What does it say?
Before Esau and Jacob were born, God promised the covenant line would be through Jacob (25:23). Rather than believe this promise, Jacob stole Esau’s birthright (25:29-34). Now (Gen 27), with the help of his mother, deceives his brother a second time, robbing him of dying Isaac’s final blessing. This family’s dysfunction results in Jacob fleeing to his mother’s family to seek a wife with the blessing of his father (28:1-5).
Esau’s two Canaanite wives (26:34-35) were already a source of conflict in the family. Now (28:8-9), he marries yet another Canaanite. Clearly not his best life decision! Headed toward Haran, Jacob has an encounter with God, and changes the name of the village from Luz (light) to Bethel (House of God).
Jacob becomes infatuated with Rachel, daughter of his uncle Laban (Gen 29). He agrees to serve Laban seven years to marry Rachel. Jacob discovers that the lady beside him in bed the morning after his wedding is not Rachel, but her sister Leah. Laban turns out to be a bigger con artist than Jacob, making him serve another seven years for Rachel. Rachel is barren, but Leah gives Jacob four sons.
What does it mean?
God appears to Jacob as he flees the land of promise, confirming that the promise to Abraham is now his. God will abundantly bless Jacob in order to bless the other families of the earth. Personalities, places and circumstances change and the people God chooses continue to have flaws; yet God’s plan for the nations threads everything together.
Jacob and Laban struggle to outfox each other, but God still works through this spiritual shallowness by giving Jacob 12 sons that will become the 12 tribes of Israel. They, too, will be blessed to be God’s blessing to the families of the earth.
God accomplishes his mission with or without our faith and obedience. Yet we suffer the consequences of all our decisions, good and bad. Jacob will spend the better part of his life trying to make happen what God already provided before he was born. Sound familiar?
How will I respond?
Is there something I fight to accomplish that perhaps God has already provided? Do I try to make things happen, rather than trust God’s promises? Though God’s mission doesn’t depend upon my faith and obedience, my individual fulfillment does. The purpose of my life obviously has something to do with God’s mission. I am blessed to be a blessing. What one thing can I do today to express my faith and obedience instead of trying to manipulate circumstances and others?