Lessons from Jacob’s life history-Immediate vs. delayed gratification is still a choice we face with far reaching results
God’s election and the danger of immediate gratification vs. delayed gratification.
Issac and Rebekah – childless couples for twenty years.
Jacob’s father Isaac and his mother Rebekah had two sons, and they were twins. They did not have children, and in their old age because of Isaac’s prayer, the LORD gave them twins. Isaac was married at the age of 40, and they did not have children until he is at 60 years of age. Beloved, the Bible gives several examples of God giving a child to childless couples. Isaac’s mother, Sarah, was barren until she reached 99 years of old. In their old age, Abraham being at 100 years of age, God fulfilled His promise and gave them the promised child, and he was Isaac. Hannah was barren, and it says she was barren because “the LORD had closed her womb. Because the LORD had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her.´(1 Samuel 1). You see, Peninnah, her rival, irritated her on an ongoing basis. One time while she was in the temple, she prayed to the Lord God with much grief in her heart, and the Lord gave her a child who became one of the greatest priest and prophet of Israel called Samuel. Luke describes another incident in chapter 1 of Zechariah and Elizabeth who were advanced in age and did not have children. God gave them a child, and he is John the Baptist. Our Lord said this about John the Baptist, I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John.” Think about this statement of Jesus Christ. John was greater than all who are born of women. Greater than all the prophets –even greater than Moses. You see, sometimes there is a divine reason why couples do not have children. If God willing, in response to our prayer He is able to provide children when we least expect Psalm 113:9 says, “He (God) settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD.” I know several examples of parents who did not have children, and when they called upon the Lord and prayed earnestly, the Lord gave them children. I also understand there are situations when God plans that you won’t have children. If that is true about you, thank God and seek His plan for your life. God, our father in heaven, is far better than thousands of children. God will take care of all your need because he cares about you better than all.
Did you know God knew all about us even before our birth?
Let us come back to our lesson from the life of Jacob. When Rebekah was pregnant, due to Isaac’s prayers, two babies jostled each other in her womb. When she inquired about the reason, the Lord told her “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.”.
Bible reveals God as an all-knowing God. God knows the end from the beginning. The Lord God declares in Isaiah 46:10 this, “I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
and I will do all that I please.”
You see, God already made known to us all that we should know about the future in the pages of the Bible. In other words, Bible reveals all about the future especially in the prophecy section of the Bible, and it informs in detail all that is going to happen in the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation.
Not only God knows and told us what is going to happen in the future, but he also knows the future of us all. In our passage, God already predestined who is going to be stronger out of this twin brothers and who is going to serve who.
God said in Isaiah 46:10 that His purpose will stand and He will do all that He pleases. Later Paul discusses God’s election of Jacob in Roman 9:11-16. God’s choice and predestination is a significant topic in the Bible. Bible says even before Esau and Jacob were born or had done anything good or bad, Rebekah received a message from God. It said the older son will serve the younger son. This message from God shows God chooses people according to His pleasure and purpose. It is not based on their good or bad works. Then verse 14 ask this question, does it mean God was unfair? It says no God is not unfair. God already declared that He would show mercy to anyone He chooses and show compassion to anyone He chooses. (Exodus33:19b). Therefore it is God who makes that decision sovereignly, and even before our birth, the Bible reveals God already made that choice. Bible says in Ephesians 1:4-6 this when Paul wrote this epistle to the Christ believers in Ephesus. It says God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world so that we will be holy and blameless in His sight. This happened because God predestined us, in His love, to adopt us as His |Children in and through Jesus Christ. This was in accordance with God’s pleasure and will. Also, this was for the praise of His glorious grace. This grace (unmerited divine favor) God freely bestowed on us because of Christ Jesus.
However, it is important to know we do not know who are predestined by God to become His children and to stand before Him blames and holy. Only God knows. He gave us the commission to go and preach the Gospel and whoever would come and accept Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior and repent of their sins are the ones who are predestined. How do we know if we are predestined? It is simple. If Holy Spirit of God works in your heart to listen to the message of the good news of Jesus, and He prompts inside of you to come to Jesus and believe in Him as your only savior for salvation, and as a result you accept Christ Jesus as your savior, then you are positively predestined by God. Someone said like this suppose you are walking on a street and you see an invitation to come inside. You could have passed walking ignoring the sign, but you had an inner prompt to go inside, and you did and when you were inside the rook and closed the door behind you read a big board saying, “you are chosen by God eternally to be with Him with no blame and blemish. You are declared blameless and holy by God.” Jesus Himself said, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14). The context is this- A king sent his invitation to his son’s wedding. Many did not come to the marriage supper by saying different lame excuses. Many were invited but only a few were chosen.
Birth of the twins.
At the time of birth, the first one came out in red color, and his whole body was like a hairy garment. So they named him Esau. Then came the second one and his hand was grasping Esau’s heel. They called him Jacob. These names proved prophetical because Esau became a hunter and Jacob became a deceiver because he deceived his brother. Isaac loved Esau because he liked the meat he got from, and Rebekah loved Jacob. Though they were twins, they had pretty much different characters. Jacob had smooth skin and loved dwelling in the house. Esau and Jacob both lived up to their names. One day when came from hunting, he was so hungry. Jacob was cooking a red color and delicious stew. He said to Jacob quick give some of your stew because “I am famished.” Jacob used this time to use his deceiving character. He said first sell me your birthright then I would give the stew. Esau said I am going to die and what good is the birthright and Jacob asked him to swear to him first regarding the sale of the birthright. Esau swore an oath and sold his birthright for a bowl of stew. Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate and drank and then got up and left. Then there is one sentence Bible records there. It says “So Esau despised his birthright.”
A firstborn birthright per the old testament scriptures was a unique privilege to the double portion of the inheritance from the father. Besides, it was an honor of the head of the household status in the family. In this particular case, the Lord had already predetermined Esau will serve the younger one Jacob. In short God’s pre-determined plan was for Jacob’s to get more blessings. We will learn more about it in the next session about Jacob’s life.
The danger of focusing on immediate gratification.
As far our heart goes after Esau, he was a man living for the moment, wasn’t he? He wanted quick fulfillment of satisfaction. If we look through the pages of the Bible, we can see immediate gratification is the scheme of the devil. Lord wants us to wait on Him. When Jesus Christ was in the wilderness fasting for 40 days, the devil used the same technique of immediate gratification about which we can read in the Bible in chapter 4 of the book of Matthew. I will give you right now. What is good in waiting and have the stew now is devils’ counsel. Bible says let us not be defiled like Esau. It says, “See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done. (Hebrews 12:16-17). Esau was just a man of the flesh, and he did not care about the blessings that come in future along with his firstborn birthright but despised and sold the precious and unique blessing for the immediate gratification of the desire of his flesh.
Hebrews 12 begins with an exhortation. It says because we are surrounded by a huge crowd of witnesses who led the life of faith in the midst of various pressures, temptations, persecutions, sufferings, and trials, we are exhorted to lay aside every weight that affects our faith life which can slow our progress in Christ. Especially the Bible asks us to strip off the sin that so easily trips us on the way. The writer showed the faith life of faith warriors in chapter 11 as an example to motivate us to continue in our faith life in Christ Jesus. It says there is a race God has set for us. We need to run that race God has set for us with endurance and discipline. Our patience and endurance to run the race are possible only if we keep our eyes on Jesus Christ. Why? Because He is the initiator who initiated the divine work in us and He is the one who is going to perfect our faith. His example was this – even He endured the cross and disregarded the shame because of the future joy set before Him. What was His joy? His victory over sin, devil and death and salvation and giving eternal life to us. That was the future joy, and Jesus endured the sufferings. He disregarded the shame to attain the future joy.
The lesson learned.
Esau failed in this aspect. He traded the future joy and blessings for the momentary satisfaction of the desires of his flesh. How big was his loss when he made such a foolish trade? The command to wait on the Lord for His blessings can be traced all through the Bible. However, many times we also became fools in going after immediate gratification without waiting on the Lord, didn’t we? Bible says in Isaiah 40:30-31, Even the youth in their young age may faint and become weary. But those who wait on the LORD will renew their strength. Those who wait on the LORD shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint. What a beautiful promise to those who wait on the LORD! However, may we learn from our past failures! Because you see God has not called us from earth as of yet. We are still here. He in His grace given us more days. I want to learn from my mistakes and not repeat those again. Don’t you want to do the same? We have forfeited many blessings because of our rush decisions and not waiting on the Lord’s time. We became faint and weary, and we were unable to mount up like eagles just because we did not wait on the LORD. May we seek the Lord in prayer? Bible promises in him there is an abundance of forgiveness. Bible promise in God there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence serve Him for the rest of our days. (Psalms 130:4). Bible says in Joel 2:25 the LORD will restore to you the years that the swarming locusts have eaten. Then in verse 22, the LORD says, “I am the LORD your God, and there is no other. Then He promises, “My people shall never be put to shame.”
The Lord promises He will restore the years that the swarming locusts have eaten. You can still place your hope and faith in the Lord. God says, it is not late yet. First thing first! Remember God sent His only one Son, Jesus Christ, to die in your place for your sins. This is the beginning point. By understanding, God took the first step to reconcile you with Him, come to the Savior, Christ Jesus, for the forgiveness of all your sins. This is the first step of blessing from heaven. God promised He will make you a brand new creation, grant all heavenly blessings and eternal life in heaven with Him, if you would come to him now. I will help you to make that decision now.
Prayer time: Father in heaven, I thank you for loving me and sending your Son for my sins. I believe Jesus died and rose again for my sins. I accept Him as my savior and Lord. Please forgive my sins and save me. In Christ’s name, I pray. Amen.”