When was the last time you watched a soap opera? If you are a fan, you probably relish in the scheming and plotting against each other. Every episode is filled with these stories. They never end. Sadly, real-life can be that way too. Today’s reading of Genesis 27 is a prime example. Everyone in the story plays a role. What’s really amazing to me is that they are supposed to be faithful. I mean, they are in the Bible. Shouldn’t they be our role models? Consider the actions of each character.
- Rebecca – encourages her son to lie. She conjures up a scheme that will give him the birthright reserved for the firstborn son, Esau.
- Jacob – tricks his father into giving him the first-born blessing
- Isaac – really? He has the voice of Jacob but he feels like Esau? Does that work? Nobody is that stupid. I wonder if he didn’t know exactly what was going on – – in fact, Isaac knew, had been told, that Jacob was the chosen one
- Esau – seemingly innocent but don’t forget that a few chapters ago, he signed everything over to Jacob.
As I read and re-read this passage, I fail to see what we are supposed to learn. The conclusion of the chapter leaves the family in shambles. Isaac dies, Esau wants to kill Jacob and Jacob flees for his life. Just like a soap opera, right? This, clearly, is the result of their deception. Their sin. None of the family put God first. No member exhibited the faith or behaved according to God’s will.
In my search for something redemptive with this story, I found one thing. It ends. The lies, the drama, and the hate. They stop. How? We don’t get much insight into that until Genesis 32. In short, Jacob finally has it out with God and emerges with a new understanding of who he is. Jacob develops faith. The result? Jacob and Esau reunite. Peacefully.
I wonder how their stories would have changed if they had followed God sooner. What if Rebecca would have reassured Jacob that God would honor his promises? What if Jacob refused to win by deception and called upon God instead? What if Esau responded with the Love of God instead of hate?
Maybe the hardest part of this story is seeing where we are trying to deceive in our own lives. Let’s ask God to reveal those things to us. Our challenge is to surrender them to God and, by faith, give him room to work. He promises not to fail us. In fact, he promises that we will prevail.