Lessons from Jacob’s life history: Lesson #2.
God can use even the usual day to day circumstances and affairs to accomplish His purpose. However, no matter what happened in your life in the past, it is never late to come to God and seek Him because, mercy, grace, forgiveness, and blessings are abundant in Him.
In the first lesson, we were introduced into the first glimpse of the problem in the character of Esau. He despised his birthright for a bowl of red soup. He traded his future destiny for immediate sensual gratification. We also know this is a usual tactic of the devil. He tried to tempt Jesus with the same trick of instant gratification of flesh and power without He going through the pain of the cross in Matthew chapter 3.
Unequal yoke in marriage leads to serious and dangerous consequences.
Now the Bible gives another side of the lifestyle of Esau. An important comment is there in Genesis 26:34-34 before all the turn of events in chapter 27 and I think it is crucial to understand the importance of that statement before we dive into chapter 27. It says, “When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith, daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite. They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah.”
Don’t we remember what Abraham did when Issac became old enough to get married? Genesis 24:1-4 says, “Abraham was now very old, and the LORD had blessed him in every way. He said to the senior servant in his household, the one in charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh. I want you to swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, but will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac.” How things turned around with God’s help, and guidance in finding a wife for Issac is very interesting to read and keep in mind. Why such a move of finding a wife for Issac was so important? The reason is God made His covenant with Abraham, and the seed of Abraham has to be kept separate from the seed of the Canaanites and other local people who lived in the promised land. People of Canaan were getting ripe for God’s judgment in future which God fulfilled according to His verdict (Genesis 15:16) when children of Israel entered into the promised land. Abraham knew the expectation and plan of God. Not only the line of the promised seed need to be kept separate from the seed of the Canaan but also Abraham said, “Make sure that you do not take my son back there.” No going back to that place that God called him from which was filled with idols. Such was the influence of idols in their life that even Rachel when she left from there to come to the promised land with Jacob, stole and hid idols. So do not take my son back there, Abraham insisted.
Now Esau decided to marry the Hittite wives was not according to the expectation of God as revealed in the Scripture. The last verse of chapter 27 Rebekah again says her sad situation in the family due to Esau’s wives. It says, “Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I’m disgusted with living because of these Hittite women. If Jacob takes a wife from among the women of this land, from Hittite women like these, my life will not be worth living.” In short, by Easu’s action, he proved to be unfit to inherit the Abrahamic blessing.
The lesson here is the role of the parents and also of the children in choosing a wife according to God’s way and expectation. If Abraham was so concerned about God’s word, why we do not care these days when it comes to our children’s marriages? The prohibition of interracial marriage was strictly for Jews in the old testament (Ezra 9). However, there is a prohibition for new testament believers in Christ which all believers need to keep in mind. That prohibition is not against interracial marriage but against unequally yoked with an unbeliever. A true Christian should not marry a person who is not a believer in Christ. Bible says in 2 Corinthians 6:14, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” The importance of a Godly wife who honors and loves the Lord is cardinally important for a man who professed his faith in the Lord. Bible has several examples of people who unequally yoked with unbelievers in the marriage and ended up in sad and pathetic situations. Esau, Solomon, and Samson are good examples we always remember in this regard. God who knew Esau before his birth understood the bend in Esau’s life and pronounced the verdict to Rachel, ““Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger.” (Genesis 25:23).
Esau made himself unfit for the Abrahamic covenant blessings by his life style.
It appears from the text that the resourceful and cunning counsel of Rebekah and Jacob following that counsel was because of their conviction that Esau proved himself unfit for the line of the promised seed. First He despised his unique privilege and position with all it blessings ((the first born right) in order to satisfy his physical hunger. Secondly, he yoked himself together in marriages with Hittite women, disregarding the holy line of the covenant blessings and promised seed. Chapter 27 begin with the statement that Isaac was old and his eyes were weak and could longer see. He called his older son, Esau, and said to him, “I am now an old man and don’t know the day of my death. Now then, get your equipment—your quiver and bow—and go out to the open country to hunt some wild game for me. Prepare me the kind of tasty food I like and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my blessing before I die.” Genesis 27:2. Isaac liked the meat of his son Esau.
He decided to pass the Abrahamic blessings to Esau after enjoying his tasty meat from hunting. Here we see a connection between father and son in enjoying delicious and tasty meat. Even though father and son were hooked real good, I sometimes wonder why Isaac did not instruct Esau what he learned from his father, Abraham. You see a father’s role is significant in children’s spiritual life. An example of a passive father is Ely the priest who did not instruct his sons in Godly ways, and that resulted in not only their immoral life and eventual destruction but also the nation’s destruction. Eli also enjoyed the meat from the offerings of the people which his wicked sons forcefully demanded when people came to offer sacrifices to the Lord. You see our sensual lifestyle can influence our children and it can lead them astray into ruin if parents are not careful and live a godly life in front of them. Isaac decided to bless Esau with all Abrahamic blessings (if you read Isaac’s blessing to Jacob, it shows the seed and rulership blessings are in it) even though he knew Esau is not fit for Abrahamic blessings for the line of the promised seed. These are the points apparently he ignored – the precise word of God that was told when the two boys were in the womb. Esau’s despising of the precious birthright and marrying Hittite wives which he should not have done. However, Rebekah took note of these things, and she knew Esau is not fit for Abrahamic blessings. However, did she need to rush with invented schemes and even forcing Jacob to lie to his father is another critical question? God can fulfill His promises without our schemes which could result in evil actions. Jacob had to deceive his father and even say repeated lies to his father.
Rebekah and Jacob intervened
This is what happened -Rebekah listened to what Isaac told Esau, and she reported to Jacob what she heard. She said to Jacob to go and get two choicest goats from the flock. She cooked tasty food like the way Isaac liked and asked him to take it to the father to get his blessings before the arrival of Esau with his food and this way Jacob can get the blessings. Rebekah put the best clothes of Esau on Jacob and covered his hands and smooth parts of the body with goat skins so that if Isaac touches him, he would not doubt because Esau was a hairy person. Apparently, Jacob was not hairy but had smooth skin on his body. Jacob went to His Dad and called him, “my father.” Jacob asked who is it? He said He is Esau his firstborn. He said he did father told him. He asked father to sit up and eat to give him his blessing. Isaac asked him how did he find the meat so quickly. Jacob said the LORD your God gave him success. Isaac asked him to come near him so that he can touch him to know whether he is really Esau or not. This tells Isaac had some initial doubts. However, when Isaac touched him, he said the voice is Jacob’s but the hands are of Esau. He thought he is Esau because his hands were hairy because of the goat skins. Isaac asked again, “are you really my son Esau or not?” Jacob said yes he is. Then Isaac again said to come to him and kiss him. When Isaac smelled Esau’s clothes and touched goat skin hands, his doubt gone away and started to give the blessing. The last part of his blessing is the covenant blessing for the promised seed. It says, “May nations serve you
and peoples bow down to you.
Be lord over your brothers,
and may the sons of your mother bow down to you.
May those who curse you be cursed
and those who bless you be blessed.” Therefore the promised nation, king and seed blessings are going to be in the line of Jacob. You see, what a significant loss Esau had at this point?
Esau’s exceedingly great and bitter cry
When Jacob left from Isaac Esau came in with his tasty prepared meat from hunting. He said to the father, please arise and eat the food that he may bless. Father asked who you are? And Esau said, “I am your son, your firstborn, Esau.” Bible ways Isaac trembled exceedingly when he heard this, and he asked then who brought the hunted food? He admitted he already ate and blessed him and indeed he shall be blessed. Esau heard this he cried with exceedingly great and bitter cry. Bible says in Hebrews 12:17 this about Esau, “For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.” He said to the father to bless him also. Isaac said your brother came with deceit and had taken away your blessing. Esau asked “have you only one blessing, my father? Bless me also, O my father!” Then he lifted up his voice and wept. Isaac answered and said to him, “ Behold, your dwelling shall be of the fatness of the earth,
And of the dew of heaven from above.
By your sword you shall live,
And you shall serve your brother;
And it shall come to pass, when you become restless,
That you shall break his yoke from your neck.”
This was much inferior to the blessing Jacob got from Isaac. Esau hated Jacob, and he said in his heart when the father dies, he is going revenge by killing his brother Jacob. However, when Rebekah heard the words, she called Jacob and said to him about Esau’s plan. She asked him to flee to her brother Laban’s house in Haran and stay until Esau’s fury goes away, which he did because they feared the disposition of Esau. Rebekah repeated her displeasure toward Esau’s Hittite wives. She said to Isaac, “ I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth; if Jacob takes a wife of the daughters of Heth, like these who are the daughters of the land, what good will my life be to me?” 27:46. This insight about Esau’s wives and weariness of Rebekah gives much light into the turn of events described in chapter 27.
What are some of the valuable insights/lessons to learn from this incident happened in Isaac’s family?
1. God’s choice and the election is done even before our birth
2. God in his foreknowledge knows all about us- what kind of person we are going to be, our lifestyle, attitudes, choices and all and hence it is easy for him to make his election and choice even before our birth. We live in the limitation of time, and we do not know what is going to happen in our lives in the future. However, God knows all about it, and he is at the end of time waiting for us to arrive. He knows all and has seen all from eternity to eternity.
3. This does not take away our responsibility to come to God in repentance. We cannot say because God had already made his choice before our birth, we do not have a choice. We have a choice to obey God and come to him for the cleansing of our sins and forgiveness. If we go to God in repentance, He will give mercy, grace, forgiveness, and love again. In other words, if we have a heart of repentance and if we are willing to turn to the mercy, love, and forgiveness of Lord, then we know for sure we are elected and chosen by God. Esau also could have done this, but he did not. He hardened his heart and kept anger in his heart to kill his brother. He never repented about his flesh oriented and sinful lifestyle. Saul, the first king of Israel, never repented off his sins either. In contrary, he hardened his heart. Cain is another example of the one who hardened his heart even though God gave two direct chances for repentance. (Genesis 4). In contrast, David although he committed terrible sins, he cried out to the Lord, repented and confessed his sins and thereby received the blessings from the Lord. You see, our wrong lifestyle, attitudes, and sins are not an end in itself. We can still run to God for his mercy and forgiveness. That is the right thing to do. I will say how to accomplish this at the end of this article. Do not miss that opportunity. Stay with me.
4. I believe Rebekah and Jacob did not have to conceive such plans of lie and cheating to achieve God’s promise. I think when they understood Esau is not fit for the blessings, they took the matter in their own hands and implemented individual plans to accomplish God’s verdict. God does not need our evil scheme filled intends to accomplish His purposes. However, in this case, God used their plans anyway. God used the evil plans of the religious and political leaders in Israel to accomplish His eternal plans regarding Jesus Christ. They decided to Kill Jesus, but God used their evil plans to bring salvation to all people. (Acts 2:22-24). God used people’s ideas to accomplish His purpose does not mean God approved their evil schemes and plans.
5. Both Jacob and Rebekah paid for the consequences of their action for a long time. Jacob had to run away from his beloved home and parents. He was deceived many times by Laban in his house. He suffered a lot in his life for his deceptive plans in Padan Aram. Rebekah has never been able to see his beloved son Jacob after he fled from their home. It appeared when Jacob came back from Padan Aram after more than twenty years, he rejoined with Isaac (Genesis 35:27), but Rebekah was no more there. No reference of Rebekah after this incident in chapter 27. Jacob did not get the opportunity to see his mother and spent time with her in her last days.
6. God can use the daily affairs and circumstances and even man’s sinful plans to accomplish His purposes. God used their schemes and plans to fulfill His promise that said the older would serve the younger.
7. We should not take casually what God gave us. There is a purpose behind all that he gave to us. Esau sold his birthright which was of immense value and blessing to fulfill his short-term sensual desires. He went and married the Canaanite women in contrary to the expectation of the Lord. In short, Esau dug his fate by an ungodly lifestyle and thereby lost his privilege for the covenant blessings for the promised line of the seed. (Genesis 12:2-3)
8. Parents have a big role in children’s life. I am not sure how well Isaac performed this role when I look at Esau and his appetites. Of course, Isaac had a strong and godly father in Abraham, who diligently took care the promised son- Isaac.
9. Rebekah’s role of taking the matter in her own hands to expedite God’s plan had also reaped far-reaching adverse consequences. God may have used His unique plan to fulfill His promise. It does not need to be achieved by lying and cheating games of people. However, that is what happened in this incident. Both mom and dearly loved son paid enormous prices for their involvement in this matter. Jacob was fooled and deceived many times in Laban’s house, and Rebekah never got an opportunity to see her beloved son and receive his help and care in her old age.
However, the most important lesson is this. Beloved, please do not harden your heart when God calls you with His love. It is never late to come to the Lord. In Him, there is the abundance of mercy and forgiveness. Today, right now, you can settle the matter with God of the universe. God loves you. He wants to give you a beautiful future and great and divine hope. God gave us the only way to come to Him, and that is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only savior and the Lord of the world. God sent His Son Jesus Christ, and He carried all of our sins and wrongdoings on His body and died in our place on the cross. He paid it all for you. Then He was buried, and God raised Him from the dead. This way Jesus defeated sin and death. When you call upon Jesus Christ and accept Him as your savior and Lord, you will become the child of God, and your name will be written in the book of life. No matter what horrible is your past, listen to me now. God loves you and wants to save you and make you His own child. Please pray after me now. God will make you a brand new person and design your future bright and blessed again.
“Father in heaven, I come to you in prayer. I believe you sent your only Son, Jesus Christ into this world and He died for my sins and wrongdoings. Please forgive my sins and save me today. I accept Christ Jesus as my savior and Lord. In the name of Christ, I pray. Amen.”