Mary brings us: Week Five
The Heel Grabber
The Babies Jostled
As we began our study this week, we saw a shift from the story of Abraham and even Isaac to Jacob. It begins with Rebekah having the same problem as her Mother-in-law, Sarah. She is barren. Isaac was 40 when he married Rebekah which by our standards is a late time in life to get married, and now his wife can’t get pregnant. 20 years passes and the Bible says in Gen. 25:21 “And Isaac entreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.” I don’t believe after 20 years, Isaac woke up one day and decided to pray. I believe God had a plan and answered the prayer when the time was right. Beth Moore says, “God’s timing suggests a greater issue. I believe God intended to make crystal clear His participation in fulfilling the promise of heirs……God wasn’t about to let such an important promise seem naturally fulfilled. Had Isaac and Rebekah conceived the first year, they would have been tremendously less attentive to spiritual purpose and divine participation. In other words, they might have missed the God-gift.”
What peace it brings to my soul to know that even when my life seems like chaos, God has a plan.
An Appetite for the Immediate
In Genesis 25:24-34 we read about the two boys Jacob and Esau being born and how they were raised. The two wrestled in Rebekah’s womb and it seems like to me that the two wrestled while being born to see who would be first. When Jacob grabs Esau’s heel, it seems an attempt to hold Esau back so Jacob could be born first. In my mind’s eye I see my sons grabbing at each other in a race trying to pull one another back. The wrestling match goes on into their childhood and adult life. Unfortunately on the side lines of the match each parent is cheering on a different son. According to Gen. 25:23, Rebekah knew the older (Esau) would serve the younger (Jacob). Jacob becomes Rebekah’s favorite. I imagine her whispering in Jacob’s ear reminding him that he would one day rule over Esau. Beth Moore says, “What she (Rebekah) didn’t understand is that we don’t have to steal, cheat and lie to get what God promises us. …The same one who makes the promises fulfills the promises—without our manipulation. Jacob would have risen as the prominent brother and the next patriarch without the conniving.”
Isaac had his own favorite. Esau was a “take the bulls by the horn” kind of guy. He was outdoorsy and a hunter. He was a manly man. He appealed to his father. Esau lived it seems by the seat of his pants. He doesn’t seem to be a great thinker and lived for the moment. That is why it was easy for Jacob to get him to sell his birthright. Esau was hungry, wanted to eat, and wanted to eat now. Jacob, groomed by his mother, probably thought the birthright was his right and this was a way to get it. He was still grabbing at Esau’s heal, this time his Achilles heel, uncontrolled hunger. Beth Moore says, “He (Esau) was driven by instant gratification. He placed no value on what was truly valuable.”
“We can certainly trade in a personal sense of who we are in Christ for the lusts of this world.” Beth Moore
The Generational Impact
Beth Moore says on this day, “How many of us have carried on the tradition of some of our parents’ poor decisions? When we are tested by a difficult decision, how we saw our parents respond (whether poorly or well) in a similar situation is ordinarily first among our multiple-choice answers. We may not choose their response, but it is always among the first responses that pop into our heads.” In Gen. 26 we get to see how closely Isaac’s actions mirror’s his father Abraham’s actions in similar situations. It is a reminder to us as parent’s that we have around us witnesses to our actions and decisions that may set the example for them to use later in life, these witnesses are our children. In Gen.26 Isaac like his father before him goes “unto Abimelech the king of the Philistines unto Gerar.” (This time God specifically tells him not to go into Egypt.) Isaac like his father receives the blessing of his seed multiplying as the stars, his seed taking possession of the land, and the nations being blessed by his seed. Isaac like his father lacks faith in God and lies about Rebekah being his sister instead of his wife. Like his father, he is found out by Abimelech. Isaac like his father becomes rich with a great amount of cattle and sheep. Isaac like his father has to deal with his herdsmen being persecuted by Abimelech’s herdsmen. Isaac like his father meets with God in Beersheba and builds an altar to God. Isaac like his father makes a covenant with Abimelech after the king acknowledges Isaac is mighty and God is with him. As we look at this list of how Isaac was like his father, we see positive and negative characteristics. When talking about the wells of Abraham that Isaac unstopped, Beth Moore says, “An adult child stops up a well every time she throws out the positive inheritance with the negative.” She also says, “Beloved, God is God—holy, wonderful, and merciful—even if someone who held Him up as an example to us didn’t reflect His character. Don’t confuse God with man!.......Spiritual lineage is one of the most precious gifts God offers. He wants nothing more than to reveal Himself to a second generation as the God of the first.”
“Dear One, will we pass down a heritage of faith?” Beth Moore
When things go on in my family, which sounds like a badly writing soap opera, I think, “Oh, the Drama!” Most of the time, the “Drama” is of our own making and unnecessary. When I read Gen. 27, I can easily think, “Oh, the Drama!” It was totally unnecessary if the “players” would have trusted God. Here’s how it goes. Isaac is old and blind. He tells Esau his favorite to kill a deer, make savory meat, bring it to him for supper and he’ll receive The Blessing. Unbeknown to them, Rebekah is eavesdropping. She sees her chance to “help” God fulfill his promise. She instructs her favorite son Jacob in the art of deceiving his father. She even promises to take his curse, if they are caught and Isaac isn’t happy about being deceived. Jacob agrees to the ruse. He dons the lamb skins and brother’s clothes to feel and smell like hairy Esau. Jacob enters with savory meat mother prepared (as a lamb to the slaughter). Isaac questions, “who art thou my son?” Jacob lies, “I am Esau thy first born…” Isaac questions, “How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son?” Jacob lies (bringing God into his lie I might add), “Because the LORD thy God brought it to me.” Isaac orders, “Come near, I pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son whether thou be my very son Esau or not.” He bows before his elderly father sounding like Jacob, but feeling like Esau. Isaac questions again, “Art thou my very son Esau?” Do you hear the pleading in his voice? Jacob lies, “I am.” (What nerve!) He brings his father the food. His father desperately asks for a kiss, receives the kiss (kiss of Judas?), smells the garment, and is satisfied. Jacob receives The Blessing. Jacob walks out, Esau walks in. Oh, the Drama!
Beth Moore says, “Isaac couldn’t take back the blessing because it really wasn’t his to give in the first place. God foretold the blessing foreshadowing its higher purpose.
Isaac has been deceived, Esau has forfeited his birth right and had his blessing “stolen” from him. No amount of crying and pleading can gain them back. Isaac feebly tries to give a blessing Gen.27:40 “…it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.” Did that band aid help? No, the idea that Esau’s own mother and brother tricked the blessing away from him eats at him. According to Beth Moore and what we see in scripture Esau cried, held a grudge, premeditated murder, and consoled himself. Beth Moore points out that in John 8:44 it says, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murder from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie he speaketh of his own, for he is a liar, and the father of it.” In Hebrews 12:16-17 God through the writer points out that Esau was an unrepented, profane, fornicator. Satan’s desire became Esau’s desire. He desired to kill his brother which was also the forerunner to Christ. “Can you think of a more effective way to kill a people than to kill the individual from whom the promised line would come?”
“Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer…” I John 3:15
I appreciate Mary helping and bringing our lesson.
See you next Tuesday in the Parlor!