Reading: Genesis 26:34-28:9
Here is another extracts from The Glory of the Story, my father’s devotional introduction to biblical theology in the form of 366 daily readings which show how the Old Testament story is fulfilled in Christ. The Glory of the Story is available as a Kindle book for $2.99 from amazon.com and £1.99 from amazon.co.uk. I’m posting extracts from the chaper on the story of Jacob, usually on the first Monday of the month.
This is a gripping story – high in drama, but low in morality. When the tension subsides it is clear that all four characters are flawed.
Isaac shows favouritism to Esau, but gives him no guidance concerning marriage. In preparing to bless Esau he is openly ignoring God’s birth-oracle (25:23).
Esau shows a total disregard for the covenant promises by marrying outside the covenant community (26:34-35).
Rebekah, like Sarah before her, could not wait for God to fulfil his word and resorts to guile to make sure of her own way.
Jacob eventually goes along with his mother’s deceitful scheme and lies to his father.
As a result of their sin and folly all are adversely affected.
Isaac is left with an embittered son and numerous Canaanite daughters-in-law (28:6-9).
Esau and his descendants Edom are given the freedom of the profane – to live unblessed and untamed (27:39-40).
Rebekah never sees her beloved Jacob again or her grandchildren by him.
Jacob gets a life-long dose of his own medicine. First he is deceived on his wedding night when his uncle Laban substitutes Leah for Rachel (Gen. 29:21-30). Then, like his mother, he spends his later years mourning a favoured child (Joseph) taken from him by the deception of his own sons (Gen. 37:31-35).
But the central figure in the story is God himself, and the greatest drama is the interplay of the divine and human wills. Significantly, no comment is made on the morality of the characters. All are in the wrong, but God’s purpose comes to pass in spite of what everyone does either to sabotage or help it.
Isaac’s word concerning Jacob ‘indeed he will be blessed!’ (27:33), expresses more than a mere belief that God’s word must come to pass. He knows that he has been fighting against God and accepts defeat, a recognition confirmed in his later blessing of Jacob (28:3-4; cf. Num. 23:19-20). Just as the blessing of Abraham came to Isaac, so it must come to Jacob. Such is the mystery of God’s dealings with humanity that, while people freely do their own thing, he sovereignly works out his own purpose.
The interplay of God’s will and human sin is vividly seen in the story of Joseph (Gen. 50:20), but supremely in the cross of Jesus (Acts 2:23). Let us bow in adoring wonder.