By the time we sit down to watch TV it is often quite late and usually there isn’t anything that we want to watch. Like many people we have started watching box sets of DVDs or entire series on Netflix. It’s a convenient way to watch the programmes that you like but it has its downside. I find that when I watch several episodes together, the characters begin to get on my nerves as they tend to be people who are not very nice and I lose any interest in what happens to them.
In today’s reading we have four characters and none of them emerge from this with any credit.
Some say ‘the ends justify the means’; that the goals are so important it’s ok to bend a few rules. Jacob is the one who should be blessed so it’s ok tell a few lies and use a bit of deceit – well no, actually it isn’t.
The back story here is that God has spoken to Rebekah before the boys were born to say; ‘the older will serve the younger’ and that both of them would father nations; ‘Two nations are in your womb’. Isaac (a second son himself) should have listened to the word of God and blessed Jacob as the one who would carry the promise but he didn’t, he wanted to bless Esau. As strange as it may seem, it’s easy to get ourselves into a position where we think we know more than God. It never ends well.
Rebekah sought to take advantage of her husband’s old age and poor eyesight to achieve her goal. We seem to have come a long way from the love story of chapter 24. Sin always has its consequences and there was a price to pay here. Isaac would have found it difficult to ever trust Rebekah again and as a result of this sin, Jacob was soon forced to leave home never to see his mother again.
Esau was still trying to deal with the results of selling his birthright. He blamed Jacob, which was fair enough but he didn’t ever face up to his own sin. The writer stated; ‘So Esau despised his birthright’, he made his choice and regretted it but he should have repented. God was going to make his descendants into a nation and would bless Esau with wealth and power but at this point he just blamed Jacob. It should challenge our thinking. Are we like Esau and focused on the sin of others without acknowledging our own need of forgiveness?
I wonder how Jacob felt when whole the sordid business was over. Did he enjoy his moment of triumph, or did he think of his aged father that he had so cruelly deceived and the brother he had cheated? Perhaps the saddest thing is that the whole thing was so pointless. God was going to bless him and had said so to Jacob’s mother Rebekah. What if they hadn’t managed to deceive Isaac and he had gone on to bless Esau, would God have changed his mind and said the younger will serve the older? Jacob already possessed the promise and yet he was seeking human approval. He was striving when he should have been trusting. As we shall see, he had some hard lessons to learn.
When all around is fading and nothing seems to last
When each day is filled with sorrow still I know with all my heart
He’s got the whole world in His hands, He’s got the whole world in His hands
I fear no evil, for You are with me, strong to deliver, mighty to save
He’s got the whole world in His hands
When I walk through fire, I will not be burned
When the waves come crashing round me, still I know with all my heart