A few years later, Jacob shafted Esau again, this time with the help of their mother. I don’t want to rush through this. Jacob not only took advantage of Esau, he also took advantage of their old invalid father. He and his mother concocted a plan to deceive the almost blind, bedridden Isaac. In so doing, Jacob received the blessing that was intended for Esau, the first-born.
When I was a police officer I often had the opportunity to talk to elderly parents whose drug addicted children have robbed them blind. They make excuses for them and covered for them and often refused to press charges. Jacob’s deception of his father is definately in that category.
Jacob flees to his uncle’s house to let things at home cool off. His brother’s words, “I am going to kill you!” are ringing in his ears. Jacob’s journey is the stuff of Sunday School fame. I remember the teacher getting the flannel graph out and showing Jacob heading to Laban’s house. The teacher kind of glossed over why he was going there. The teacher would then show how poor Jacob had to use a rock for a pillow when he stopped to rest for the night. She would then put a ladder on the flannel graph with a very effeminate looking angel at the top. The teacher talked about how God appeared to Jacob in a dream and renewed the covenant with him that He had made with Jacob’s father and grandfather, Abraham.
When I started reading this story for myself, however, I found that it really disturbed me. Why was God doing anything for Jacob? Why was God making these incredible promises to him? What a horrible person Jacob was! When I would hear sermons on this passage, it was usually to show the importance of the Church as the House of God. Jacob named the place where he had his vision as Bethel- The House or Dwelling Place of God. This did not make me feel any better. God had revealed Himself to Jacob and blessed him after what he had done to his brother and father. God made some incredible promises to him and did not ask for anything in return. Jacob, on the other hand, placed several conditions on God. What was I missing here?
My “breakthrough” with Jacob came the day that I was reading this again and felt the Holy Spirit say to me, “Are you that different from Jacob?”
My first tendancy was to say, “Of course I am different from him.”
Instead, though, as I began to meditate on God’s grace and the story of Jacob, I began to realize that I really am not that different. I may not have done the things that he has done, but I have a closet or basement full of the things that I am ashamed of. God’s grace is not a New Testament concept. God’s grace has been poured out from the beginning of time. God’s grace is given not because of how good we are but how good He is!
To be continued…
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