Sunday, March 15, 2015

From Genesis to Now: Jacob Flees

 Dear Christa—

It doesn’t really appear that Jacob was concerned with God. He seemed to be far more focused on duping his brother and acquiring the inheritance of his father. But, as actions always have a way of catching up to people, he eventually found himself alone—far from his conniving mother’s advice and protection—fleeing the disappointment of a father and the anger of a brother.

Perhaps for the first time, Jacob had to grow up. It appears he’d gone quickly—before Esau found out he was leaving.

Now, it was night—dark, desolate—no city lights for comfort and assurance. Just the perfect place to find God—or for God to find him.

Note that God does not claim to be his God at this moment. He tells Jacob, “I am the LORD,” the God of your father and grandfather. He promises Jacob the land and the inheritance—for it was truly only God’s to give in the first place. Who but God controls our future? He promises to stay with Jacob and foreshadows becoming Jacob’s God as well.

When Jacob awoke, he was a changed man. Neither proud nor self-seeking, he was simply afraid (Gen. 28:16). If Jacob had never taken God seriously before, he certainly does now. He worships there and makes a vow—a commitment to God—that if God only watches over him and brings him safely home, God will be his God too—far less than what God had just promised him.

Though Jacob’s words have the impression of a condition, from this point forward we see Jacob’s growing dependence on God. Perhaps that’s always true of a real encounter with God—a shift from depending on our own control to a reliance on God’s eyes to watch over us and never to leave us. And, to bring us safely home.

—the parishioner who doesn’t do anything

Sunday, March 8, 2015


Dear Christa—
From Genesis to Now
Isaac, and Ishmael apparently learned (if not to live together) to live tolerably in spite of their mothers, probably due to their father Abraham. For Ishmael had not been sent away, as had Abraham’s other sons. And when Abraham died, together Isaac and Ishmael buried their father in the cave he had bought in which to bury Sarah, as told in Genesis 25:9-10. It appears there was still familial connection between the two clans, for as we look at Esau in Genesis 28:6-9, he realizes how displeasing his wives were to his father, so he goes to Ishmael and arranges to marry his daughter. 

A couple of things standout in these verses: Jacob obeyed his parents, and Esau realized his wives displeased his father.

God is sovereign, and he has his reasons for everything, but sometimes I think Esau just didn’t get it. He didn’t get the whole thing about God and how important he is. If he had, would he have flippantly sold his birthright to his sneaky brother for a bowl of soup?
But, whether because of his own selfishness or because Isaac didn’t make much of it, it appears Esau only comes to realize that the wives he’d taken displeased his father after Jacob is sent away and obeyed.

Esau doesn’t appear to be close to his mother, but he did want to please Isaac. Maybe knowing he was Isaac’s favorite had made them both careless. Maybe he felt he didn’t need to worry about God because of his father’s love. The Bible doesn’t say, but his actions tell us he did want to please Isaac—so much so that he went to Isaac’s half brother, Ishmael, and married his daughter.

There are so many unknowns about this story of Esau, except that he really did want to please his father. But, somehow he seems to have missed the most important thing of all: Isaac worshiped the one true God. That should be our greatest desire, and the thing our children notice most about us. If my children had to say what is the most important thing to me, would they say “God”? I’m not sure they would.