All this week I will be sharing some thoughts on the life of Jacob, based on a series of messages I gave at a youth retreat last fall. I pray that this will be encouraging and challenging for you, as it was for me!
Yesterday we asked the question, “Who are you?” Today, I have another question for you to consider: What do you really want?
My husband and I are terrible decision makers. We will go to a restaurant and our waitress will come back three or four times before we’re ready to order! And just when I think I’ve made up my mind, I turn the page on the menu, or a waiter walks by with someone else’s dinner, or my husband tells me what he’s having… and suddenly I don’t know what I want again! I am almost always the last person at the table to order.
I just hate it when I finally have made my decision, the waiter brings the food to the table, and someone else’s food looks better to me than my own. Restaurant regret. All that time deciding… and I still picked the wrong thing.
You know what would be so much worse than restaurant regret? Life regret. What if we reach the end of our lives and realize that what we decided we wanted wasn’t really the best thing? What if we find ourselves standing before the throne of Jesus realizing that we settled… that what looked so good, so appealing to us was a cheap substitute for what life should have been?
As we consider this question of what we really want, we’re going to be rejoining Jacob again in Beersheba. At this point in his life, he is still home with his family. Thinking about our discussion last night, remember that we can safely assume that he has heard a lot about God’s promises and faithfulness to his family. Jacob has seen and heard what God has done; now we’ll find out what he has decided that he wants.
In Genesis 25, what does Jacob want? The birthright – the birthright is a double portion of the inheritance [if Isaac left his sons 1200 sheep, Jacob would have received 400 and Esau would have received 800!]
How does he get it? Deceiving his brother! Remember why he was named Jacob: he is the heel grabber- the one who trips up, takes the place of, and deceives. His name literally means “deceiver,” and this is just the beginning of him living up to his name with gusto. Not only that, but the birthright is most definitely not all he wants.
Notice what he wants now – the blessing. I can’t fully explain to you how the blessing worked, but somehow God would work through the spoken blessings of the patriarchs to pass on the supernatural blessing. Genesis 26:12 tells us that Isaac planted crops and in the same year reaped a hundredfold because God had blessed him. Jacob surely noticed this, and his sights became set on the blessing in addition to the birthright. Why just inherit riches when your own wealth could exponentially increase?
You know the rest of this story. In order to secure the blessing, Jacob and his mother work together to “jacob” Isaac – time and time again he deceives and outright lies. Once his actions are discovered, Isaac and Esau’s summaries of the situation are telling.
But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully and took your blessing.” Esau said, “Isn’t he rightly named Jacob? He has deceived me these two times: He took my birthright, and now he’s taken my blessing!”
Isaac points it out clearly – he came deceitfully. He came “jacobly.”
It begs the question: God had richly blessed this family. He had taken care of them, He had allowed them to become wealthy and influential. Did Jacob want the God of his father and grandfather… or did he just want stuff?
Under the New Testament covenant, God doesn’t necessarily bless us with wealth and power for following Him; there are other types of blessings. Blessings such as:
- God’s provision
- Fellowship with other believers
- Fewer self-inflicted problems
Friends, let me ask you a hard question. Do we want God, or do we just want this stuff?
Do we treasure knowing Him, or do we want a “get out of hell free” card?
Do we obey Him because we love Him, or do we want a reputation as a good Christian?
What do you really want? Are you going to reach the end of your life and realize that you spent your days in pursuit of the wrong thing?
To be continued tomorrow!