Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Rebekah Orchestrates the Deception -- Genesis 27:11-17

Jacob answered his mother Rebekah, "Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man and I am a smooth man. Perhaps my father will feel me, then I will be as a deceiver in his sight, and I will bring upon myself a curse and not a blessing." But his mother said to him, "Your curse be on me, my son; only obey my voice, and go, get them for me." So he went and got them, and brought them to his mother; and his mother made savory food such as his father loved. Then Rebekah took the best garments of Esau her elder son, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son. And she put the skins of the young goats on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck. She also gave the savory food and the bread, which she had made, to her son Jacob.

Having listened to his mother’s scheme, Jacob doesn’t object outright. Instead he presents some difficulties that would need to be overcome. He points out that Esau was a hairy man while he, Jacob, was more devoid of body hair on his body. He knew his father, though he was quite blind, would be able to sense that he was Jacob if he touched him. And at that point, when Jacob would be found out, he would be a deceiver in his father’s sight. As a deceiver, Jacob foresaw the possibility of being cursed and missing the blessing. Two interesting points we should not miss. First, in the mind of man (Jacob in this case), we only become deceivers when and if we are found out. Not so in God’s eyes. Our deception starts at the point of either plotting to deceive or agreeing to the plot. Secondly, our biggest concern about being caught is not the hurt that our deception would cause others (Isaac in this instance) but rather that we would be cursed and miss out on a possible blessing. How sad that is. It says a lot about our human nature after the fall of Adam and Eve.

And then, of course, there is always the Enemy that sometimes appears in the guise of friend, or even a relative (Rebekeh, Jacob’s mother in this case). She convinces him not to worry about it by even offering to take the curse herself (as if she could). All Jacob had to do, according to her, was to obey her voice and go get the game that she had asked for so she could prepare a savory dish for Isaac, before Esau got back.

Convinced by the Enemy, Jacob does as his mother instructed and Rebekeh prepares a tasty dish that her husband Isaac loved. She then dresses her younger son, Jacob, with her oldest son Esau’s best clothes to further complete the planned deception. She must have heeded Jacob’s concern about Esau being more hairy than him for she also took the skins of the young goats (presumably ones she had used in making the dish) and placed them on Jacob’s arms and neck. Finally, she gives him the food she had prepared, making him ready now to face Isaac his father and get the blessing that was rightfully Esau’s.

I have to stop here for a moment, and those readers that know the rest of the story will understand why, to simply ask a question. How do we deal in our mind with the fact that God’s will is being accomplished (as we’ll see in the chapters ahead) through means of deception and lying, especially by people (such as Rebekeh and Jacob, and earlier Abraham and Isaac) who otherwise were instruments and children of God as part of His people? I think one possible way is to consider that God’s perfect will in a perfect world would have been accomplished in another way. But given that we are fallen, God knows that we will not always allow Him to work out His perfect will His way, but instead our sin and imperfect hearts cause us to do things that impede that perfect will. God then chooses to use what we have done in a creative way to achieve His plans while never allowing us to get the best of Him. Put another way, He never allows us to mess His will up, but He accepts our actions and works with them to achieve His goal for others and us.

Also of interest here is that we see giants of the Bible like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob behave in very human and often ungodly ways, and yet God still uses them and calls them His people. This is not intended as a license to consciously sin knowing God will forgive and work with our sin, but rather to realize that the God to whom we’ve entrusted our lives is willing to accept us with our faults and our sin, and is always willing to forgive.

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