Vol 1 - No 16, September 22, 2004
Jacob the supplanter:
Jacob is the most controversial, humanly speaking, of all the men examined in these Faith Studies to date. Conflict, deceit and contradiction filled his life but God chose and blessed him and he responded by faith in God's Word.
God's election and plan for Jacob's life was evidenced before he was conceived. His mother Rebekah had no children after 19 years of marriage. Isaac prayed for her, the Lord answered his prayer and Rebekah conceived twins, Esau and Jacob. The grasping and conflict that marked Jacob's life started before he was born as his brother and he struggled within her. Their activity got the point she believed she and her unborn babies might not survive and she asked God why this was happening - Genesis 25:21 & 2221 And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.
"And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger." - Genesis 25:2323 And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.
. According to custom at the time Esau being born first was entitled to inherit the birthright and head the family when Isaac passed away but God's Word to Rebekah was that Esau and his descendants were going to serve Jacob and his descendants. When they were born Jacob came through the birth canal grasping Esau's heel as he followed him out into the world - Genesis 25:24 - 2624 And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.
25 And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.
26 And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.
Esau and Jacob grew up to be very different even though they appear to have had the same upbringing and opportunities. Esau turned out to be his father's favorite while Jacob was Rebekah's but God knew them from before. Hebrews 12:1616 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.
sums up Esau's life "Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright." As to Jacob, God fulfilled His promise of a seed of blessing through him, as we read in Romans 9:9 - 139 For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.
10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;
11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
: "For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son. And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated" (or loved less, as in the original Greek language.)
Esau and Jacob had an equal chance in life but it was their personal response to God's Word that counted for eternity. Jacob believed, that is, he had faith in God's Word, while Esau did not.
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are reverentially mentioned together many times in the Bible as the fathers of the nation of Israel. But in the lives of Abraham and his son Isaac as compared to Jacob we observe extreme opposites. Whereas Isaac lived in gentleness and meekness Jacob pushed and fought his way though life to obtain what he believed was due him.
Whereas Isaac did nothing to obtain his birthright Jacob bought the birthright from Esau, who gave it up for one meal of food - Genesis 25:29 - 3429 And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint:
30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.
31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.
32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?
33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.
34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.
. Whereas Abraham willingly gave all he had to Isaac (Genesis 25:55 And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac.
) Jacob, at the urging of his mother, tricked Isaac into blessing him instead of Esau - Genesis 27:1 - 301 And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his eldest son, and said unto him, My son: and he said unto him, Behold, here am I.
2 And he said, Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death:
3 Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison;
4 And make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die.
5 And Rebekah heard when Isaac spake to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt for venison, and to bring it.
6 And Rebekah spake unto Jacob her son, saying, Behold, I heard thy father speak unto Esau thy brother, saying,
7 Bring me venison, and make me savoury meat, that I may eat, and bless thee before the LORD before my death.
8 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to that which I command thee.
9 Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats; and I will make them savoury meat for thy father, such as he loveth:
10 And thou shalt bring it to thy father, that he may eat, and that he may bless thee before his death.
11 And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man:
12 My father peradventure will feel me, and I shall seem to him as a deceiver; and I shall bring a curse upon me, and not a blessing.
13 And his mother said unto him, Upon me be thy curse, my son: only obey my voice, and go fetch me them.
14 And he went, and fetched, and brought them to his mother: and his mother made savoury meat, such as his father loved.
15 And Rebekah took goodly raiment of her eldest son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob her younger son:
16 And she put the skins of the kids of the goats upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his neck:
17 And she gave the savoury meat and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob.
18 And he came unto his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I; who art thou, my son?
19 And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau thy first born; I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me.
20 And Isaac said unto his son, How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son? And he said, Because the LORD thy God brought it to me.
21 And Isaac said unto Jacob, Come near, I pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my very son Esau or not.
22 And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.
23 And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau's hands: so he blessed him.
24 And he said, Art thou my very son Esau? And he said, I am.
25 And he said, Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son's venison, that my soul may bless thee. And he brought it near to him, and he did eat: and he brought him wine and he drank.
26 And his father Isaac said unto him, Come near now, and kiss me, my son.
27 And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed:
28 Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine:
29 Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee.
30 And it came to pass, as soon as Isaac had made an end of blessing Jacob, and Jacob was yet scarce gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting.
. Whereas Isaac's enemies, the Philistines, came to him asking for a blessing, Jacob had to flee from home because his own brother Esau purposed to kill him - Genesis 27:41 - 4641 And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.
42 And these words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah: and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee.
43 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice; arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran;
44 And tarry with him a few days, until thy brother's fury turn away;
45 Until thy brother's anger turn away from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done to him: then I will send, and fetch thee from thence: why should I be deprived also of you both in one day?
46 And Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth: if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?
. Whereas Isaac took a wife that Abraham's servant literally delivered to him, Jacob worked seven (7) years for Rachel, the woman he loved, only to be tricked by her father into first marrying Leah, Laban's homely eldest daughter. Jacob then had to work another seven (7) years in order to marry Rachel - Genesis 29. Whereas Isaac would not fight the Philistines who were filling his wells with dirt, Jacob wrestled with God until he received a blessing - Genesis 32:24 - 3224 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.
25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.
26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.
27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.
28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
29 And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.
30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
31 And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.
32 Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew that shrank.
The contrasts don't stop there. Whereas Abraham, by faith in God's Word willingly left his homeland to live in a strange and hostile land that had been promised him, Jacob had to leave the promised land because his brother purposed to kill him. Whereas Abraham willingly offered his own son on an alter to God, and his son Isaac willingly submitted to be that offering, Jacob wrestled with God. But regardless of the observable differences in the appearance of human merit on the part of Abraham and Isaac, as compared to the apparent lack thereof in Jacob, God chose all three of them to bring His blessings to the earth. And, - Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were all borne witness to by their faith.
To be continued.