So much for resolutions... on the up side I have worked hard to maintain my Worst Blogger of 2008 title.
Here is my catch up post.
We have been continuing thru Genesis, spending time looking at Jacob and Esau as adults. This is very familiar territory for most of us, watching Rebekah and Jacob conspire to deceive Isaac and steal a blessing that was already his. There is so much good application in chapter 27, we took our time going thru it slowly over 3 weeks.
Week one: Gen 26:34-27:29 - I'm sorry, I forgot to hit record on the DVR.
Chapter 27 captures one family's worst day. Everyone is messing up and God records it all for us in all its gory detail for us to see and learn from.
We looked at how Isaac's walk with God had cooled to the point that he was willing to deceive his wife and knowingly give the blessing to Esau, despite the fact that he knew that God intended to give it to Jacob. In Isaac's life the cooling seems to be a result of the combination of parental favoritism (He loved Esau over Jacob) and feeding the flesh.
We also looked at Esau's selfish character traits. He rebelliously took multiple wives, which were a grief to his parents. Even worse, his view of the Blessing and the Covenant were completely skewed. He wanted the material blessing but had no desire to walk with God or carry on the covenant relationship God established with Abraham and Isaac. This is such an easy trap for us to fall into today.
Perhaps the most sobering picture for us is when Jacob enters the tent to deceive his father. All of Isaac's senses failed him. He was blind and couldn't see that it was Jacob, His hands were fooled by the goatskin, his nose was thrown off by the scent on Jacobs stolen clothes. Only His hearing told him that it was Jacob, but he disregarded the one sense that was reliable. We have the same problem when we go to make decisions based on our faulty feelings and senses. Throw in a heaping scoop of the flesh and dash of rebellion and you have the makings for a catastrophic decision. Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Safe and Godly decisions come from our time in the Word and active relationship with our Father in Heaven, not by our faulty feelings, fleshly opinions and unreliable senses. In all, Chapter 27 is a sad look at believers who are messing up. They are not believing or trusting God; rather they are operating in the flesh; lying to, cheating and disrespecting one another.
Week two - Gen 27: 30-28:9
We continue the story in Genesis 27 this week, picking up with Esau and Isaac realizing they had been outmaneuvered by Rebekah and Jacob. Esau goes into full victim mode, crying, begging and revising history. Some of us know this drill well because we use it to manipulate those who are easily swayed by a tear and a heavily manipulated story. Oh look Esau is crying, hes been done wrong, someone give him a hug and a special blessing. Forget the fact that he is a fleshy, selfish co-conspirator in and attempted blessing heist. It's not a pretty picture to look at when we realize its ourselves we are looking at in the pages of Scripture.
Esau, instead of repenting and spending time talking it out with the Lord seeks comfort in sin. He plans to murder his brother after his dad dies. There is nothing like a little more sin to make us feel better when we get busted in our sin.
We end this week watching Rebekah continue to manipulate her husband, convincing him to send Jacob to her brother Laban's house, to get a wife. Jacob is about to meet his match when it comes to swindlers. More importantly, God will use Jacob's time there to begin the transformation from "heel catcher" to "Israel".
Week three - Gen 28:10-22
As we pick up the story In Genesis 28 Jacob is running for his life from his manly man, wookie-looking, expert hunter, outdoors man brother. I bet his neck was very sore from looking over his shoulder. As he reaches Luz he pulls up a rock, collapes in exhaustion and meets the God of his fathers. His experience is very reminiscent of our early experiences with God as new believers. He hears from God in a dream, sees how active God is in his life, utters his first, clumsy prayer and starts his walk of faith. You know its a great Sunday when you can talk about dreams, angels, Led Zepplin and God in the same teaching.
Week four - Gen 29
This week Jacob makes it to Haran, meets Rachel, falls in love and gets married. In the process he gets to see how ugly his sin looks when Laban turns the tables on him and shows the "heel catcher" what its like to be caught. Thru Jacob's life we see how awful it is to "reap what you sow". We also see how dangerous it is to make decisions "in the world" by negotiating with Laban rather than seeking the Lord for direction. Like many of us Jacob is trying to make it using the Frank Sinatra "I did it my way" approach. God will show him how well that works out. Its a tough week for our friend Jacob, he wastes 14 years of his life in servitude to a cruel master to get what he thinks he wants and ends up with more than he bargained for. Sadly, like many of us who have been here, he never talks to God once. Hang on guys, this does get better :)