Playing little gods

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Genesis 27 – Lessons on God’s sovereignty when a dysfunctional and deceptive family play God….

After God revealed His sovereign choice of Jacob, what were the physical & spiritual priorities of Isaac, Rebekah, Esau & Jacob?

What do their actions reveal about their attitude towards God, His sovereign will and righteous ways?

These are two of several guide questions in our BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) lesson this week from Genesis 27.

“They were playing god.” This was my group member’s 1st sentence – her short and wise answer to these two questions.

Isaac’s physical priority was his last will or wish before his “impending” death. He wanted to have a good meal with his favorite son. His spiritual priority was to ‘bless’ Esau even though he was not God’s choice. Isaac blessed Jacob even though he had doubts. He asked 3x (vv. 20-24) to assure himself that it was really Esau. He wanted to eat his favorite dish and bless his favored son quickly.

Rebekah’s priority was to override her husband’s intentions so her favorite son would get the blessing. She wanted to help God along – to speed things up for Jacob to get the blessing even though God told her that the younger would serve the older. She convinced Jacob to lie: Let the curse fall on me. (v.13)

Esau’s priority was to be blessed – even if leftover blessing. He seemed to have forgotten that he ‘despised’ his birthright to satisfy his hunger. “What good is my birthright if I am to die of hunger?!” (25:32, 34) He begged: Haven’t you reserved any blessing for me? (27:36)

Jacob’s priority was that he would not be caught cheating/lying and bring down a curse on himself instead of the blessing he wanted (vv. 11-12). He wanted to be blessed even after he stole his brother’s birthright. He lied 3x (vv. 19,20,24). He even included God in his lies. (v. 20)

Their attitudes revealed their selfishness, their impatience, their disregard and disrespect for their sovereign God. They thought they could play little gods. They thought they could override God’s plan and purpose.

Ultimately, God’s plans and purpose still prevailed in the midst of their sinful choices and actions. Isaac’s and Rebekah’s choices to play favorites ultimately brought them pain – to let Jacob go somewhere far to hide from Esau’s wrath. Jacob’s choice to lie ended in fear of and feud with his brother. In God’s sovereignty, by His grace and mercy, Jacob was indeed the younger who ruled over the older (even though he was faulty).

How often did my impatience bring me more grief and pain than if I had waited on God’s time and followed His ways?

In his sovereignty, by his grace and mercy, God works out all things for good to those who love him and are called to his purpose (Rom 8:28). Again and again, I experienced God’s working out all things (good and bad, even though my love for him is not perfect, even through my bad choices), so that his plan for me prevailed. What is that plan? That I will become more and more like Jesus (8:29) so that in me, God will be glorified (8:30).

Dear Sovereign Lord, thank you for your grace and mercy that nothing I can do will increase or decrease your love for me. Thank you for the assurance that your perfect plan can never be thwarted. Let me always remember that even when I make bad choices, I can come to you in humble repentance, where your wrath & mercy meet. By your grace, I can be restored because you have called me for your purpose – which always prevails. Amen.

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