Monday, June 6, 2011

Genesis 28:1-9

So Isaac called for Jacob and blessed him. Then he commanded him: “Do not marry a Canaanite woman. Go at once to Paddan Aram, to the house of your mother’s father Bethuel. Take a wife for yourself there, from among the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother. May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples. May he give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham, so that you may take possession of the land where you now reside as a foreigner, the land God gave to Abraham.” Then Isaac sent Jacob on his way, and he went to Paddan Aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, who was the mother of Jacob and Esau. (Gen. 28:1-5)

At the end of chapter 27, Rebekah complained to Isaac about the Hittite wives of Esau, saying her life would not be worth living if Jacob also took a wife among pagan people. She knew exactly what Isaac would suggest: a trip to her brother Laban’s house to find a bride from among relatives. Sure enough, Isaac decides to send Jacob to look for a bride. Now, it’s interesting that Isaac sends Jacob himself, rather than sending a servant as his own father had done for him. I’m wondering if Isaac was hoping such a trip would toughen up Jacob. Whatever Isaac’s reasons, it is clear that God was in this plan, for He was going to meet Jacob in a very personal way on this journey.

I love that there never seems to be a particular way in which God deals with people. There isn’t a prescribed method of meeting God, anymore than there is a formula for healing or receiving a blessing. Everyone of us is unique and our faith walk with God is going to be completely different from those around us - even our children! We need to remember this when we watch our children struggling to come to their own place of faith. Their experience will not be the same as ours. It may be scary to watch them wander out from the safety of home, but God is with them as much as He was with us before we encountered Him personally. Our job is to teach them about God as children, model faith, both in success and failure, before them, and then to push them out the door to claim their own relationship with God. And we should do that with prayer and a blessing.

Now Esau learned that Isaac had blessed Jacob and had sent him to Paddan Aram to take a wife from there, and that when he blessed him he commanded him, “Do not marry a Canaanite woman,” and that Jacob had obeyed his father and mother and had gone to Paddan Aram. Esau then realized how displeasing the Canaanite women were to his father Isaac; so he went to Ishmael and married Mahalath, the sister of Nebaioth and daughter of Ishmael son of Abraham, in addition to the wives he already had. (vs. 6-9)

Here is an interesting picture of Esau, who remains clueless. He thinks that if he just takes a relative, instead of a Canaanite woman, as his wife, he will please his father and receive a blessing. He does not get that the problem is spiritual. So he tries to solve the problem by creating another one - he takes a THIRD wife! Yes, she is a relative, but through Ishmael, so not of the line of promise. In this case, three wrongs don’t make a right!

This reminds me of those who don’t know the LORD and who hunger for SOMETHING, but they don’t know what it is. They don’t understand that the void in their lives can only be filled by Jesus Christ. So they try to stuff it with other things: “Maybe I’m unhappy because of my wife - I’ll get a new one;” “If I just had a different job, my life would be perfect;” “I know I will finally be content when I buy that new house.” The problem is not that we need new things or people in our lives - we need the ONE Person who can change us from the inside out! WE need to be a new creation!

We’ll see tomorrow that this journey of Jacob’s will be the beginning of a new life for him!



  1. Sally,
    I love your reflection this morning on each of our kids having their own faith journey. Jacob's was a long one, wasn't it! Look how much time he had to spend being submissive to Laban. But our God is always faithful. Thank you for your words of encouragement this morning- and every morning. Blessings and huge hugs to you today! Love, Lori

  2. Thank you, Lori, for your sweet encouragement! Don't you LOVE these people in the Old Testament??? So much to learn! If even a conniver like Jacob can be used by God, there is great hope for us, eh?