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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

November 21, 2014

Acting on our own (Part 2)

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

When Rebekah, Isaac's wife, was pregnant with her twins Esau and Jacob, God told 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).

When the time came many years later for the birthright to be passed on, it seemed obvious to Isaac that Esau should receive the blessing. But God's purpose was to give the younger son – Jacob – the birthright blessing. 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 and deceived Isaac.

And God allowed it, and so Jacob received the birthright blessing, via deception.

How did Esau react to what his brother had done?

"So Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father blessed him, and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then I will kill my brother Jacob" (Genesis 27:41).

Jacob had to flee from his brother Esau, living many years far away with his uncle Laban. There he was treated in a similar fashion to the way he had treated his own brother.

God allowed Jacob to deceive his father to receive the birthright blessing, but he had to bear the burden of the negative result of his actions.

The story is much the same in Abraham's case. We all know how Abraham, acting on a suggestion made by his wife, tried to fulfill God's promise of a son on his own with the maid Hagar.

What was the result of his actions? Strife and alienation in his own family, finally leading to the "banishment" of that son, Ishmael, along with his mother Hagar.

Acting on our own to "help" God fulfill His promises to us, and in so doing compromising with His way of life, causes problems. Instead of taking matters into our own hands, we should heed to admonition of king David: "Wait on the Lord, and keep His way, and He shall exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, you shall see it" (Psalm 37:34).

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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