Trusting God for the Outcome

Old Testament Reading: Genesis 27 & 28

Psalms Reading: Psalm 16

New Testament Reading: Matthew 15

Genesis 28:15 – Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go and will bring you back to this land.  For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you. 

This is an appropriate text for me right now; in that it speaks to me in trusting God for the outcome.  Genesis 27 and 28 tells the story of how Jacob stole his brother’s blessing after he had already manipulated Esau out of his birthright in Genesis 25.

I want to make mention that earlier in Genesis 25 Rebekah was concerned about her pregnancy because according to scripture, “The babies jostled with each other within her.”

When she inquired of the Lord, He told her, “Two nations are in your womb and two peoples within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other and the older will serve the younger.”

So, in the scripture from today (Genesis 27)  we learn that Rebekah heard Isaac tell Esau to go out and hunt some wild game and prepare him a tasty meal.  Afterward, Isaac was going to give Esau his blessing.

Rebekah took it upon herself to have Jacob go get two choice goats and she prepared a meal that Isaac would enjoy.  She also used the goat skins to fool Isaac into believing that Jacob was indeed Esau – using the goat skins to make Jacob’s arms feel hairy.  As a result of this trickery, Isaac blessed Jacob instead of Esau.

When Esau showed up, he found out that his father had already given his blessing to Jacob.  When Esau pleaded  for some sort of blessing the only hope that Isaac could give him was found in Genesis 27:39 & 40:

“Your dwelling will be away from the earth’s richness,

Away from the dew of heaven above.  You will live by the sword

And you will serve your brother.  But when you grow restless,

You will throw his yoke from off your neck.”

Esau vowed that after his father had died, he would surely kill his brother Jacob. 

The things that trouble us in life may not be to such an extreme, but there are some things that I believe we can learn from this story that may help us in times when we are unsure of our path.

I just got home from ReFUEL at Camp Mack.  The theme was ‘Peace treaty’.  The youth were challenged in many ways.  One of the ways they were challenged was to not be in a hurry for the answer that you think God should give you.

Maybe the answer you were hoping for isn’t the one that God is prepared to give….. right now.  We can be like Rebekah and try to manipulate the situation in order to achieve the outcome that we were hoping for.  The question to ask is, “Is God working in that situation?”  Does trying to manipulate the situation always work for the good?

We learn from Genesis 28 that Jacob had to take off and head for Paddan Aram.  It was there that he was supposed to live and find a wife from the daughters of Laban.  It was on the way there, in Bethel, that Jacob had a dream of a stairway resting on the earth and angels ascending and descending up and down that stairway.  It was there that God reiterated the same promise that He had made to Abraham and Isaac.  He said,

“I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. 

I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 

Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread

Out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. 

All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring……”.

Genesis 28:13 & 14

So, from this story, I perceive that we should not be in a hurry to get the answer that we wish God would give.  What if God’s plan for your life will end up the way that you would hope, but through a means that would be better for us in the long run.

Surely, we can see that even though Jacob went along with Rebekah’s plan to get the blessing through trickery,  God still worked to bring His blessing upon Jacob, but at what cost.

Jacob had to wait 14 years for the wife he wanted.  He had to work very hard to achieve the riches that he ended up with.  Ultimately, when he went home years later, he was in fear for his life.  Why?  Because his brother vowed to kill him.

We will never know how God would have worked if Rebekah hadn’t resorted to tricking Isaac into giving his blessing to Jacob instead of Esau.  It all worked out for Jacob and Esau.  The elder (Esau) didn’t serve his younger brother Jacob.  They did reconcile later, but the people from the land of Edom (descendants of Esau) did eventually serve Israel – a fulfillment of the prophecy spoken by God.

So, as I go through life.  I want to make sure that I am praying for God’s guidance in my decisions.  I don’t want to get in such a hurry that I try to manipulate the situation to create the outcome that I desire.  This is so important to me.  I need to try to be an example for my daughters, Hannah and Sofie, and others around me.  If I am quick to do what I need to do to ensure an outcome, what does that teach others?

-Rick Eldred

(Today and the rest of this week we will hear from various adults and young adults who were at reFuel this past weekend.)

Reflection Questions

Please also read Psalm 16.  It speaks clearly of the refuge that we can find in the Lord.  And ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is it in my life that I want from God?
  2. Am I being patient and prayerful when it comes to waiting for his timing?
  3. Is God your Refuge?
  4. Do others watching me see my trust in God?
  5. What can I learn of God from His Scriptures today?

The Blessing With a Price

Genesis 27

February 4

This Bible story is one of the classics, and I am happy to revisit it because when I was younger, I had no clue what the moral of the story could be. Genesis 27 features Isaac, now old and blind, his wife Rebekah, and his two sons Esau and Jacob. In his old age, Isaac realizes that his death is drawing nearer every passing day, so he instructs his eldest son Esau to go out and hunt some wild game to prepare for him in exchange for his blessing. As Esau goes out to hunt, Rebekah, having heard all this, instructs Jacob to fetch two young goats to make just the way his father likes it. She then proceeds to dress Jacob in Esau’s clothing and adorned the open parts of his skin with goatskins so that he can receive Esau’s blessing from Isaac.

Their plan ends up working as Jacob receives Esau’s blessing, and I remember thinking as a kid, “Well, that just doesn’t seem fair.” I had all sorts of questions fill my mind, and I was so distracted by this that I neglected the second part of the story as a kid. When Esau returns and learns that his blessing has been stolen, he does not respond in a very loving manner. He makes plans to kill Jacob! Rebekah learns of this and warns Jacob, telling him that he must flee until Esau’s anger subsides and he forgets what happened in the first place. The chapter comes to an end with Rebekah setting Jacob’s escape plan in action.

After some reflection, it’s no wonder I didn’t understand the moral of the chapter as a kid because it’s something we’re told all the time but doesn’t really click until you’re older and more experienced. This part of the Esau and Jacob story teaches us that our actions have consequences. Here, Jacob receives all the blessings from his father and is set up to live a successful life, but once his brother found out what he did, Jacob had to leave behind everyone he loved and all he owned to go somewhere unfamiliar to save his life. All the deception was for naught as Jacob had to give up his peaceful life at home to live in strange new lands with only the clothes on his back and supplies to get there. As we go throughout life, it is easy to forget that every little thing we do has consequences. They may be seen immediately afterward or they may even show up way down the line, but as a family of believers, we must hold one another accountable to ensure that our actions produce consequences that are pleasing to God and the life that he wants us to live.

-Austin Kizer

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. Why do you think Rebekah wanted Jacob to receive Isaac’s blessing instead of Esau? What would you have done in Jacob’s position if Rebekah proposed this idea to you?
  2. Was Esau’s reaction justified or overboard? How do you think this reaction will impact Jacob and Esau’s relationship moving forward?
  3. Was there ever a time when you recognized the consequences of your actions? What did you learn from this experience? How did it impact similar situations later on?

Tomorrow we will be reading Genesis 37

Forgiveness

Genesis 32-34

Genesis 33 4 NIV

Today we are going to look at what happened when Jacob and Esau finally meet again. If you remember the last time the two brothers were together was back in Genesis 27. Whatever city they were in it definitely wasn’t Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love. Jacob’s mother actually has to tell Jacob to run away to another land because Esau, his brother, is trying to kill him. Probably Esau rightfully felt these things because Jacob stole his father’s blessing from him and also extorted his birthright. I could imagine having a little bit of hostility towards a brother who did these things to me as well. Luckily, Jacob’s mama gets involved and sends him away to her brother where he was able to get married and prosper.

I can’t imagine the hostility that lay between these two brothers. Some of us are slightly more dramatically than others of us but we have heard people use phrases like, “They ruined my life”. Now I’m not saying that they didn’t but they probably didn’t do it like Jacob did to Esau. Jacob literally took away Esau’s inheritance from him for a bowl of soup. That better have been like some lobster bisque. On top of that while Esau was out hunting for an animal to make his father a nice stew Jacob and his mother went the easy route and took one of the animals from the flock and made their father a stew and stole Esau’s birthright. I couldn’t imagine doing all the work of hunting an animal just to see that your brother took one from the herd and used it to steal your birthright. Talk about adding insult to injury.

Imagine having all that happen and how you would feel if you ever saw your brother again. I am not sure about you but I would be expecting the best apology in the world. I’m not really sure what all would be included in that apology but at the very least I’m thinking something like a sky writing plane writing, “I’m sorry. You are awesome.” Maybe then I could possibly forgive them if they included like season passes to my favorite ski mountain. Let’s take a look at how the incident actually plays out in the Bible. You should go read the entire chapter of Genesis 33 but since I cannot put the entire chapter in this devotion. I will settle for one verse.

 

Genesis 33.4 “But Esau ran to meet him and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.”

 

Esau had twenty years to stew over how wrong Jacob had done him but instead of holding in all that hostility, anger and rage he chose to do something absolutely crazy. HE FORGAVE HIM. His reaction to seeing his brother is profound. He didn’t even just walk up and shake his hand. It says he ran to him, like children would when they see their father coming home from work. He embraced him, fell on him and kissed him. That’s love and forgiveness and all the stuff I want in my life.

I have things in my life that are as small as people have told lies about me and have said negative things about my character that I have a hard time letting go of and forgiving them for. But Esau, literally the leader of a non-Israelite nation, had way more forgiveness than I do.

Colossians 3.13 says, “bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” This verse can seem kind of abstract and not practical. For me personally, when I see an example of how this is played out in real life like what happened with Jacob and Esau it raises the bar. It shows me my failure to fully attain to the level of Christianity that I want to be at; which is to live like Christ.

So how do you forgive somebody after something like what happened to Esau. I don’t think it is in our nature to. I think we need to bring it to God. I know that there are things that I wasn’t ready to forgive people for, my heart isn’t ready for and it still clings to the hurt. I think the only way to handle those types of situations is to bring it to God in prayer and ask something like, “God, please help me forgive this person and love them despite what they did to me.” Sometimes we just need to release that charge against them in our minds and tell ourselves, “I am not going to hold that against them.”

I hope that this helps any of you that are struggling in this way. I hope that we can all release that resentment we have and forgive each other fully.

 

Daniel Wall

 

To read or listen to today’s Bible reading you can check out Bible Gateway at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+32-24&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s reading will be Genesis 35-37 in our 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

Thief

Jacob

A THIEF redeemed (1)

Read Genesis 27:1-37 and Genesis 35:9-12

 

My husband and I attended Atlanta Bible College when it was located in Morrow, GA and lived in one of the duplexes across the street from the college. One bright Saturday morning we decided that it would be a perfect day to ride our bikes. We went out to our patio so we could hop on our bikes and ride like the wind. However, wind was all we found on the patio and we quickly realized that our bikes had been stolen, never to be seen again. As a broke college student I remember feeling so angry that this had been taken from me because it wasn’t something that could be easily replaced at the time. Now imagine how you might feel had a bike or even something much more precious been stolen from you by a thief. It seems Esau had some rather strong feelings toward his twin brother Jacob after his blessing was snatched away from him.

Jacob was the favorite child of Rebekah and he was pretty cunning. We read in Genesis 27 that with the help of his mother, Jacob tricked his father Isaac into giving him the blessing that was meant for Esau. While Esau was out doing what Isaac had told him to do to prepare for his blessing Jacob was getting dressed up in goatskin so he could trick his father. He even went so far as to lie to his blind, on the verge of death father that he was back from hunting so quickly because God caused the animal to come to him (Gen. 27:20).

Although I’m sure God was not pleased with Jacob’s actions God didn’t strike him down or have the earth swallow him up but instead God eventually changes Jacob’s name to Israel (Genesis 35:9-12) and makes him a nation. Many times when God is mentioned in the Bible He is referred to as the “God of Jacob”. When doing a search in the NASB version of the Bible, Biblegateway.com brings up 353 results for “Jacob.

I’ll be honest, in the past I have found it difficult to be a Jacob fan because I would get hung up on his flaws; but thankfully, God sees things much differently than I sometimes do. Jacob was a thief and a liar in whom God saw potential. Instead of writing him off God redeemed him for His own and made him into a great nation.

-Lacey Dunn

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