Posts Tagged ‘Genesis 27’

MAY GOD BLESS YOU THIS YEAR

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Genesis 27:38 – 28:4 – WHAT WILL YOUR LIFE ATTRACT THIS YEAR?

Growing up, I never really got to know my father. I knew that at Christmas I could give him a record of Engelbert Humperdinck (Yes, a record and yes, that was his name, or at least his stagename). He liked cars, cigarettes and I liked reading, the Beatles and Bob Dylan. He was a tough man who worked hard for a living and went to the pub after work with his mates. I was a recluse who liked to hibernate in my room to paint, invent and write bad poetry. Having so little in common, I consequently learned nothing from him, (not even how to smoke, curse or drink). It might have been different if I had made an effort, and taken the initiative, but that was the farthest thing from my mind. I didn’t like him or want to be around him. Perhaps I was feeling the generational curse of a dysfunctional family rather than any sense of wanting to receive his blessing. I don’t remember him taking an active part in even giving gifts at Christmas. I guess Jacob felt a similar kind of estrangement from his Dad and affinity with his Mum.

But Esau had a good relationship with his Dad and wanted his blessing, any blessing, although it had already been given to Jacob. Genesis 27:39 (NLT) says “Finally, his father, Isaac, said to him, “You will live away from the richness of the earth, and away from the dew of the heaven above.” You will live in a desert! What does he mean by this blessing? “Away from the richness of the earth and dew of heaven…”? Not a good way to start blessing your son. Sounds more like a curse. What kind of blessing will your life attract this year?

Where Esau lives will be a reflection of the state of his heart. Esau’s descendents inhabited Idumea, a desert in comparison with where Jacob settled. Malachi 1:2-5 (NLT) is an indictment upon Esau’s negative attitude to God. Among other things the Lord says of Esau’s descendents “… Their country will be known as ‘The Land of Wickedness,’ and their people will be called ‘The People with Whom the Lord Is Forever Angry.’…”

In Genesis 27:40 (NLT) Isaac reflects his sons destiny and says “You will live by your sword, and you will serve your brother. But when you decide to break free, you will shake his yoke from your neck.”” These are fighting words. This is a blessing with a mean streak. Esau attracts the kind of blessing for Vikings and the vanquished, villains and the violent, not what you would expect for a son! He was going to be a man of war when it comes to his brother. Esau had the nature of a warrior. He would hunt and fight for his living.

Repentance might have attracted a very different blessing. It’s interesting that Esau took no responsibility for the loss of his birthright and blessing. It did not bring him to a place of confession, only anger, jealousy and hatred of his brother. He even seems keen for his father to die so he can get on with murdering his brother. Isaac, his father, virtually gave him permission to live by the sword and break free of Jacob.

Esau’s people took Mount Seir by force from the Horites. Continually at war with the descendents of Jacob, they chose every occasion to be in coalition with their enemies, but never succeeded in overthrowing their Jewish overlords. King David made the Edomites slaves but they eventually shook free of this yoke and assimilated into the Arab nations. Isaac’s prophetic blessing was thus realised. What kind of blessing will your life attract this year?

Jacob, no doubt to his relief, is about to leave home to live with his uncle Laban for the next 20 years, and Isaac gives part 2 of the blessing that God intended for the line of Jacob. It is in such contrast to that of Esau but reflects what is in Jacob’s heart. Jacob’s life, despite his shortcomings, attracts the blessing of God. Jacob has included God in his life and God has included him in the ancestral line of Christ Himself. Isaac says “May God Almighty bless you and give you many children. And may your descendants multiply and become many nations! May God pass on to you and your descendants the blessings He promised to Abraham. May you own this land where you are now living as a foreigner, for God gave this land to Abraham” (Genesis 28:1-4 NLT). Now that’s a blessing! What will your life attract this year?

May God articulate His vision and blessing over your life this year, to release your full potential as you trust in Christ. May He extend your territory and increase your fruitfulness and influence for Him. May He increase your love for Him and for others. May love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control be characteristics of your heart that overflow in your life. May He give you opportunities to honour Him and may you take them.

Julie and Ross Cochrane

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JUSTICE AND GRACE

JUSTICE AND GRACE

“Matthew and his friends were sliding down a Mammoth Mountain ski run on a foam pad at 3am, when he crashed into a lift tower and died. His makeshift sledge of yellow foam had been stolen from the legs of a lift tower on Stump Alley. The cushion is meant to protect skiers who hit the tower, and the tower Matthew ran into was the one from which he had created his sledge.” (The “Darwin Awards” 1998). In Genesis 27 each family member takes their own infamous ski run which causes untold damage to themselves.

There is a rhyme and rhythm to poetic justice. Job 4:8 (NLT) says “My experience shows that those who plant trouble and cultivate evil will harvest the same.” We reap what we sow. Deception’s voice has an echo. The dissonant chords of sin are often resolved by Poetic Justice. In Genesis 27, amazingly, the tangled web of deceptive words and actions serves to highlight God’s Prophetic Grace.

ISAAC targeted Jacob. The operation sought to take territory rightly belonging to Jacob and put it in control of Esau. His efforts to bypass God’s purposes brought about great damage in his own life, a form of Poetic Justice. He lost the respect of both his sons (Genesis 28:1-5). He lost the trust of his wife. His desire to bless Esau instead of Jacob led to Esau being hurt deeply by his unfulfilled promise.

REBEKAH targeted Isaac and Esau. Her covert operation was enacted with military precision but caused untold collateral damage to herself. She suffered the loss of her favourite son and the trust of her other son (Genesis 27:43-45). Intelligence reports alerted Rebekah on Esau’s intentions to kill Jacob. Her deception had put her boy in harm’s way, and she was forced to make contingency plans on the run. Jacob was now trapped behind enemy lines, and had to be evacuated (Genesis 27:46 – Genesis 28:1-5). She paid the price for all her deceptive tactics in Poetic Justice – she never saw him again. She died before he returned. No doubt she spent a lot of time in a foxhole seeking to avoid the bullets flying around her from her husband Isaac and son Esau who no doubt had lost all confidence and trust in her as an ally.

ESAU targeted Jacob. His covert plans with his father tried to change God’s purposes and it left him in conflict with his brother and severely wounded by his father and mother. The unintended rejection by his father wounded Esau (Genesis 28:6-9) and left him bitter and insecure. Instead of a blessing he received a curse. Esau’s only option was to live the rest of his life in survival mode amidst constant conflict as a mercenary in many unstable military situations. He would be captured (Genesis 27:39-40) and subjected to hardship but eventually escape.

JACOB targeted his father Isaac and brother Jacob. He impersonated his brother to gain his objective (Genesis 27:6-29) but this led to devastating damage to himself. He obtained only the hate of his brother, Esau. (Genesis 27:41). In this climate of instability Jacob would have lived in constant fear of being murdered by his own brother.

Fearing civil war in the family Isaac makes the decision to extract Jacob from danger, and move him to a more friendly environment with his uncle (Genesis 27:42 – Genesis 28:1-5). He suffered the separation from his family, living as a fugitive (Genesis 27:42). He never saw his mother again. Although his uncle gave him refuge Jacob was tricked into serving him for about twenty years. The damage was ongoing (Genesis 29:15-30; 37:1-35), years of reaping what he had sown. Poetic Justice. 

Despite all this, God’s purposes were achieved and the promise of Abraham (Prophetic Grace) was passed down through Jacob as God had originally intended. Deception always reaps a harvest of unexpected, unintentional suffering and pain, but God still has the desire and power to turn cursing to blessing. Romans 6:23 (NLT) says “For the wages of sin is death, (Poetic Justice) but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord (Prophetic Grace).

Romans 5:8-10 (NLT) says “But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” It seems our sin killed the One sent to save us from sin. The consequences of Poetic Justice are resolved by the covenant of Prophetic Grace when we believe in Christ. The choice is ours. 

Pastor Ross

Genesis 27:30-38 – WHAT ABOUT ME?

What About Me?

What About Me?

No presents were opened until my father-in-law came to the tree. He was the revered head of the family and it was his responsibility to cut the meat, say grace at meals, and hand out the presents on Christmas day. The anticipation for the kids was enormous. Everyone received a gift. The atmosphere of family was palpable.

To continue with the Christmas analogy, it’s as if Isaac decides that Esau would be the only one to receive a gift that year. It’s as if Esau says “I’ve been nice. I’ve prepared the Christmas dinner. Now give me my present, Santa.” In Genesis 27:31 (NLT) Esau’s approach to his father is self-interested and direct. “It’s Esau, your firstborn son. I’ve done as you told me. Here is the wild game. Now sit up and eat it so you can give me your blessing.”” 

Esau has already given away his birthright but he was desperate to receive his father’s blessing. As binding as a legal document, it will activate and bestow leadership, a double portion of the inheritance and spiritual responsibility upon his son. Financially the best Christmas present he could ask for.

Isaac says “Then who just served me wild game? I have already eaten it, and I blessed him just before you came. And yes, that blessing must stand!”” (Genesis 27:33 NLT). The question is rhetorical. Intuitively, both of them know who has received the blessing. Both of them know for whom it was intended, but when it dawns on Isaac that he has been tricked, he’s so shocked by the implications that he trembles uncontrollably. He can’t take back the blessing

It all makes sense to Isaac now. His suspicions have now been verified too late. “Your brother was here, and he tricked me. He has taken away your blessing”” (Genesis 27:35 NLT). It was never really Esau’s gift to have anyway. Esau is devastated. Genesis 27:34 (NLT) says “When Esau heard his father’s words, he let out a loud and bitter cry. “Oh my father, what about me? Bless me, too!” he begged.”

“What about me?” The cry of one who sold his birthright and forfeited the blessing that was passed down from Abraham. The cry of many who want God to answer their prayers but don’t want to come under His authority in any way. In Genesis 27:36 (NLT) Esau exclaims, “No wonder his name is Jacob, for now he has cheated me twice. First he took my rights as the firstborn, and now he has stolen my blessing. Oh, haven’t you saved even one blessing for me?” The “CHEAT” and the “VICTIM” (“Jacob” means “Cheat”. Who names their son “Cheat”??)

Isaac realises that the blessing he has given is fairly comprehensive. In Genesis 27:37 (NLT) Isaac says “I have made Jacob your master and have declared that all his brothers will be his servants. I have guaranteed him an abundance of grain and wine—what is left for me to give you, my son?”

That’s when the big man breaks down and cries. This was something he had really wanted from his father, even if he didn’t really include God in his life. Genesis 27:38 (NLT) says “Esau pleaded, “But do you have only one blessing? Oh my father, bless me, too!” Then Esau broke down and wept” (See Hebrews 12:14-17).

Like the rest of his family, Esau wants to divert or change God’s purposes. He wants God’s blessing but wants to do as he pleases. (Gal. 5:16-24). What stops Isaac from taking back this blessing when he discovers the deception? Why is this blessing not pronounced null and void? It seems that Isaac finally realises that his desire to bless Esau instead of Jacob is wrong (Genesis 27:33f). Abraham’s blessing is not withdrawn but endorsed.

It was wrong for Isaac to secretly seek to bless Esau with the blessing God intended for Jacob. It was wrong for Rebecca to seek to bring about God’s will by deceptive means. It was wrong for Jacob to seek to impersonate someone else and expect to be blessed. It is wrong for Esau to try to change God’s purposes. Let’s face it, we are all dysfunctional because of our sin, but God turns cursing to blessing. Fortunately Christ came to die for our sin. All of us have the opportunity to have peace with God and live under His promises. All of us have the opportunity today to receive forgiveness and the gift of eternal life this Christmas by believing in Christ. It’s interesting to think that God’s promises are offered in the midst of our sin to bring us forgiveness and reconciliation to God. The Abrahamic blessing is designed to bring a Saviour into the world through whom the world would be blessed. He was born into our dysfunctional world and we celebrate His birthday this Christmas. Happy Christmas!

Pastor Ross

Genesis 27:1-27 – RIGHT PRESENT, WRONG SON

TO ESAU?

To make a Christmas analogy, it was as if Isaac was wrapping up a Christmas present and giving it to the wrong family member. It was as if Rebekah was shoplifting to try to bless her son. It was as if Jacob was impersonating Santa Claus to be liked.

It is wrong for Isaac to secretly seek to bless Esau with the blessing God intends for Jacob. It is wrong for Rebecca to seek to bring about God’s will by deceptive means. It is wrong for Jacob to seek to impersonate someone else and expect to be blessed. Such mistakes will have serious consequences for this dysfunctional family in the future, but God still has a way of turning cursing to blessing.

If he was able to discern the voice of God Isaac would not forge ahead to bless Esau in the first place but now he blunders onto the set where he becomes the unknowing, though not innocent, performer in the first act of Jacob’s starring role as Esau. Although he is physically and spiritually blind, he suspects that he is not speaking with Esau, and he is left to initiate his own process of verification, based entirely upon his own reasoning and his other senses. Without God’s help all that is left is crude science.

QUESTIONS

Twice Isaac asks directly who it is. Jacob, prodded to deception by his mother, replies,“It’s Esau, your firstborn son. I’ve done as you told me. Here is the wild game. Now sit up and eat it so you can give me your blessing” (Genesis 27:19, 24 NLT).

REASONING

Not entirely convinced, Isaac asks, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?” Jacob is quick, “The Lord your God put it in my path!” (Genesis 27:20 NLT). Who can question the Lord? But Isaac is no fool. Perhaps he knows Esau would not give an answer that involves God. Esau seems to have left God out of his life. Why would he even mention God?

THE SENSES

Being blind he employs other available senses and says “Come closer so I can touch you and make sure that you really are Esau” (Genesis 27:21 NLT). Jacob comes closer to his father, and Isaac touches him. “The voice is Jacob’s, but the hands are Esau’s,” Isaac says (Genesis 27:22 NLT). Goat skin has been freshly stretched upon Jacob’s neck and arms. Isaac believes the hairy arms and hands of the goat deception, despite the dissonant chords of Jacob’s voice.

Over the meal, Isaac thinks of one more test. He says “Please come a little closer and kiss me, my son” (Genesis 27:26 NLT). So Jacob comes over and kisses his Dad. And when Isaac catches the smell of his clothes, he is finally convinced, and is willing to give his blessing. Isaac says, “Ah! The smell of my son is like the smell of the outdoors, which the Lord has blessed!” (Genesis 27:27 NLT). Jacob foresaw the need to wear Esau’s clothes (If Hugo Boss had been around he would have made a new men’s fragrance called “Fresh Air The smell of the great outdoors. Receive the Blessing” – expensive and deceptively alluring).

ANALYSIS

Jacob and Rebekah teach me that Deception cannot procure God’s spiritual blessings and purposes. Isaac teaches me that when I seek to defy God’s purposes then I am limited to my own resources, to my own reasoning and the senses. The senses will never plumb the depths of spiritual truth. The senses don’t make sense when faith and obedience are required.

God invites me to “…live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV). He wants me to (excuse the sensory analogy) hear His voice, smell the fragrance of His Presence, touch the Hem of His garment, taste the very bread of life, see with the eyes of faith, perceive and receive His blessings for my life and for my family this Christmas.

Pastor Ross

Genesis 27:5-17 – THE STING – HOW TO SHAPE YOUR DESTINY THROUGH DECEPTION

THE STING

My Mum always believed that a little white lie was always acceptable if it brought about the right end. Rebekah went all in for THE STING. Strictly speaking, Esau is her FIRST BORN SON, if only by a few seconds, and as such is entitled to certain privileges. A first-born son in Old Testament times is given the overall LEADERSHIP of the family, the SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY of the family as well as a DOUBLE PORTION of the inheritance. This is his BIRTHRIGHT. This is how it is always done. Or is it? If it’s up to Rebekah, it won’t be.

Romans 9:10-13 says “When Isaac married Rebekah, she gave birth to TWINS. But before they were born, before they had done anything good or bad, she received a message from God.” She was told, “Your older son will serve your younger son.” That had an impact on Rebekah then, and years later it still does.

THE SET-UP

Overhearing a conversation Isaac has with Esau, Rebekah discovers that Isaac intends to secretly give the family blessing to Esau NOT JACOB. Once given it will be binding and irrevocable. Family inheritance, family leadership, spiritual authority. BUT GOD PROMISED REBEKAH THIS WOULD GO TO JACOB!

THE HOOK

When life appears to be going pear-shaped for your children, don’t give up! Manipulate, deceive, badger and lie! If God won’t work things out immediately, do it yourself! At least this is Rebekah’s way of getting things done. Rebekah wants to work out the will of God on HER OWN TIMETABLE in Genesis 27.

There is always a Rebekah, who feels she is responsible, playing God, but in the most ungodly of ways. God said it, I believe it, BUT… Lacking faith in God’s ability to accomplish His promises, Rebekah has her own plan, a STING OPERATION on her blind husband. It’s a long-shot and poorly conceived, but she finds Jacob and gives him an opportunity to earn an Oscar. Not wanting Jacob to be the biggest loser and be by-passed for a leading role in life (Genesis 27:6-7), Rebekah tells Jacob that deception, trickery, fraud, dishonesty, lying and a sting operation is the only way left for her to fulfil the will of God! How twisted is this kind of thinking?

THE STING

She convinces Jacob to bring two of the young goats from the herd and she cooks them in the way Isaac likes. To complete the ruse, she finds some clothes belonging to Esau and puts them on Jacob. Since Esau is hairy, she glues goat skin to Jacob’s hands and neck (Genesis 27:16). She gives Jacob the meat and sends him in to play Esau and receive the blessing from his blind father. Simple. Who will ever know?

I can know God’s will and try to bring it about in the wrong way and in the wrong time. God doesn’t need me to lie and scheme in order to accomplish His purposes for my life. Do I really believe that unless I don’t act now it won’t happen and if I don’t do something God will bypass me? Is a deceptive means to a good ending justified? Is it really up to me to bring about God’s will in whatever way I please? I know I have to co-operate with God, but it seems to me Rebekah’s method is a bit sus.

God says “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT).

THE INVITATION God so patiently gives is for every one of us to believe Him and His promises. Like a father, He longs for relationship with us. He wants to include us in HIS plans, not the other way around. When I simply try to include Him in MY plans, I get it wrong and although He can turn cursing to blessing, He doesn’t condone my sin. Will my impatience with His timetable set into play a series of consequences that will inevitably shape my destiny in adverse ways? He gives every person the invitation and the opportunity to place their trust in Christ and come under His authority for their lives, and to co-operate with Him along the way. Only He knows the beginning from the end. He can shape my destiny based on integrity not a sting operation. He likes to write the end of the story with my co-operation not my interference.

Pastor Ross

Genesis 27:1-4 – DAY OF DESTINY – YOU ARE SO NOT INVITED!

Dear God, You are So NOT INVITED!

Can I really control my own destiny or is it predetermined for me? Can I frustrate fete or the plans of God or am I able to choose what I want for my life? What about Isaac and Rebekah? What about their sons, Esau and Jacob? I mean, none of them will admit to you that they are all trying to bypass and tamper with God’s will, but that’s what they are trying to do in Genesis 27. Can God’s will and purposes be thwarted? This story will be passed down for generations as an example of how the stubborn and hurried choices we make to determine our own future can go wrong, and how, despite our dogged desires, God is still able to accomplish His purposes.

Esau. Skilful with weapons. A sportsman/hunter. A man’s man. A Father’s favourite. Isaac loves his rugged outdoorsman son, Bear Grylls. Jacob, his other son, is a Mummy’s boy. That’s where all the trouble begins. Favouritism.

If Isaac had been reading his diary lately he would have been reminded that God told Rebekah “The sons in your womb will become two nations. From the very beginning, the two nations will be rivals. One nation will be stronger than the other; and your older son will serve your younger son” (Genesis 25:23). Jesus would eventually come from the line of Jacob, NOT Esau. He has spoken with Rebekah about this promise. Isaac knows that Jacob is supposed to receive the father’s blessing. Now he is intending to disregard God’s will. Is he blind? Well, as a matter-of-fact yes, totally (Genesis 27:1), but what I mean is he is making a big mistake!

A little further back in Isaac’s diary and we read that Esau isn’t interested in the family or in a relationship with God. Esau SOLD HIS BIRTHRIGHT to his brother for a pot of stew! (See Genesis 25:27-34 – Bear Grylls and Master Chef.) Irresponsible!, Perhaps he needs to go into the army for a season and learn a little discipline. He is definitely not suited for being CEO of the family business or leading his family spiritually. More suited to taking tourists on Safari. He doesn’t appear to have a spiritual bone in his body.

Isaac is not stupid. He knows the will of God, and he still wants to do things his own way. Hebrews 3:12 (NLT) says “Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God.” Now totally blind and well over 100 years old, Isaac thinks he’s going to die soon (Genesis 27:2. Understandable (How could he know he would live 40 years more – Genesis 35:28-29)!

He decides to act quickly and covertly to give Esau, not Jacob, the family blessing. Instead of killing one of the flock and celebrating a feast with family and friends, he asks Esau to go out and kill some game and prepare that instead. Then he would bless him and bestow leadership, inheritance and the spiritual responsibility upon him.

But how absent of celebration this blessing will be. How empty and devoid of congratulations! This is like a 21st birthday party without a cake and a mother’s kiss! Without music and laughter! Isaac acts in secret. He calls only Esau (Genesis 27:1)! He chooses a substitute feast and a secret celebration. No personal cost. As if God doesn’t notice! In Jeremiah 16:17 (NIV) God says “My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from Me, nor is their sin concealed from My eyes.”

Esau does not believe in God. It’s worth asking – Can I really send God a “You are so not invited to my destiny” Card and still expect the blessing of God? I know at times I have tried to control God and tell Him what I want Him to do for me as if He is a genie in a bottle. It makes me wonder what other ways I deliberately try to ignore, neglect, disobey and reject God?

Isaac leaves God out of his plans. Can I really expect the blessing of God when I refuse to include him in my decisions? I can’t receive what God wants for my life through the false hopes and dreams of my parents. The blessings of God, the Father, are given to those who are the children of God through faith in Christ. Galatians 3:14 (NLT) says “Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing He promised to Abraham, …THROUGH FAITH.”

The invitation God gives comes in the form of a Covenant promise and a sacrifice. The promise was Eternal life. The sacrifice was paid on the Cross when Christ died for our sins. Christ sacrificed His life for our sins in order to bestow the blessing of Eternal life. He invites you to believe in Him and receive the promised blessing today.

Pastor Ross