As we roll along in Genesis… we come to a third major figure in this rich history. There was Noah, then Abraham… and now: Jacob. We get to begin his journey at Square 1, his birth, as we are offered a backstory of how he came to be. Do you know your “back story?” Sometimes these stories are shared with us by our parents. “We were long sought after.” “We were an “oops” baby.” “We didn’t want to come out of the womb.” “We were premature.” Whatever our story, how we were received is part of who we are and what we become. Now Jacob was a wanted child. A child vital to the promise of God.
Now Isaac his father knew his own backstory probably from the time he was a small child. He would one day be the father of a great nation. But then God interposes a period of waiting for that promised child, much like he did to his father, Abraham. Isaac and Rebekah struggle with infertility. It can seem that God is so silent when you deal with waiting for something.
Here are some tips to receiving the blessing of God in your life… even if the wait has been excruciating.
1. Discover the Role of Prayer in the Sovereignty of God
19 Now these are the records of the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham became the father of Isaac; 20 and Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean, to be his wife. 21 Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord answered him and Rebekah his wife conceived.
We don’t know how long God was silent but we do know what finally broke the silence: the voice of Isaac praying. Just because God had promised a child to Isaac didn’t mean that Isaac’s prayer was inconsequential. It seems as though God took into consideration Isaac’s petition in His foresight, before any promise was even made to Abraham.
Could it be that when we don’t pray, God already takes our lack of prayer into consideration as well? Knowing that becomes for us a powerful motivator for us to bring our petitions before God. Some in this world say: “Answered prayer is nothing more than coincidence.” But I’ve also heard it said: “It is amazing the amount of coincidences that occur when you pray.” As a friend and fellow pastor, Dave Workman, once remarked: “… a coincidence is when God does a miracle but chooses to remain anonymous.” Isaac and Rebeccah experience breakthrough… through the power of prayer.
2. Come to Grips with the Choices of God
22 But the children struggled together within her; and she said, “If it is so, why then am I this way?” So she went to inquire of the Lord. 23 The Lord said to her, “Two nations are in your womb; And two peoples will be separated from your body; And one people shall be stronger than the other; And the older shall serve the younger.”
Rebecca has these strange feelings inside her as the child they had prayed for begins to grow. The Hebrew could be translated this way: “But the children almost crushed one another inside her.” God reveals to her that it isn’t one child but two. The fact that two nations would rise from this delivery is the reason that they seem to be warring within her. But the younger will be server by the older.
Things just became complicated! There are now two bundles of joy – so where does the blessing go? God Sovereignly chooses. And he chooses Jacob.
Paul deals with what could be perceived as unfair in the book of Romans when he writes:
14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.
God determines the outcome before the prenatal brawl even comes to an end. God sees the future and knows the character of Esau before he is even old enough for it to be manifested. And God makes his choice. Sometimes we bump up against this thing called God’s choice. “I’m not smart enough.” “I’m not pretty enough. “I’m not filled with enough social grace or self motivation.” “Why did God chose someone else instead of me?” It doesn’t seem fair.
What joy comes over the life that realizes that we have never lost out on one thing that we really needed. God didn’t make a mistake with Esau. And he didn’t make one with you. And by the way, find hope in the fact that Jacob wasn’t the obvious choice. He wasn’t as masculine, strong, or athletic as Esau… and yet God had chose him to carry forth the blessing.
God indeed has a purpose for each of us. Some are like Esau… others like Jacob. But we each have our role to play. And in the end, the important thing will not be what part we played, but in whose family we were born. In Christ we receive all the blessing we will ever need.