It was God’s plan from the beginning to preserve a family from which the promised savior would come. The entire world’s survival depended on this family’s survival… All seemed lost when Cain killed Abel – but God knew that the promise would continue through Seth. We follow this family, the royal family line, through Seth and then 10 generations to Noah. It goes through Noah’s son, Shem, and then 10 generations to Abraham. And the drama heightens as we see the very family that God had chosen to carry the blessed seed – threaten God’s plan with their faithlessness. Yet, God’s faithfulness overruled.
God’s promise passed from Abraham to Isaac:
“I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father. I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws” (Genesis 26:3-5).
Then Isaac and Rebekah had twin boys, Esau and Jacob. Which son would carry the promised seed? Isaac wanted Esau, but God’s choice was Jacob. Family dysfunction took center-stage as Rebekah manipulated, and Jacob deceived so that Isaac’s blessing was passed to Jacob instead of Esau.
It’s always been a mystery to me how God uses imperfect people to carry out his good plan. God had always planned for Jacob to receive the blessing from Isaac. And God carried out his good plan in spite of Jacob and Rebekah’s deceit and manipulation.
Jacob, whose name meant “heel-grabber” or “cheater” had spent his life striving to receive this blessing. Nancy Guthrie writes in her book The Promised One, “Jacob wanted the right things. His desire was for the blessing of being in the line of the Promised One. But there was no sign he wanted God. There was no reaching out for God but only grabbing for God’s blessings.” God, because of His faithfulness (not because of Jacob’s faith), extended His original promise that He gave to Abraham – to Jacob:
“I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you” (Genesis 28:13-15).
What do I learn from these chapters?
- God is faithful and good.
- Man… not so much.
Just like Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Esau, we are in desperate need of God’s grace. Thankfully, this family’s faithlessness could not thwart God’s plan to bring the promised savior. That’s good news to me…. because it teaches me that my faithlessness will not hinder God’s plans in my life – just like your faithlessness will not hinder His work in yours. He is the Lord.