are born to the New Life of resurrected flesh.

    Yours,
    Maru

  21. poohpity says:

    When we go through pastors and reading different author’s who tell us of their experience of God and reading His Word aren’t we essentially still having a go between? God seems to want us to go one on one to Him and His Word. A baby still needs to be feed by another but when one reaches maturity they search and seek on own their own. Jacob after 20 years finally made walking and talking with the Lord his very own receiving directly from the hand of the Master. That pivotal point of having that need that only a living God can satisfy. Isaiah 58:9-14 NIV

  22. oneg2dblu says:

    I think God can use any go-between He wants to bring us to Him. He can use any translation, any person, even all of nature to speak to us in ways beyond our knowing.
    His ways are so beyond ours that all we can do is receive by faith that He is behind all our understanding.
    Today my friend Laraine said her cat is now doing fine and the threatening condition has lifted. I claim it as answered prayer and God uses that as a way to further stregthen my faith.
    He always answers prayer, Yes, No, or wait. This time we had to wait through the night before would could claim His
    Yes!
    Was there a witness there? Did God use this situation to show my friend His ear is always available? I believe so.
    Praise God! Gary

  23. poohpity says:

    That seems true Gary God can use anything to bring us to Him. I was talking about after that initial meeting like Jacob’s first meeting was the stairway to heaven Genesis 28:12-15 NIV then it came to the pivotal point in Genesis 35:1-7 NIV. There was about 20 years difference and a time to grow up and let go, let God! Going from the faith of his dad to develop that one on one with God through a growing faith that needed to bring him/Jacob to his knees, broken spirit and contrition of heart, a humbling to a dependence on God, not himself. God seemed to have to bring him through the desert first until he could experience the joy/oasis of trust.

  24. royalpalm says:

    Hello, Mart and BTA friends,
    “The word of God is living and powerful… it is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Heb. 4:12,13. This is what the story of Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, and Esau does – it enables us to see ourselves in their lives. Although we are aware of God’s glorious promises we often fail when our faith is tested . Even our best intentions and actions are tainted by our sinful inclination.

    The stories in the Bible are not about man but about God and His sovereign activity. He controls the events and chooses whom He wills to fulfill His purpose. He has made a covenant with Abraham which culminated in the coming of His Son. Everyone chosen had their roles assigned and directed by God. In this portion of the Scriptures Isaac tried to subvert God’s plans, yet, like others before and after him, God’s plans prevail. And as Nebuchadnezzar discovered and declared,

    “and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, “What have You done?” Daniel 4:34, 35, 37

    God planned to send His Son to save us and make us part of His kingdom and He did. We are commanded to tell others the good news while we wait for our coming King. May our hearts be filled with praise and thanksgiving every moment as we worship Him.

    “ In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.” Matt. 6:9,10.

  25. royalpalm says:

    Further to my previous post in Bargaining with God, as you said Mart, only God knows their hearts. I do not condone, approve or promote deception and both Rebecca and Jacob were aware of the terrible consequence of this sin. Gen. 27:12, 13.

    Nevertheless I like to look at facts and try to understand the hearts and motivations of people – because this is how God deals with us. “… For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (I Sam. 16:7)

    Abraham lived for 175 years (Gen. 25:7). He was 100 when Isaac was born. Isaac married at 40 and had Esau and Jacob when he was 60 yrs old (Gen. 25:26) – Abraham was able to see his grandchildren for 15 years and no doubt would have told them of God’s promises and covenant with him and his descendants.

    It was Esau’s birthright as the firstborn to assume leadership of the family along with responsibility for its possession and wealth. The covenant with God was an important heritage for the family. Yet Esau showed to be more interested in his personal pursuits of hunting rather than assuming the responsibility of his position. It seemed that his birthright was a hindrance to his lifestyle so he sold it. Gen. 25:34 stated that he despised it.

    Isaac being blind (Gen. 27:1) and Esau out hunting most of the time, responsibility of taking care of the tribal family would have fallen on Rebecca and Jacob. Nevertheless, sensing death (Gen. 27:2, 7) Isaac called only Esau to impart his blessing. Perhaps he knew that Esau already sold his birthright and wanted to reverse the process through his blessing. This would explain part of Rebecca’s motivation.

    When Jacob left, almost all of the responsibility must have fallen on Rebecca for Esau moved on to Edom/Mt Seir where he became a powerful leader with his company of men. Gen. 32:3,6 Twenty years would seem like a lot of years of separation for Rebecca and Jacob but perhaps these are the number of years needed for Esau to prosper so he would not resent his brother’s actions.

    As mentioned only God knows the hearts of people. Truly, God’s ways and thoughts are not like our own. We can take comfort in the truth that He is holy, just, loving, gracious, merciful and righteous and He does not deal with us as we deserve. Psalm 103:8, 9,10, 11, 12, 13, 14.

    Thanks for all your posts. Today it is cool in our corner of the Canadian prairie. The flowers are blooming and the fields around us are like oceans of blue and green with islands of yellow in the distance…May the Lord bless you each day.

  26. foreverblessed says:

    Thank you Royalpalm for your encouragement, and thank you for the blessing. Thank God He is so mercidul, thank you for bringing up Psalm 103, God loves us dearly, even if we are not totally trusting God yet, God is with us, the Holy Spirit is doing His work, it is all God’s work in us, despite our own shortcomings.
    Like the shortcomings of Jacob, God knew all about them, but God also knew that these things would be resolved.
    Take Genesis 28, God was blessing Jacob, while he just had acted treacherously. God just blessed him, no mention of his shortcomings. God knows the heart, He sees us and smiles at us, even if many thing are not so very holy yet. He smiles because He knows the Holy Spirit will do His work in us.
    Further more, Mary mentioned all the blessings God gave Jacob,July 30, 9.22 am.
    Isn’t it terrific what God promised Jacob? His descendents would be numerous, posses the land, through them all the families of the earth will be blessed! What a great promise, then God goes on the say: I am with you wherever you go.
    But now look at Jacob’s reaction: he doesn’t mention any of these things, it appears to me that Jacob just doesn’t get it. It is too high for him. God knows his heart, probably Jacob was full of fear still, having fled, and having nothing, and alone. Jacob, a man who loved to stay at home. Jacob asks more specific, if (or since) God will give me food, and clothes to wear, and be with me on this journey so that I may return to my father’s house- (all things of the now he was in) then God will be my God.
    Most of the work of the Holy Spirit had yet to be done in Jacob, it would be more then 20 years, before he came to Peniel.
    (Jacob must have been 90 at that time in Peniel)

    What I was thinking is that God who shows Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is the same now and forever:
    Abraham, God who is the Father, who calls and draws men to Himself.
    Isaac, God the Son, God provides, the mercy and the gift of righteousness Rom 5:17
    Jacob, God the Holy Spirit, the One who disciplines us, and sanctifies us 1 Thess 5:23

    While trying to post this, I see the topic has moved on, but will post this anyway

  27. foreverblessed says:

    I would like to add that I am very much like Jacob was, he not hearing what God promised, still worried if he would make the journey and back. So it is with me, God promises a whole lot to me in the bible:
    Eph 1:3-4
    Eph 1:13-14
    Romans 5:17
    2 Peter 1:3
    1 John 5:4-5
    If all these Words really had sunk into my heart, I would be overjoyed, a radiant person, full of zeal for God, not wavering, but full of faith and hope, and love, and all other gifts of the Spirit.

    But then again, because Jacob was God’s dear son, and God worked it all out in him, so God will work these things out in me, if I do not give up, and persevere.
    Thanks to the God of Jacob!

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.