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December 23, 2015

DEVOTIONAL – DEC 24

by Leslie John

THE POTTER’S CHOICE

 Leslie M. John

“And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob”. (Genesis 25:28)

Interestingly here, partiality was shown by Rebekah. The father loved to bless Esau the eldest son but the mother loved Jacob the younger son. It was God’s plan that Jacob should be blessed over Esau. (Romans 9:7) God said in Isaac shall Abraham’s seed will be blessed. Jacob was blessed and his name was called “Israel”.

God called the children of Israel as His own people and He called Himself as the God of Israel. God bestowed undeserved blessings upon Jacob and administered justice and judgments on Esau.

“As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated”. (Romans 9:13) Hated here in this context simply means God disliked.

“For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion”. (Romans 9:15)

“Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?” (Romans 9:21)

If we closely look at Esau’s character we do not find that he deserved blessings. When Esau was tired after his work in the field he saw Jacob at home with good food. Esau requested Jacob to feed him with that food that appeared to him attractive and red in color.

Jacob took undue advantage of the needy Esau and asked him if he could sell on that day Esau’ birthright. One’s birthright and position in the family is very important but Esau did not realize about it and he ridiculed of his position in the family.

Esau, being tired and hungry, said to Jacob that he was at the point of death and, therefore, his birthright does not matter to him anything. He saw no profit of being elder to Jacob. But Jacob realized that being elder was important in the sight of God. Jacob asked Esau to swear to him and sell his birthright. Esau swore and sold his birthright for a morsel. Esau despised his birthright. (Genesis 25:30-34)

The writer of Hebrews makes a mention of this unwise and impudent act on the part of Esau in a very shrewd way. Hebrews 12:16-17 read “Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears”.

One more lesson to learn here is that gluttony is not a sin by itself but it brings forth sin. The children of Israel tempted God by asking them meat for their lust and God gave them quails (Numbers 11: 31-33, Psalm 78:18 & 105:40). But meat did not do any good to them over “Manna” that God gave to them.

Isaac, in his natural desire wanted to bless Esau the eldest son, (perhaps not knowing that Esau lost birthright to Isaac’s younger son, Jacob). He said to Esau to hurry up and get him savory meat of deer or similar animal that he may satisfy his natural hunger, and bless him before he dies. What followed according to God’s purpose was that Rebekah heard Isaac and sent Jacob with the food that pleased Isaac and got him blessed (cf. Gen.25:34). God’s purpose was already revealed earlier…

“And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger” (Genesis 25:23)”

Rebekah already knew from the words of the LORD that there were two nations in her womb and that the elder shall serve the younger; however, the role she played in showing partiality to her younger son Jacob, by her own volition, instead of God fulfilling His purpose according to His will, is seen as her crooked way of getting the things done hastily.

Rebekah was characteristic of her brother Laban, who much later cheated Jacob. Bible does not record the death of Rebekah. Nevertheless, Rebekah was gentle and humble chosen one for Isaac. The marriage of Rebekah with Isaac was according to God’s will. She responds to Eliezer perfectly by providing water not only to him but also to his camels.

“Drink, and I’ll water your camels too”—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac (Genesis 24:14)”.

Even though her way of achieving blessings were crooked, yet her zeal to get Jacob blessed and taking upon herself the risk of curse, in case her plot failed, and her solutions to unite Esau and Jacob after twenty one years of their separation are seen as positive aspects of her life.

“And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau thy firstborn; I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me” (Genesis 27:19)

Jacob, in order to get subtly the blessings of Abrahamic Covenant lied to his father, not once but repeatedly, well trained by his mother, Rebekah. Of course, Rebekah had many positive aspects in her life as a good wife to Jacob, but her plot to get Jacob blessed was crooked.

Likewise, Jacob lied saying “I am Esau thy firstborn”. If only he said he was the firstborn, he would have been right because he bought the birthright from Esau. Secondly, he said; “I have done according as thou badest me”; that was another lie, and thirdly, he said “eat of my venison”, this was also a lie. Jacob’s ardent desire was to get the blessings “thy soul may bless me”.

Jacob did not go unchastised for his lies. He served his father-in-law for twenty one years; he lived in fear of Esau all his life, and not to forget, even Jesus had to stand in humility before Herod, who was an Edomite, descendant of Esau.

Isaac, having been unable to distinguish trepidations of Jacob, says to him to bring the food that he thought Esau prepared for him. Isaac understood the voice to be that of Jacob but he felt the hands as that of Esau, and therefore, he poses a definite question asking Jacob “Art thou my very son Esau?” and Jacob lies saying “I am”. (Genesis 27:24)”

Even though Rebekah was within hearing distance, she ignored Isaac’s call for food from Esau, but concedes Jacob to serve the food that she prepared. Thus Rebekah and Jacob deceive Isaac; and Jacob secures blessings from his father. God’s plan, even though not detailed, would not have been in the way Rebekah and Jacob planned to deceive Isaac and wrench blessings.

This is not to blame anyone but the Word of God presents factual as it is for our reproof and correction.

”All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (2 Timothy 3:16)”. Apostle Paul writes no one is perfect.

“And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Philippians 3:9)”

 “And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father” (Genesis 27:34)

There are few mistakes which prove to be very costly. One such mistake was of Esau that could not be reversed. He gave his birthright to his younger brother for a tasty meal. Esau came from the field after a laborious work and desired to have a tasty meal; a sod pottage!

Jacob, cunning as he was, took undue advantage of his elder brother’s hunger and weakness and made a meal that Esau relished and tempted him to have it provided he sold his birthright. Not realizing the importance of birthright Esau sold his birthright and lost unimaginable blessings to his younger brother Jacob. Let us be careful what we are doing! Are we selling heavenly blessings for earthly blessings?”,

“And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept. (Genesis 27:38)”,

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