Jacob lied and manipulated to get the things he wanted out of life, even the very thing God had already promised to him from the beginning when he said, “the older will serve the younger.” Jacob’s hastiness and deception left him fractured from his family and filled with fear. In the midst of his risky return journey to face his brother, he had an encounter with the God of his fathers who had not forgotten him.
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Transcript: Welcome to “5 Minutes with Pastor Lutzer.” I’m so glad that you joined us again today as we discuss the topic, “When You’ve Been Wronged.” Now, not only often times are we wronged but there are those also who do the wrong and we’re going to be discussing both. If I could give a headline to this particular talk, it would probably be “A Family at War.” Let me rehearse the details that come to us, of course, in the book of Genesis very quickly: a woman, by the name of Rebekah is married to Isaac. Rebekah is pregnant with twins and before they are born, God says the elder shall serve the younger — that is the opposite of what was expected in that culture. Well, they grow up and Esau is loved by his father—his father, Isaac loves Esau. Jacob is a house boy. He stays home with mama. He stays home with Rebecca and, therefore, immediately we see in this family, a tremendous amount of favoritism and it’s going to get them into trouble.
Well, you know the rest of the story and I must hurry here. Esau is out hunting. He comes back. He is famished and he says to Jacob, give me some of that stew and Jacob said, “I will, but sell me your birthright—give me your birthright” and Esau says, “Well, I’m going to die anyway if I don’t get that stew. So I’ll give you my birthright.” And the Bible says that Esau despised his birthright and then, of course, we have another part of deception and that is Isaac is about to die and he says to his oldest son, Esau, you go hunting, bring back something, make my favorite food and I’m going to bless you. Now, by this time, Isaac was basically blind, so Rebekah hatches a plan. She says to Jacob, “We’re going to kill something right here while Esau is out hunting and we’re going to pretend that you are actually Esau so that, when he extends his hand to give the blessing you’re going to get it.” And they do the plan. Three times the aged Isaac says, “Are you my son, Esau?” Three times Jacob lies. Well, you can imagine what happened and the family feud, of course, was very evident and Esau, when he discovered what happened was very, very angry.
You say, “Well, Pastor Lutzer, What are some of the lessons that grow out of this regarding relationships?” First of all, don’t ever sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate. That’s exactly what Esau did. I’m hungry. I need this right now and I’ll deal with the consequences later. Bad idea. Second, don’t manipulate to get God’s blessing. God had predicted that Jacob was going to be the one who would be blessed before they were born, He told Rebekah, “the elder shall serve the younger.” God would have brought it about in different ways, but Jacob manipulates and lies to bring it about. Don’t ever try to bargain that way with God or be dishonest in manipulating a situation to your advantage, especially when it involves deceit.
Now, very quickly, as a result of that Esau wants to kill Jacob. Jacob is told by his mother “Go to Laban, my brother, and stay there.” Well, they, of course—Laban and Jacob—they get into all kinds of discussions, all kinds of business dealings and then, finally, we find that Jacob about 20 or 25 years later knows that he has to return and in the next episode we’ll explain why, but he has to return and that means he has to meet his estranged brother, Esau. What’s the bottom line? What do I want to leave with you today? Well, as Jacob goes back, he is so full of fear that he calls on God and asks God to help him and meets God and wrestles with God. And next time we’ll explain what happened because you see the first step in reconciliation always is an encounter with God. God was interested in the reconciliation of these brothers and he is interested in your reconciliation too, but don’t attempt it until you have come face to face with God. Please join us next time as we continue this story and as for today, just go with God.