We find ourselves in a story of amazing grace. Out of God’s immensity of love, God continually showers grace upon us, in spite of ourselves! We see this played out through personal narratives in scripture, and in life. We see it whenever God chooses forgiveness over vengeance; acceptance over condemnation; love over hate. No wonder Isaac Watts penned those infamous words, Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found; was blind but now I see!
This week, we’ll see amazing grace on display with the largest spotlight thus far in the biblical tale. We met Jacob last week, but as a refresher—Jacob is the son of Isaac and Rebekah, the second-born of twins, given the name which means ‘heel grabber or deceiver.’ He is the apple of his mother’s eye while his twin, Esau, is the pride of their father (Gen 25:28). Jacob, in all intents and purposes, is presented as a cheat and leaves us the question, “What good can come from such a one as this?!”
The first clash between brothers happens early in the story. The picture painted of these brothers is a picture of opposites—Esau, the hunter/gatherer and Jacob, the thinker and planner. The story picks up at Genesis 25:29-34. Read that and be attentive to Jacob’s slyness with his brother.
A favorite phrase this year is quid pro quo. I would dare say Jacob might be the inventor of it! A starving brother comes looking for chow and his brother withholds the necessary sustenance until he receives the most prized possession—the blessing for the firstborn, the
birthright. This birthright is the rightful owner of all the inheritance. It is the one who will carry on the family legacy and lead the family into the future. Jacob, from the moment of birth, has been clinging onto the twin in the hope of getting what wasn’t his. And in a great moment of need, he secures what he wants. Some might say he was just doing business; others would say that he craftily amassed the blessing. Was he in the right? This is a moral conundrum! Much of life is a series of choices, and learning to Embody Christ in them, is vital to choosing well!