A Matter of Choice
Father God, I’m grateful for Your holy Word. Help me to understand it without distortion, and obey it without timidity.
Read GENESIS 27:41-28:9
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Sow a thought, reap an act. Sow an act, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny” (unknown).
Being the recipient of the birthright and the blessing did not result in a trouble-free life for Jacob. He probably experienced more conflict as the chosen one than if he had simply remained the little-known head of a pastoral family. Being chosen by God can divide rather than unite. Sometimes this is because of the antagonism of others towards those who consider themselves chosen but, just as frequently, because of improper actions by the chosen individuals themselves.
Tension between Jacob and Esau will have long-term consequences. The relationship between the Israelites, the descendants of Jacob, and the Edomites, the descendants of Esau, would always be strained and mostly violent (e.g. 1 Kings 11:14-16). Centuries later the Edomites would be overrun by the Arabs and disappear like northern Israel, merging into the mix of peoples which would eventually become the Muslim world. Some Edomites ended up in Judea and were incorporated, by choice or force, into the Jewish people.
Jacob’s descendants, the children of Israel, fared no better in the end despite being God’s chosen people. The Scriptures make it abundantly clear that the successive destruction of the northern and southern kingdoms was because of the choices that the chosen people made: their desertion of the giver of the promise (Isa. 42:23-25). God’s blessing is not automatic. Sometimes Scripture makes clear the conditions for blessing (Deut. 30:15,16) and sometimes it does not (Gen. 12:2,3), but–written or unwritten–the “ifs and buts” are always there. People remain free to choose their own path and they or future generations will bear the consequences. God, as we have said, does not micromanage the future. Our choices matter. God’s purposes will finally prevail, but people’s choices can drastically affect what happens along the way.
Can you think of an occasion(s) when God used you in spite of (rather than because of) choices you made? Thank him for that.
Merciful God, I am such a complex person full of mixed emotions, a multiplicity of motives and muddled thinking. May Your Word lead me in all my choices and directions.
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