Reading Through The Bible in 2011, Part 9
What I Read: Genesis 25:19-28:22
What Stood Out: Genesis 27.
Random Thoughts About What I Read:
Make no mistake: My dad was a very good dad.
He loved to hunt, especially quail and deer. He loved to fish, both at our family’s cabin on the river as well as deep sea fishing at the Gulf of Mexico. He had little use for the formalities of our highly liturgical church services. In fact, one day he somehow convinced my mom to let me skip church to go to the local “par 3” golf course near our house. We were walking along and he told me it’s easier for him to be with God outside on the golf course than with all the stained glass and incense.
I tried to hunt both quail and deer. We went once to each and never went back.
I tried fishing both the river and the Gulf. His excursions were with his friends after that.
He gave up those pursuits to teach me to hit a golf ball, a baseball, shoot free throws, and (later) help me with hockey goalie drills. He gave me his time for the 13 years he was with me on this earth…and I had an extremely good childhood.
But there were some things that, looking back, I think frustrated him.
I loved to read. I mean, *loved* to read.
I loved to write. I mean, *loved* to write.
I loved music. I mean, *loved* music.
One time I got to bring a trombone home that the band director at the middle school loaned to prospective incoming students. When my dad heard me wailing away on it, he shuttled me outside very quickly for a quick game of H-O-R-S-E…followed by the inevitable one-on-one in which he would establish the male pecking-order in our household. We rough-housed and laughed a lot.
It wasn’t until after he died and a teacher decided to dedicate herself to me being a good writer in my senior English class that I was started coming into myself a little bit more.
To be sure, I enjoy sports. But over the years I’ve also come to appreciate reading and writing and music and art, too. It was during my university years that kind of stuff became as equally rewarding as my sports endeavors.
So, I can see why Isaac enjoyed Esau. They were probably a great deal alike. Outdoorsy. Loved a good, hearty meal. Probably shot bows and arrows together. Learned the finer points of the hunt together. Skinned and prepped the animals together.
All the while Jacob’s hanging out with mom as much as possible in the tents. Probably talked a lot about what they were reading. Probably talked a lot about what he was writing. Probably talked a lot about music.
For 40 years this goes on.
For 40 years Jacob probably showed a lot more spiritual interest in the Covenant than Esau did. He probably told his mom about the incident with the stew…how Esau showed so little regard for the plan of God that he’d trade it for one meal. This probably didn’t sit well with Rebekah–who, oh, by the way–was told by God that the older would serve the younger in chapter 25.
And, and Isaac was on his deathbed asking for his favorite meal from the son he identified with, Rebekah very likely was worried that her husband was going to give the birthright and the blessing to the son that wasn’t supposed to get it. You don’t think a mom is going to carry around promises of God she very distinctly heard? (I’m convinced Mary carried angel’s words in her ears even watching her son die on the cross)
So, she sets a plan in action: Trick the blind, dying man into blessing the younger son.
And it’s mildly elaborate. Animal hair for touch. Using clothes that had been on the hunt. The food. I’m pretty sure Isaac was suspicious, too. Nonetheless, Jacob gets the blessing.
Esau is torn up, too. Vows to kill his brother after his father dies. That’s pretty serious. I mean, I might’ve torched my sister’s stuffed animal one time because she wouldn’t get off the phone but I never wanted to kill her.
Rebekah had to send her youngest son on the run because of it, too. She knew that if Esau killed Jacob, the next living male relative would have to vow to kill Esau. Her household is now in chaos…
…all because she chose to get ahead of God.
To his credit, Isaac didn’t go through any legal maneuvers to reverse his blessing. He might’ve realized that this what was supposed to happen, anyway–even after 40 years of relating to his oldest son. He might’ve just been too tired. The text doesn’t say. But what we do know is that he allowed the birthright to stay with Jacob.
What we don’t know is what would’ve happened if Rebekah had left well-enough alone. Maybe Esau would’ve been unhappy with the original blessing, too, and said something along the lines of, “Dad, just give me the money and let Jacob have the Covenant stuff.” Maybe Isaac would’ve simply felt the leading of God all along and done something unique when Esau got back. Maybe an angel would’ve intervened at the last moment and reminded Isaac about Genesis 25. Maybe Rebekah could’ve whispered in her husband’s ear about how she remembered Genesis 25…and maybe he would’ve listened to her and simply worked something out with the brothers.
But for whatever reason, Rebekah tried to manipulate the situation–no matter how noble (and I’m being somewhat presumptive here) her desire for the birthright to get to Jacob. She didn’t trust God to do what God was going to do anyway. She tried to do God’s work for Him to do it the way that looked best to her.
We do that…
…in that deal where we want God to work something out in our jobs.
…in watching our children struggle in school or identity or both or more.
…in our marriages.
…in our advice we give our friends about their jobs and children and marriages.
…in our schoolwork.
…in that deal where our friend is sick.
…in that deal where money is tight.
…in that deal where life is crumbing all around us.
Instead of simply praying, following how the Holy Spirit leads, and trusting that God will work in His way–
in His time…
…we try to manipulate the situation to work out the way WE think is best.
And it always causes chaos. Murderous feelings. Runaway kids. Strained relationships.
Maybe not to that degree.
But chaos nonetheless.
And I’m asking myself today, “What am I not truly trusting God to work out in His time and His way, and trying to manipulate the situation to fix it the way I think it should be fixed?”
And there are two big ones. No, I won’t share them here.
(Tomorrow’s reading: Genesis 29-32)