“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life,” Galatians 6:7-8, NASB.
In Genesis 27:6-29, God’s Word tells a story of deceit, covetousness and theft by a man who would one day wrestle with God and live to tell about it (Genesis 32:24-30). In this account, we can see a blind father and trusting husband callously betrayed by his wife and youngest son and, at the same time, the eldest son cheated by his mother and brother. The story starts out with Isaac, who is old, blind and discerning his mortality, instructing his eldest son, Esau, to go and prepare Isaac’s favorite food for Isaac to eat before Isaac dies and before he blesses Esau.
However, Isaac’s wife, Rebekah, overheard her husband’s conversation with her son, Esau, and decided to work against her husband’s plan in favor of her preferred son, Jacob. So, while Esau was out gathering and preparing his father’s food, according to his father’s wishes, Jacob was pretending to be Esau to his father in order to obtain his father’s blessing, according to the crooked plan of his mother. One cannot help but read this part of God’s Word and feel great sorrow for Isaac and Esau and, at the same time, disappointment and shame for Rebekah and Jacob.
In the end the mother’s plan succeeded, or did it?
Over the years, I have heard many brush over the clear violations of God’s Law by Rebekah and Jacob in this tale in favor of the man Jacob who would become Israel. Such justification would seem easy to do, since we all love and benefit from Israel, the man who Jacob became, and because it is not stated that God acted in order to bring about punishment against the deeds of Rebekah and Jacob (i.e., justice). Yet events rather quickly turn against both Rebekah and Jacob in a way that clearly points to the receipt of their consequences for violating God’s sovereign Law.
For example, Jacob had to flee for fear of his life, causing the loss of the presence of his mother’s favorite son from her life (Genesis 27:41-45) for at least twenty years (Genesis 31:38,41). Also, while he was away, Jacob was himself deceived by his future father-in-law, Laban, who effectively cheated him out of seven years of labor (Genesis 29:20-27). Later, Jacob’s favorite wife, Rachel, deceived her father, Laban, and Jacob by stealing from her father (Genesis 31:19,34-35), which brought a curse upon her from her husband who did not realize that she was the recipient of the curse (Genesis 31:32), which possibly resulted in her untimely death (Genesis 35:16-20).
Beyond that, Jacob (who was then Israel) later suffered deception from his own sons who sold his favorite son, Joseph, into slavery and told Israel that Joseph had died (Genesis 37:28-33). When Pharaoh asked Jacob about his life (Genesis 47:8), Jacob replied (Genesis 47:9), “…few and unpleasant have been the years of my life…”
Though God loved Jacob (Malachi 1:2) and confirmed the Abrahamic covenent with him (Genesis 28:12-15) and made him Israel (Genesis 32:28), Jacob still clearly bore the consequences for his violations of God’s Law. Thus, clearly and true to His Word, even in the case of Israel, God’s Law is impartial (Acts 10:34-35).
God’s Law is also conceptually very simple: (1) Love God with all of your heart, soul and mind, and (2) love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39). Yet in this “age of grace,” when some tickle the ears of others with myths about being able to disobey God’s Law with impunity (2 Timothy 4:3-4), perhaps it is time to take a lesson from the life of Jacob. Alternatively, consider the consequences of your own actions, which will probably not be written in the pages of a book but in loss and pain and suffering in your own life, when you violate the Commandments of God.
Now, imagine what might have been if Rebekah had trusted God’s Word (Genesis 25:23) and Jacob had loved his brother, obeying God over his mother. Also, consider what may become of our lives if we will obey God…
Have a great weekend.
God bless, and Shabbat shalom,
Darwin and Ani Airola