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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

November 7, 2014

Acting on our own (Part 1)

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

We all know how Abraham, acting on a suggestion made by his wife, tried to fulfill God's promise of a son with the maid Hagar. We find a similar example in the actions of Rebekah and Jacob, when the time came that Isaac wanted to bestow the birthright blessing on an heir.

"And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, Look, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth-skinned man. Perhaps my father will feel me, and I shall seem to be a deceiver to him; and I shall bring a curse on myself and not a blessing . . . and his mother made savory food, such as his father loved. Then Rebekah took the choice clothes of her elder son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son. And she put the skins of the kids of the goats on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck" (Genesis 27:11-12, 14-16).

Isaac, Rebekah und their sons Jacob and Esau were human beings with strengths and weaknesses, just we all are. And in this family relationship we should remember that the parents each had a favorite child:

"Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field; but Jacob was a mild man, dwelling in tents. And Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob" (Genesis 25:27-28).

When the time came for the birthright to be passed on, it was obvious to Isaac that Esau should receive the blessing. After all, he was the firstborn son, and Isaac preferred him and his characteristics. But Rebekah wanted her favorite child, Jacob, to receive the birthright blessing. Perhaps she remembered God's prediction at the time she was pregnant with the twins: "The Lord said to her: Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body;
one people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger" (Genesis 25:23).

God's purpose was to give the younger son – Jacob – the birthright blessing, in the manner of God's choosing. Would God not have been capable of intervening and preventing Isaac from blessing his son Esau? Surely He could have done that, but He never had the chance, because Rebekah and Jacob acted on their own.

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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