January 11, 2021

The Ends Justify the Means—Right?

Genesis 26–30

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God's Promise to Isaac

Now there was a famine in the land, besides the former famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Gerar to Abimelech king of the Philistines. And the LORD appeared to...

God's Promise to Isaac

Now there was a famine in the land, besides the former famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Gerar to Abimelech king of the Philistines. And the LORD appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; dwell in the land of which I shall tell you. Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father. I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.”

Isaac and Abimelech

So Isaac settled in Gerar. When the men of the place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” for he feared to say, “My wife,” thinking, “lest the men of the place should kill me because of Rebekah,” because she was attractive in appearance. When he had been there a long time, Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out of a window and saw Isaac laughing with 1 Rebekah his wife. So Abimelech called Isaac and said, “Behold, she is your wife. How then could you say, ‘She is my sister’?” Isaac said to him, “Because I thought, ‘Lest I die because of her.’” 10 Abimelech said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.” 11 So Abimelech warned all the people, saying, “Whoever touches this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.”

12 And Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. The LORD blessed him, 13 and the man became rich, and gained more and more until he became very wealthy. 14 He had possessions of flocks and herds and many servants, so that the Philistines envied him. 15 (Now the Philistines had stopped and filled with earth all the wells that his father's servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father.) 16 And Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we.”

17 So Isaac departed from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar and settled there. 18 And Isaac dug again the wells of water that had been dug in the days of Abraham his father, which the Philistines had stopped after the death of Abraham. And he gave them the names that his father had given them. 19 But when Isaac's servants dug in the valley and found there a well of spring water, 20 the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac's herdsmen, saying, “The water is ours.” So he called the name of the well Esek, 2 because they contended with him. 21 Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over that also, so he called its name Sitnah. 3 22 And he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name Rehoboth, 4 saying, “For now the LORD has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.”

23 From there he went up to Beersheba. 24 And the LORD appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of Abraham your father. Fear not, for I am with you and will bless you and multiply your offspring for my servant Abraham's sake.” 25 So he built an altar there and called upon the name of the LORD and pitched his tent there. And there Isaac's servants dug a well.

26 When Abimelech went to him from Gerar with Ahuzzath his adviser and Phicol the commander of his army, 27 Isaac said to them, “Why have you come to me, seeing that you hate me and have sent me away from you?” 28 They said, “We see plainly that the LORD has been with you. So we said, let there be a sworn pact between us, between you and us, and let us make a covenant with you, 29 that you will do us no harm, just as we have not touched you and have done to you nothing but good and have sent you away in peace. You are now the blessed of the LORD.” 30 So he made them a feast, and they ate and drank. 31 In the morning they rose early and exchanged oaths. And Isaac sent them on their way, and they departed from him in peace. 32 That same day Isaac's servants came and told him about the well that they had dug and said to him, “We have found water.” 33 He called it Shibah; 5 therefore the name of the city is Beersheba to this day.

34 When Esau was forty years old, he took Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite to be his wife, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite, 35 and they made life bitter 6 for Isaac and Rebekah.

Isaac Blesses Jacob

When Isaac was old and his eyes were dim so that he could not see, he called Esau his older son and said to him, “My son”; and he answered, “Here I am.” He said, “Behold, I am old; I do not know the day of my death. Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me, and prepare for me delicious food, such as I love, and bring it to me so that I may eat, that my soul may bless you before I die.”

Now Rebekah was listening when Isaac spoke to his son Esau. So when Esau went to the field to hunt for game and bring it, Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “I heard your father speak to your brother Esau, ‘Bring me game and prepare for me delicious food, that I may eat it and bless you before the LORD before I die.’ Now therefore, my son, obey my voice as I command you. Go to the flock and bring me two good young goats, so that I may prepare from them delicious food for your father, such as he loves. 10 And you shall bring it to your father to eat, so that he may bless you before he dies.” 11 But Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, “Behold, my brother Esau is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man. 12 Perhaps my father will feel me, and I shall seem to be mocking him and bring a curse upon myself and not a blessing.” 13 His mother said to him, “Let your curse be on me, my son; only obey my voice, and go, bring them to me.”

14 So he went and took them and brought them to his mother, and his mother prepared delicious food, such as his father loved. 15 Then Rebekah took the best garments of Esau her older son, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son. 16 And the skins of the young goats she put on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck. 17 And she put the delicious food and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob.

18 So he went in to his father and said, “My father.” And he said, “Here I am. Who are you, my son?” 19 Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me; now sit up and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me.” 20 But Isaac said to his son, “How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son?” He answered, “Because the LORD your God granted me success.” 21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come near, that I may feel you, my son, to know whether you are really my son Esau or not.” 22 So Jacob went near to Isaac his father, who felt him and said, “The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” 23 And he did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau's hands. So he blessed him. 24 He said, “Are you really my son Esau?” He answered, “I am.” 25 Then he said, “Bring it near to me, that I may eat of my son's game and bless you.” So he brought it near to him, and he ate; and he brought him wine, and he drank.

26 Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come near and kiss me, my son.” 27 So he came near and kissed him. And Isaac smelled the smell of his garments and blessed him and said,

“See, the smell of my son
    is as the smell of a field that the LORD has blessed!
28  May God give you of the dew of heaven
    and of the fatness of the earth
    and plenty of grain and wine.
29  Let peoples serve you,
    and nations bow down to you.
Be lord over your brothers,
    and may your mother's sons bow down to you.
Cursed be everyone who curses you,
    and blessed be everyone who blesses you!”

30 As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, when Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, Esau his brother came in from his hunting. 31 He also prepared delicious food and brought it to his father. And he said to his father, “Let my father arise and eat of his son's game, that you may bless me.” 32 His father Isaac said to him, “Who are you?” He answered, “I am your son, your firstborn, Esau.” 33 Then Isaac trembled very violently and said, “Who was it then that hunted game and brought it to me, and I ate it all before you came, and I have blessed him? Yes, and he shall be blessed.” 34 As soon as Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry and said to his father, “Bless me, even me also, O my father!” 35 But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully, and he has taken away your blessing.” 36 Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob? 7 For he has cheated me these two times. He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing.” Then he said, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?” 37 Isaac answered and said to Esau, “Behold, I have made him lord over you, and all his brothers I have given to him for servants, and with grain and wine I have sustained him. What then can I do for you, my son?” 38 Esau said to his father, “Have you but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father.” And Esau lifted up his voice and wept.

39 Then Isaac his father answered and said to him:

“Behold, away from 8 the fatness of the earth shall your dwelling be,
    and away from 9 the dew of heaven on high.
40  By your sword you shall live,
    and you shall serve your brother;
but when you grow restless
    you shall break his yoke from your neck.”

41 Now Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him, and Esau said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are approaching; then I will kill my brother Jacob.” 42 But the words of Esau her older son were told to Rebekah. So she sent and called Jacob her younger son and said to him, “Behold, your brother Esau comforts himself about you by planning to kill you. 43 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice. Arise, flee to Laban my brother in Haran 44 and stay with him a while, until your brother's fury turns away— 45 until your brother's anger turns away from you, and he forgets what you have done to him. Then I will send and bring you from there. Why should I be bereft of you both in one day?”

46 Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I loathe my life because of the Hittite women. 10 If Jacob marries one of the Hittite women like these, one of the women of the land, what good will my life be to me?”

Jacob Sent to Laban

Then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and directed him, “You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women. Arise, go to Paddan-aram to the house of Bethuel your mother's father, and take as your wife from there one of the daughters of Laban your mother's brother. God Almighty 11 bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. May he give the blessing of Abraham to you and to your offspring with you, that you may take possession of the land of your sojournings that God gave to Abraham!” Thus Isaac sent Jacob away. And he went to Paddan-aram, to Laban, the son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob's and Esau's mother.

Esau Marries an Ishmaelite

Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Paddan-aram to take a wife from there, and that as he blessed him he directed him, “You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women,” and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and gone to Paddan-aram. So when Esau saw that the Canaanite women did not please Isaac his father, Esau went to Ishmael and took as his wife, besides the wives he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham's son, the sister of Nebaioth.

Jacob's Dream

10 Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. 12 And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder 12 set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! 13 And behold, the LORD stood above it 13 and said, “I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. 14 Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” 16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”

18 So early in the morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. 19 He called the name of that place Bethel, 14 but the name of the city was Luz at the first. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, 21 so that I come again to my father's house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God, 22 and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God's house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.”

Jacob Marries Leah and Rachel

Then Jacob went on his journey and came to the land of the people of the east. As he looked, he saw a well in the field, and behold, three flocks of sheep lying beside it, for out of that well the flocks were watered. The stone on the well's mouth was large, and when all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone from the mouth of the well and water the sheep, and put the stone back in its place over the mouth of the well.

Jacob said to them, “My brothers, where do you come from?” They said, “We are from Haran.” He said to them, “Do you know Laban the son of Nahor?” They said, “We know him.” He said to them, “Is it well with him?” They said, “It is well; and see, Rachel his daughter is coming with the sheep!” He said, “Behold, it is still high day; it is not time for the livestock to be gathered together. Water the sheep and go, pasture them.” But they said, “We cannot until all the flocks are gathered together and the stone is rolled from the mouth of the well; then we water the sheep.”

While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep, for she was a shepherdess. 10 Now as soon as Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, Jacob came near and rolled the stone from the well's mouth and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother. 11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel and wept aloud. 12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's kinsman, and that he was Rebekah's son, and she ran and told her father.

13 As soon as Laban heard the news about Jacob, his sister's son, he ran to meet him and embraced him and kissed him and brought him to his house. Jacob told Laban all these things, 14 and Laban said to him, “Surely you are my bone and my flesh!” And he stayed with him a month.

15 Then Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my kinsman, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?” 16 Now Laban had two daughters. The name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 Leah's eyes were weak, 15 but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. 18 Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.” 19 Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.” 20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.

21 Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife that I may go in to her, for my time is completed.” 22 So Laban gathered together all the people of the place and made a feast. 23 But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and he went in to her. 24 (Laban gave 16 his female servant Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her servant.) 25 And in the morning, behold, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?” 26 Laban said, “It is not so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. 27 Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.” 28 Jacob did so, and completed her week. Then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. 29 (Laban gave his female servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel to be her servant.) 30 So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah, and served Laban for another seven years.

Jacob's Children

31 When the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. 32 And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben, 17 for she said, “Because the LORD has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.” 33 She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the LORD has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon. 18 34 Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi. 19 35 And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise the LORD.” Therefore she called his name Judah. 20 Then she ceased bearing.

When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!” Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” Then she said, “Here is my servant Bilhah; go in to her, so that she may give birth on my behalf, 21 that even I may have children 22 through her.” So she gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob went in to her. And Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. Then Rachel said, “God has judged me, and has also heard my voice and given me a son.” Therefore she called his name Dan. 23 Rachel's servant Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. Then Rachel said, “With mighty wrestlings 24 I have wrestled with my sister and have prevailed.” So she called his name Naphtali. 25

When Leah saw that she had ceased bearing children, she took her servant Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10 Then Leah's servant Zilpah bore Jacob a son. 11 And Leah said, “Good fortune has come!” so she called his name Gad. 26 12 Leah's servant Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. 13 And Leah said, “Happy am I! For women have called me happy.” So she called his name Asher. 27

14 In the days of wheat harvest Reuben went and found mandrakes in the field and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son's mandrakes.” 15 But she said to her, “Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son's mandrakes also?” Rachel said, “Then he may lie with you tonight in exchange for your son's mandrakes.” 16 When Jacob came from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must come in to me, for I have hired you with my son's mandrakes.” So he lay with her that night. 17 And God listened to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18 Leah said, “God has given me my wages because I gave my servant to my husband.” So she called his name Issachar. 28

19 And Leah conceived again, and she bore Jacob a sixth son. 20 Then Leah said, “God has endowed me with a good endowment; now my husband will honor me, because I have borne him six sons.” So she called his name Zebulun. 29 21 Afterward she bore a daughter and called her name Dinah.

22 Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb. 23 She conceived and bore a son and said, “God has taken away my reproach.” 24 And she called his name Joseph, 30 saying, “May the LORD add to me another son!”

Jacob's Prosperity

25 As soon as Rachel had borne Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away, that I may go to my own home and country. 26 Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, that I may go, for you know the service that I have given you.” 27 But Laban said to him, “If I have found favor in your sight, I have learned by divination that 31 the LORD has blessed me because of you. 28 Name your wages, and I will give it.” 29 Jacob said to him, “You yourself know how I have served you, and how your livestock has fared with me. 30 For you had little before I came, and it has increased abundantly, and the LORD has blessed you wherever I turned. But now when shall I provide for my own household also?” 31 He said, “What shall I give you?” Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything. If you will do this for me, I will again pasture your flock and keep it: 32 let me pass through all your flock today, removing from it every speckled and spotted sheep and every black lamb, and the spotted and speckled among the goats, and they shall be my wages. 33 So my honesty will answer for me later, when you come to look into my wages with you. Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats and black among the lambs, if found with me, shall be counted stolen.” 34 Laban said, “Good! Let it be as you have said.” 35 But that day Laban removed the male goats that were striped and spotted, and all the female goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white on it, and every lamb that was black, and put them in the charge of his sons. 36 And he set a distance of three days' journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob pastured the rest of Laban's flock.

37 Then Jacob took fresh sticks of poplar and almond and plane trees, and peeled white streaks in them, exposing the white of the sticks. 38 He set the sticks that he had peeled in front of the flocks in the troughs, that is, the watering places, where the flocks came to drink. And since they bred when they came to drink, 39 the flocks bred in front of the sticks and so the flocks brought forth striped, speckled, and spotted. 40 And Jacob separated the lambs and set the faces of the flocks toward the striped and all the black in the flock of Laban. He put his own droves apart and did not put them with Laban's flock. 41 Whenever the stronger of the flock were breeding, Jacob would lay the sticks in the troughs before the eyes of the flock, that they might breed among the sticks, 42 but for the feebler of the flock he would not lay them there. So the feebler would be Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's. 43 Thus the man increased greatly and had large flocks, female servants and male servants, and camels and donkeys.


[1] 26:8 Hebrew may suggest an intimate relationship
[2] 26:20 Esek means contention
[3] 26:21 Sitnah means enmity
[4] 26:22 Rehoboth means broad places, or room
[5] 26:33 Shibah sounds like the Hebrew for oath
[6] 26:35 Hebrew they were bitterness of spirit
[7] 27:36 Jacob means He takes by the heel, or He cheats
[8] 27:39 Or Behold, of
[9] 27:39 Or and of
[10] 27:46 Hebrew daughters of Heth
[11] 28:3 Hebrew El Shaddai
[12] 28:12 Or a flight of steps
[13] 28:13 Or beside him
[14] 28:19 Bethel means the house of God
[15] 29:17 Or soft
[16] 29:24 Or had given; also verse 29
[17] 29:32 Reuben means See, a son
[18] 29:33 Simeon sounds like the Hebrew for heard
[19] 29:34 Levi sounds like the Hebrew for attached
[20] 29:35 Judah sounds like the Hebrew for praise
[21] 30:3 Hebrew on my knees
[22] 30:3 Hebrew be built up, which sounds like the Hebrew for children
[23] 30:6 Dan sounds like the Hebrew for judged
[24] 30:8 Hebrew With wrestlings of God
[25] 30:8 Naphtali sounds like the Hebrew for wrestling
[26] 30:11 Gad sounds like the Hebrew for good fortune
[27] 30:13 Asher sounds like the Hebrew for happy
[28] 30:18 Issachar sounds like the Hebrew for wages, or hire
[29] 30:20 Zebulun sounds like the Hebrew for honor
[30] 30:24 Joseph means May he add, and sounds like the Hebrew for taken away
[31] 30:27 Or have become rich and

The Ends Justify the Means—Right?

Key Verse | Genesis 27:19

Jacob said to his father, "I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me; now sit up and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me."



Bio | Rick Black

Good morning, Journeyers! I'm Rick Black, husband to the honorable and esteemed Jill Black for 21 years and dad of two exceptional young men: Jake and Duke.  

In keeping with today's passage, below are two lies and one truth. Can you tell which of these is true?

  • I've never eaten a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
  • I've never sent an emoji.
  • I've never told a "dad joke."

You might see me around Watermark serving at OYM or Summit, so please ask me about this absurd list.    

Central Truth

God is in complete control of His universe. Sin for the sake of God's blessing is still sin. But let us never wrongly assume God cannot use our mistakes to contribute to His glory and our good in the end.

Devotional | Genesis 26–30

Genesis is so awesome—such history, fascinating characters, wild stories, dysfunctional families, and godly instruction.  

Out of today's passages, let's zoom in on chapter 27 and Isaac's...

Genesis is so awesome—such history, fascinating characters, wild stories, dysfunctional families, and godly instruction.  

Out of today's passages, let's zoom in on chapter 27 and Isaac's family, his wife Rebekah, and two sons Esau and Jacob. A few words that come to mind here are betrayal, conspiracy, secrecy, and deceit.

Jacob has already taken away Esau's birthright (Genesis 25:29-34), and now he and his mother have devised a scheme to trick Isaac into giving Jacob his blessing, instead of it going to the firstborn son Esau. Despite all of the sin that plays out within this family, God's plan of redemption was perfectly accomplished, just as God had told Rebekah in Genesis 25:23.

What are we to make of this passage and the use of deceit in God's redemptive plan?

Answer: Man's sin can never frustrate the will of God, but God can sovereignly use man's sin to accomplish His purposes.

We are called to faithfully imitate Christ's love for us and avoid deceptive behavior in our relationships with one another. The deception that occurs in this passage is sinful, even if the claim is that these actions are to achieve God's plan and His blessing.

The sins of Isaac, Esau, Rebekah, and Jacob did not stop God's will from being done. In fact, their sins were employed by God in such a way to accomplish His will. God's sovereignty is never disrupted by man's sin.

This does not mean that God makes man sin in order to achieve His purposes. The sins of each person in this chapter are not glossed over or excused. If they had acted in obedience, God would have used some other means to bring about the blessing of Jacob instead of Esau. While God "causes all things to work together for good" (Romans 8:28), He does not create evil in order to bring resulting good. We are responsible for our sin, not God. He allows it and He uses it, but He does not necessitate it.

See Comments

Discussion Questions

1. The truth in the bio above is that I actually do tell dad jokes all the time, but I've never had a PB&J sandwich or sent anyone an emoji.

2. Do you sometimes rationalize that the ends justify the means? How can you better seek God's will in those situations?

3. What does it look like in your life to fully trust in God's plans?

4. Curious to understand the dynamic between Jacob and Esau a bit more? Check out this Real Truth Real Quick: Why Does the Bible Say, "Jacob I Loved and Esau I Hated?"

13 Comments available

Michael Scaman 5 months ago

Q4. Malachi is showing how the hand of God, choosing Jacob from the womb, choosing him before he did anything good or bad makes all the difference in their history.

All the ‘i chose you in the womb’ cases all suggest some type of predestination since the one chosen didn’t do anything to merit being chosen.

Isaiah considered it a big deal and a source of comfort for Israel. Isaiah 44:2 Isaiah 44:24

Scott Self 5 months ago

Great devo today, Rick.

The following line is particularly insightful:

“Man’s sin can never frustrate the will of God, but God can sovereignly use man’s sin to accomplish His purposes.”

Truths like these can be difficult for us to process. Yet another reminder that His ways are (infinitely) higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Linda Green 5 months ago

Thanks, Rick, for pointing us heavenward in this big ugly family mess. Gives me hope in our messed up world (and in me) to remember God achieves His good ends in spite of sinful humanity.

Loved this Tim Keller message on Jacob, Rachel, and Leah- wow (thinking of all the emojis https://duckduckgo.com/?q=tim+keller+message+about+Jacob&t=iphone&kp=1&iax=videos&ia=videos&iai=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D83Kv3bj3TM4

Lindsey Driscoll 5 months ago

Rick, great devo about Gods sovereignty! It’s great to see a fellow OYM leader on the journey as well! Q2- I kept journaling this morning where Rebekah, and Jacob tried to control their circumstances by making something they wanted happen. It’s interesting to read Gods response, “My way is better.” I see parallels in sin struggles of control in my own life, and a lack of dependence on the Holy Spirit to move to execute Gods will.

Sue Bohlin 5 months ago

Rick, LOVED how you provided balance in God’s plan and man’s sin.

Dr. Constable’s notes quote someone as saying, “This was about one of the meanest pranks ever played on a man.” TRUE THAT!!

There was a strong streak of deception in this family.

“Jacob had pretended to be his older brother, and now Leah pretended to be her younger sister. Laban and Leah deceived Jacob as Jacob and Rebekah had deceived Isaac. . . . As Jacob had deceived Isaac by taking advantage of his inability to see due to poor eyesight, so Laban deceived Jacob by taking advantage of his inability to see in the dark tent. . . . For despicability, Laban takes the prize in the Old Testament.”

The words of Galatians 6:7 ring true: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a person sows, this he will also reap.”

Greg Jones 5 months ago

Isaac and Abimelek.

Connecting Abraham and Isaac to Abimelek and considering it a snap shot of early Israel’s history you see growth in character.

When Abimelek finds out Sarah is Abraham’s wife he returns her along with sheep,cattle,servants,and money. When it’s time to send out Hagar and Ishmael Abraham sends her into the dessert to die rather than Abimelek to live. When it was time for a treaty Abraham brings the sheep,cattle given by Abimelek and offspring of said as witness to well ownership. Beersheba.

God sees a need to test Abraham.

Instructed by the LORD Isaac lives in this land, not Egypt. Isaac becomes greater, wells are filled, Isaac is asked to leave. Isaac re-digs wells for others and moves away.

Abimelek asks for a new treaty. From his own hand Isaac throws a feast, Abimelek leaves in peace. That very day-a new well, the town is called, Beersheba.!?

Graham Shelby 5 months ago
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@Rick - thanks for this pointed reminder of truth today. I too was wrestling with that tension of God’s plan in/through man’s brokenness. With Jacob, it felt especially tough because if he were alive today, I think his personality would yield two results: major success in business (probably even a best selling author), and a ton of praise from people. I’m tempted to write it off his behavior, thinking “This guy is slick! He’s clearly got street smarts, is a heck of a negotiator, and just knows how to work the system. Who can fault him for that?!” The way my heart wants to celebrate deception and condemn other sin is so inconsistent! And yet God throughout the story is steady, consistent, unchanging, faithful.

Graham Shelby 5 months ago
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@Hugh - that’s so encouraging man! I knew the backstory of some of that, but didn’t realize how God brought that full circle with Forgotten Fathers. Incredible!

michael arellano 5 months ago

Awesome walk this morning as the journey continues. Question #3 provided great revelation this morning. Three months ago I detached from my parents due to breaking up with my girlfriend. The break up has been beyond difficult for me, and due to the break up I realize I suffer with codependency, narcissistic tendencies, and preoccupied attachment. With all this having been shared, I was having a hard time accepting that I had to detach from my parents, and after having watched the link under question #4, I realize I had made them a god. I will do my best from here on out to hold God above everyone and everything. God is teaching me that I am able to love people within healthy boundaries, and dismiss relationships that would ultimately set a barrier between God and I.

Michael Scaman 5 months ago

Esau sells his birthright for a bowl of stew and then there is a famine.

Coincidence? I think not.

Hope Harris 5 months ago

GM JTJ When what a reading today. Talk about messed up and dsyfunctional.

Within my human mind I am thinking, out of this mess God birthed a nation?

Jon Bloom states: "We are alienated — alienated from God and each other. So put alienated, selfish sinners together in a home, sharing possessions and the most intimate aspects of life, having different personalities and interests, and a disparate distribution of power, abilities, and opportunities, and you have a recipe for a sin-mess.

But there’s a deeper purpose at work in this mess. The Bible’s main theme is God’s gracious plan to redeem needy sinners."

God specializes in redeeming messes. I am grateful He has redeemed me aa relationally broken woman.

Hugh Stephenson 5 months ago

However, (you knew that was coming), there was still a black hole in my heart that had not totally healed; our abortion in February 1982. 34 years of torment over that sin. It was a cloud that still hovered over me.

That spring I got an email from friend John Elmore that invited me to lunch. It was at that lunch at Pei Wei that he asked me to co-lead the re-start of Forgotten Father’s – the men’s abortion recovery ministry. Amazing!! This is what God had planned for me all along!!

Not only did that meeting lead to finally embracing the full atonement of Jesus for my sin of abortion it also led to dozens of conversations with other men over the last 4 /12 years that have helped them and blessed me.

God is good, sovereign and enough.

Hugh Stephenson 5 months ago

GM Rick! GREAT Central Truth.

One large element of my faith journey has been to more fully understand the complete and total sovereignty of God. Complete. Total. Every single tiny detail.

The redemption of 55 years of sin began 9/30/12 when Amy and I first came to Watermark. Every single time I round the curve on Park Central and see the building I have flashbacks.

By the spring of 2016 I embraced three cycles through re:gen and seven cycles through the Prodigal ministry. I was wondering what was next. Learning more of who God is and what it means to be made in His image had lit a fire under me that still burns ever brightly.

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