A Mother’s Advice
“Now therefore, my son, obey my voice. Arise, flee to Laban my brother in Haran and stay with him a while, until your brother’s fury turns away”
- Genesis 27:41–45
In Philippians 1:15–17, the apostle Paul expresses his great joy over the advance of the Gospel. Though it is true that some were preaching about Christ out of sinful motives like envy and rivalry, Paul is still encouraged by the truth that is pouring forth from the lips of such preachers. The kingdom of God was increasing in his day, and for that he could rejoice.
Throughout the history of the Lord’s people, the message of salvation has continued its march even though believers have not always been true to the Master’s call. People have been slaughtered in the name of Jesus. Church offices have been bought and sold. Christians have often times willingly equated the Gospel with a particular culture. Yet for all this error, the kingdom keeps growing and spreading even into the darkest corners of the earth (Matt. 16:18).
Isaac’s blessings on Jacob and Esau show that, from the beginning of His church, God’s kingdom has grown despite the sin of His people. No one in Genesis 27 has behaved admirably. Isaac favors Esau, ignoring the usual custom of blessing both sons at the same time (vv. 1–4). Rebekah favors Jacob to the point where she deceives her husband without calling him to heed the Lord’s word for their boys (vv. 5–17). Jacob willingly stoops to deception (vv. 18–29), and Esau fails to repent for earlier despising his birthright (vv. 30–40). Yet in the end, the Lord’s election of Jacob is confirmed (25:23; 27:27–29), albeit through the twisted machinations of His servants.
God will have His way, even if He chooses to use our weaknesses to achieve His purposes. Yet Genesis 27 also shows us that we must not stoop to deception to achieve His good ends. Lasting hatred between the sons of Esau and Jacob results from this episode (vv. 39–41). Rebekah and Jacob get the blessing they wanted, but Rebekah will have to send her favorite son away, never to see him again (vv. 42–45). Others will get the better of Jacob (29:1–30), and he will spend most of his final years mourning for the loss of his own son, Joseph (37:12–36; 42:36; 45:28). Our disobedience cannot thwart God’s plans, but He will surely discipline His children for sinning against Him (Heb. 12:7–11).
Though God’s grace was poured out lavishly despite His people’s wickedness, we must never sin so that grace may abound (Rom. 5:12–6:4). Are you guilty of using an “ends justify the means” theology to achieve a good goal? For example, maybe you have taken a job that troubles your conscience in order to get through school or earn extra money. Whatever the case, strive to please God with the ends you seek and the means you use to get there.
Passages for Further Study
- 1 Chron. 13:1–10
- Mic. 6:8
- Phil. 1:12–14
- Col. 1:9–10