Read GENESIS 27:41—28:9

41 Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.”

42 When Rebekah was told what her older son Esau had said, she sent for her younger son Jacob and said to him, “Your brother Esau is planning to avenge himself by killing you. 43 Now then, my son, do what I say: Flee at once to my brother Laban in Harran. 44 Stay with him for a while until your brother’s fury subsides. 45 When your brother is no longer angry with you and forgets what you did to him, I’ll send word for you to come back from there. Why should I lose both of you in one day?”

46 Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I’m disgusted with living because of these Hittite women. If Jacob takes a wife from among the women of this land, from Hittite women like these, my life will not be worth living.”

28 So Isaac called for Jacob and blessed him. Then he commanded him: “Do not marry a Canaanite woman. 2 Go at once to Paddan Aram, to the house of your mother’s father Bethuel. Take a wife for yourself there, from among the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother. 3 May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples. 4 May he give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham, so that you may take possession of the land where you now reside as a foreigner, the land God gave to Abraham.” 5 Then Isaac sent Jacob on his way, and he went to Paddan Aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, who was the mother of Jacob and Esau.

6 Now Esau learned that Isaac had blessed Jacob and had sent him to Paddan Aram to take a wife from there, and that when he blessed him he commanded him, “Do not marry a Canaanite woman,” 7 and that Jacob had obeyed his father and mother and had gone to Paddan Aram. 8 Esau then realized how displeasing the Canaanite women were to his father Isaac; 9 so he went to Ishmael and married Mahalath, the sister of Nebaioth and daughter of Ishmael son of Abraham, in addition to the wives he already had.

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Meditate

Consider

By God’s grace, a poor beginning can be redeemed so as to lead to a good ending.

Think Further

Today Jacob is in the frame. Rebekah may be the chief actor, but from this point Jacob becomes the central character in the Genesis narrative, the next key player in carrying forward God’s purpose for the world revealed to Abraham (see John 8:56).

From the beginning, things were difficult. Jacob has a weak father, a dominant mother and a resentful twin brother. He is caught up in the favoritism that is polarizing his parents, so perhaps it’s hardly surprising that when opportunity knocks he steals his brother’s birthright (Gen. 25:29–34). He then becomes the willing accomplice of his mother in outwitting his blind, bedridden father. Jacob questions the feasibility of Rebekah’s plan, but not its morality (27:11,12). To make matters worse, he doesn’t hesitate to resort to blasphemy (27:20). Clearly a nasty piece of work! Yet, amazingly, God has a plan for this bent man’s life! For all his glaring flaws, Jacob—unlike Esau—is ready to accept, however immaturely, the responsibilities of the covenant. He and his mother successfully frustrate Isaac’s unholy intention. Isaac was determined to reverse God’s purpose revealed in the oracle of 25:23, but in the end, he implicitly acknowledges that Rebekah and Jacob are right, for he refuses to recall the blessing (27:37) and reiterates the benediction on Jacob in indisputably Abrahamic terms (28:3,4).

Sadly, Jacob is not alone in using questionable means to further God’s purposes. If God sometimes allows such inconsistencies, it is surely to demonstrate his grace as the ultimate ground of salvation. Many of us have to confess that we too sometimes attempt to serve God with tainted motives and misapplied intentions. Let us today seek repentance and renewal through a fresh experience of God’s covenantal love and mercy, just as Jacob is shortly to do at Bethel (Gen. 28:10–22).

Apply

Read again the last sentence in the above paragraph. Apply the directive to your life.