Family Schemes

Today’s reading: Gen. 26:34 – 28:22

Esau got married to local population rather than his people and such was “a cause of grief to Issac and Rebekah”. I find it interesting that Issac did not arrange Esau’s marriage the way Abraham has done for him. If you recall, Abraham sent his servant to get a wife for Issac from his people – Day 10. Mind you, though, if Esau is as “wild” as the Bible describes him, he might not have listened to Issac and Rebekah in the first place. Or Issac spoiled Esau as a favourite son and gave him the choice…. I am speculating here….

Rebekah “overheard” Issac’s comment to Esau. How many time do we “overhear” and take actions based on such overheard comments and got into troubles? I will not say anything further on that point, since I can picture all of you groaning wherever you read this comment!

I find humorous how Jacob was more concerned with the fact that he might get caught his deceit, rather than the fact that his action was wrong — “I would appear to be tricking him” Are you kidding? You tricked him, not just appearance of it!

Then, here comes the ultimate parent’s comment — “let the curse fall on me” instead. Keeping your children from receiving fair/just consequences of their action does not allow your children to grow, not to mention that you teach your children that it is ok to shift the blame to someone. Bad call, Rebekah!

Issac, who could not see, had some doubt about the identification, but he leaned on his own understanding and made a judgment call on his own without relying upon God – Issac asked verbally for confirmation, he touched Jacob for second confirmation, he smelled Jacob for third confirmation and he made his blessing upon Jacob. With his doubt, he never asked God if this was Esau….

“The Lord your God gave me success” — (1) Jacob used the name of God in scheming his way — the fourth commandment of Ten Commandment being “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord you God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name” (Ex 20:7). Jacob used the name of Lord to lie to his father, Issac. (2) he said “the Lord your God”, instead of “the Lord my God”. Your relationship with God must be personal and it is not “inherited” by blood!

Did you know that birthright and blessing are two different things? I did not notice until Esau said “He has deceived me these two times: He took my birthright, and now he’s taken my blessing”. Anyone noticed?

Did you note how Issac and Rebekah distanced themselves from each other’s favourite son? Issac calls Esau “my son”, but calls Jacob “your brother” to Esau. Rebekah calls Jacob “my son”, but called Esau “your brother”.

Esau did not take the situation any better than Jacob — his marriages to the Hittites create a grief upon his parents; he made threats to Jacob; he married a Canaanite woman because Issac said otherwise. During our lives, we encounter many circumstances that are not so favourable to ourselves – darkness, discouragement, despair, failure, etc., but that does not mean that we should react the way Esau did because we already have the Light in our lives to fight off such darkness.

Finally, the Lord comes to Jacob to affirm his covenant with Abraham and Issac – “Your descendents 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. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you” God made this covenant to Jacob. How does Jacob react to this? He makes a bargain! “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my fathers’ house, then the Lord will be my God”. Did you note that how small Jacob was thinking? He only asks for food to eat, clothes to wear so that I return safely to my fathers’ house, when God promised him that “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring”! As a final touch, Jacob wraps up his bargain by stating “of all that you give me I will give you a tenth” — Wow! God gives you 100% and you promised to give him back 10% – how gracious! God just promised Jacob all people get blessed by him and his offspring and Jacob returned it by “I will give you 10% of what you give me”. I don’t know what kind of bargain is this, but it certainly does not sound a good one for God. However, God did not make any bargain with us, but he covenants with us or he promises us, without expectation of us returning anything equal to what he promises to us (as if we got anything to equal to what he gives us)! He promises, he carries out his promises, whether we return the same back to him — this is not a contractual relationship, but a covenantal relationship! How lucky we are in his love and protection!

So if you have accepted God as yours as Jacob eventually did in the Bible, have you carried out the promise of 10% to God today?

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