< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Back to our Genesis Chapter 27/28 Study

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Back to our Genesis Chapter 27/28 Study

Back to Jacob – We are given far more details about Jacob’s actions, emotions, and response to God than about most individuals of the Old Testament.

It’s interesting that God’s promise of a seed starts out through one person at a time until after Jacob. Abraham to Isaac to Jacob….and then to Jacob’s 12 sons – each as important as the other in Israel’s history. Scripture records many events in Jacob’s life. We see his sins, his faith and God’s dealings with him in grace, in chastisement, by revelation and by rebuke as he molds Jacob’s character into the dignified man of stature he eventually became. You’ll notice that God allows Jacob to experience from others the same kind of deception and suffering he inflicted upon his father, Isaac – with his taking Esau’s birthright and then Isaac’s blessing.

We’ll get to it shortly, but you’ll remember that Jacob leaves his parents and goes to live with his uncle Laban for twenty years. Laban lied to him about earning his wife and also about his wages many times. In his old age his sons lied to him about what happened to Joseph. Some people would call this Karma, but it’s God disciplining him in a way he can see his own sin.

God disciplines His own and He often does this by circumstances of life.

Isaac’s blessing was also prophecy. It was God promising through Isaac –

1.      That the land which his son would possess would be blessed with heavenly dew, which in Israel is so heavy that even in the dry season it almost takes the place of rain. The land would be fertile, full of grain and wine.

2.      Nations would serve his line. People would bow down. People bowed down to Jacob’s son Joseph in Egypt. And of course we will ALL bow down to Jesus one day.

3.      Isaac also blessed him with headship over his brother. Although he was really blessing Esau with headship over Jacob. (Isaac was trying to annul God’s original declared purpose in regard to the younger ruling over the elder.)

4.      The Abrahamic promise of cursing and blessing. He just reasserted God’s promise to Abraham that he would be so identified in God’s family and with God Himself that God would consider those who cursed him as though they cursed God and those who blessed him as though they blessed God.

Then Jacob left and Esau came in and Isaac realized what had happened. And he trembled violently. Imagine how he felt when he realized that he had tried to manipulate God, but God had stepped in and prevented him! He realized he couldn’t change God’s sanction and told Esau so.

Esau regrets his former action, but regret and remorse are not repentance.

Isaac gave him the portion of temporal blessing and prophecy relating to the future which God knew most fitted the life which Esau had already chosen for himself.

1.      Esau’s land would be rocky and dry (“away from the earth’s richness, away from the dew of heaven above”). Edom is a mountainous stronghold with a few fertile places, but very little rain.

2.      Esau and his descendants would be known throughout history for their continual violence and conflict, particularly in relation to the more peaceful Israel whom they constantly harassed and even persecuted.

3.      He would serve his brother – for a long time Israel was over Edom.

4.      “You will throw his yoke from off your neck.” The time came when Judah lost Edom.

Eventually Edom disappeared. One commentator wrote that by “refusing to value their spiritual possessions while they had them they ended in being discarded by God from being instruments of blessing to the people around them.”

I couldn’t help but think of America when I read that. (Re-read statement)

Isaac calls Jacob back to give him the full Abrahamic blessing:
Genesis 28:1-9 So Isaac called for Jacob and blessed him. Then he commanded him: “Do not marry a Canaanite woman. 2 Go at once to Paddan Aram, to the house of your mother’s father Bethuel. Take a wife for yourself there, from among the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother. 3 May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples. 4 May he give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham, so that you may take possession of the land where you now reside as a foreigner, the land God gave to Abraham.” 5 Then Isaac sent Jacob on his way, and he went to Paddan Aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, who was the mother of Jacob and Esau.
6 Now Esau learned that Isaac had blessed Jacob and had sent him to Paddan Aram to take a wife from there, and that when he blessed him he commanded him, “Do not marry a Canaanite woman,” 7 and that Jacob had obeyed his father and mother and had gone to Paddan Aram. 8 Esau then realized how displeasing the Canaanite women were to his father Isaac; 9 so he went to Ishmael and married Mahalath, the sister of Nebaioth and daughter of Ishmael son of Abraham, in addition to the wives he already had.

Esau, who had been indifferent and easy going, turned all his blame and bitterness on Jacob. Rebekah hears him say he is going to kill Jacob, so sends him away to her brother Laban. Remember when she had told Jacob “let the curse be on me”? Well, the first part of that curse was she lost her favorite son. It’s thought they never saw each other again.

So how can we apply this story to our lives? Isaac shows us that it is possible so to live in the light of a past great experience with God that in the present we stagnate, become spiritually lazy and blind and indifferent to God’s call to new decisions and new sacrifices.

From Rebekah we learn that it is possible to know God’s Word, to believe it, to be sound and to recognize when others are not acting according to God’s revealed Word, but yet in personal actions ignore God’s requirements of plain truthfulness, honesty, integrity and righteous conduct. Orthodox belief accompanied by unrighteous conduct will lead to God’s chastisement and sorrow.

From Jacob we learn it is possible to be so convinced that we are in the right, legally, that any conduct seems allowable .We should not be going after our “rights” in ways that don’t please God.

And from Esau we learn not to blame others for the consequence of our own indifference to God and spiritual things.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home