Sometimes when reading the bible you come across a passage that seems to be little more than just a history lesson. This is one of those passages: The story of Jacob and Esau, and how Jacob cheated Esau out of the blessing his father intended for him. However the Bible was not intended to be a history book, at least not in the conventional sense, instead it tells the story of the working out of God’s redemptive plan for the universe, focussed on man, the crown of creation. So when you come across a passage like this, the question is: How does God interact with people, and they with Him?” The problem here is that God hardly gets any mention at all. He is mentioned in a lie Jacob tells in v20, and in Isaac’s blessing for Jacob, in v7, v27-29, and even there He is only referred to and seemingly not actively involved. So in order to see how He is involved in this story we need to look at the wider context.
Two chapters earlier we read about the birth of Esau and Jacob. Genesis 25:23:
And the Lord said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.”
This was the promise (or prophesy) that God spoke to Rebecca about her children, and I think it is safe to presume that Isaac knew about this as well. If we take that into account we start to see how chapter 27 tells us about man’s interaction with God, or rather, their lack of interaction. The focus of both Isaac and Rebecca is on themselves and their children, and not on God, the result is that God is reduced to merely the executor of man’s desire, and that is never going to end well. Both Isaac and Rebecca knew the promise of God over their children’s lives, yet both of them go about it the wrong way. Isaac decides to ignore it (though in the first few verses of chapter 28 he seems to have remembered again), while Rebecca holds on to it, but feels she has to bring it about herself. Both attitudes are equally wrong, and lead to division, strife, hatred, and separation.
So how do we need to go about God’s promises and prophecies over our lives? Though not mentioned in this chapter, always test what people speak over your life, and file it into one of three categories: ‘Yes’, ‘Maybe’, or ‘No’.
- No’s are things contrary to God’s word
- Maybe’s are things you aren’t sure about or just don’t know what to do with. Make a note of those and wait for God to confirm them.
- Yes’s are things you accept as God’s promise for you life
There is some duality about trusting God to fulfil His promises, and Isaac and Rebecca erred on both sides of this. On the one hand you don’t just sit back and wait for God to do it all, on the other hand you don’t go and try to fulfil the promise yourself. The basic rule is that you prepare where you can, but you don’t try to make the promise happen. The minimum preparation would be to stay intimate with God, but it could involve other things, things to learn or to do. For instance when God spoke to us about fostering, we actually had to go and apply to be a foster family, while at the same time trusting God to lead us through the process, to bring along the right children at the right time, and to enable us to be the best foster family for the children placed in our care. You could argue we did all that ourselves, however as it was done in relationship with, and dependence on Him, I would argue that this was preparing ourselves as well as we could, while still relying on Him to fulfil his promises.
Relationship and motivation are key in these situations. They need to be, as just because it is God’s promise for you life, that does not mean it will be easy. Look at Mary, the mother of Jesus. She had a great promise spoken over her life, and saw it fulfilled. Was it easy? I don’t think so, she had to travel heavily pregnant to Bethlehem, had to flee to Egypt, was branded for the rest of her life as having an illegitimate child, etc, etc. Often His promises lead us into storms we did not expect or anticipate, does that mean we got it wrong? Probably not, but only an intimate relationship with Him will keep us on the right course.
>You may have promises spoken over your life, either by someone in prophecy, by God in your quiet times, or otherwise. If you don’t, ask Him what He has for you, because everyone has a role in the Kingdom of God. Once you have such a promise (or promises), don’t be an Isaac and ignore/forget them, nor be a Rebecca and try to force them into being. Prepare yourself where you can, and at the same time trust Him. Stay (or become) intimate with God, let him be the focus of your life, your guiding light, your rock in the storms in life. Passionately pursue Him, and you’ll find that the promise He has spoken is only the beginning of a Kingdom focussed life that is more fulfilling than you ever imagined.
Kingdom Life is exciting and fulfilling. God always has more for you. Pursue Him, and see Him fulfil his promises.