Friday, January 28, 2011

Genesis: Chapter 28

It is interesting to me that Esau and Jacob both exhibited obedience in these last two chapters.  Sadly, my obedience is more often like Esau's...self-directed and self-defined.  Esau shows a desire to please his father by seeking a wife from among his Uncle's descendants but he evidences no regard for God's plan (or even enough teachability to inquire of his father about the wisdom of his actions).   Esau's focus was his plans--his way of winning his father's favor.  He showed no wisdom, understanding or even desire to know more than his own 'will.'  As his father's blessing from the last chapter indicated, Esau ate from the fat of the land--and it is far less fulfilling than eating at the Lord's banquet!

Although Jacob's obedience was at least partially motivated by the fact that he was running for his life, it was also painful submission to his parent's instruction. The blessing Isaac gave as he sent Jacob off shows that Isaac clearly recognized Jacob as the recipient of God's blessing.  Jacob was now going to be instructed by God...and we will see his character transform and a nation born (Israel)!  Lonely and fearful, Jacob reached an end of himself--and end of all he had known--and that end is the door to seeing God.  In the years that would pass before he returned to his father's home, Jacob would learn much more about himself and God.  The bargainer in him would be cleansed by his uncle...and he would return to Beth-el to worship  the faithfulness of God!

Finally, just a note of the most awesome thing in this chapter: the introduction of Christ as the way to God. The ladder at the end of the chapter is revealed by Christ to be Himself in John 1:51; Jesus is the way to God and there is no other.   I am struck as I read the repetition of God's promises (first to Abraham, then to Isaac and here to Jacob) that part of His blessing is the privilege of blessing others.  Jesus, descended from Jacob's line, brings blessing to all who come to Him.  As believers that is part of our heritage too; if we will seek God's way, Jesus Christ, we will bring blessing to the lives of others. 

Finally, from the example of Esau and Jacob, I see that 'productive' obedience will be based on the plans and purposes of God. Sincerely seeking to be a blessing may mean sacrificing some of my own desires and even leaving my comfort zones. It definitely means I will place a higher priority on God's purposes than on my opinions.  I see, too, that God's faithful presence is guaranteed through Jesus Christ!

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