God Granted Me Success: Conclusion

This is what God tells us in 1 Timothy 1:9. God saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began. George MyIne reminds us that this truth, “This is to humble you — as well as to exalt you. This is to make you weep — as well as cause you to rejoice. You are vile in yourself — but chosen to indescribable honor! You are poor in yourself — but chosen to unspeakable riches! You are naked in yourself — but chosen to eternal glory!” Remember that Jacob was not blessed because he was a man of God. Jacob became a man of God because he was blessed. That is the same for all of us. We need to remember this truth. Paul reminded Timothy of this fact while Paul was suffering for preaching the gospel. He did not want Timothy to become ashamed of the man who he is following. Paul said he was not ashamed of suffering, because he knew who he believed and he was convinced that Jesus was able to guard what was entrusted to him. May we know those same truths and have that same conviction.

God Granted Me Success: The Lord Wins

In these verses, we read the blessing of Isaac upon Jacob. Despite all of the scheming and lying and sin, God’s will prevails. Jacob is the chosen one and he will be the one that the nations will bow down to. The covenant promises will be bestowed on Jacob. Notice the pattern here. Isaac was told that he would be the recipient of the covenant blessings because of Abraham’s faith and consequent obedience. Isaac did nothing to deserve the blessing of God. Here we are at Jacob’s first reception of the covenant blessings and look at the situation. Did he deserve this? Absolutely, unequivocally not! He is amid a deception! He is sinning when he first hears the covenant blessing being pronounced over him. We’ll see God confirming this over and over in Jacob’s life but here, at the outset, he is blessed while sinning.

God Granted Me Success: The House of Lies

When you live in a house of lies there will be consequences. a. Esau’s and Isaac’s consequences. In these verses, we see that Jacob gets the birthright and the blessing just as God had said. But this was all done through lies and deception and there are consequences to be paid. We already know Esau’s consequences. He is unholy and does not know God. He and his descendants will be enemies of God. But what about Isaac? He was trying to go against God. Look at what happens. He is already blind. When Jacob brings the food to Isaac he questions why he was able to get the food so quickly. Jacob says because Yahweh, Jacob’s God gave him success. Ironic, isn’t it? God is going to allow Jacob to fool his father here. First, Isaac suspends his belief in the passage of time. Second, Isaac’s sense of touch is confused. Did the goatskin really feel like Esau? Third, Isaac doubts his hearing and ability to discern his sons’ voices. Despite all of this doubt, the only question he asks is, “Are you really my son Esau?” Jacob flat out lies and says, “I am.” What does Isaac do? Oh, bring on the food then. Isaac is made into a fool. Look at who silly he looks. There is a consequence for sin. b. Rebekah’s and Jacob’s consequences. So it all works out for Jacob and Rebekah, right? Jacob gets the blessing, which is what God promised, but he then goes on the run. Rebekah loses her favorite son and her other son has wives the causes her bitterness. Jacob has to leave behind everything that he gets from the blessing. For decades he is working for another man. For years the great deceiver is himself deceived over and over again. May we never be tempted to think that our sinful actions are excused because everything will work out in the end.

God Granted Me Success: The Mother of Deception

a. The Scheme. Now Rebekah overhears what Isaac and Esau are planning and she sets in motion a counter-scheme. Instead, of trusting that God will act according to his word, she wants to help God out. If this sounds familiar it is because Sarah, the matriarch before her, had done the same thing. Rebekah knows the promise that God spoke to her concerning Jacob but she allows her love of her favorite son to override her love for God. Rebekah’s goal is the same as God’s but she is willing to use deception and lies to get there. God will accomplish his goals and doesn’t need sin to do it. Rebekah has good intentions but a sinful follow-through. b. The Escape Clause. So we see Rebekah’s role here. She has devised this plan to deceive her husband and then tells her son to obey her. But Jacob doesn’t right away. I think this is very telling. He pushes back. He looks at the scheme and sees the potential points of failure. He is nothing like his brother and his dad is only blind. This deception could easily fail. And so, like a good con man, he looks for a way out. Is there a way that if he gets caught he could escape the consequences? Rebekah after hearing his complaint, tells him that she would take the consequences if the rouse fails. Bingo! Verse 14 starts, “so he went.” Yeah, he did. He doesn’t want to get busted for a weak plan but if he can throw his mother under the bus, great. Notice one more thing. Rebekah had the opportunity to stop this whole thing. When Jacob pushes back she could have said, “You know what, you’re right. What was I thinking? Forget the whole thing.” But she doesn’t. She is set on seeing this through.

God Granted Me Success: Ignoring God

a. A Broken Promise. Take notice of what Esau is doing here. Isaac tells Esau to go out and hunt some game because he wants to confirm the blessing upon Isaac. We know from Scripture and from practices in this area at this time that the blessing or the oath is tied to the birthright. The birthright is what gave you the right to the blessing and the blessing is the legal bestowing of all the rights and privileges of the birthright. The blessing is what Esau deserves by him being born first. But didn’t he trade away that birthright? Didn’t he swear to Jacob that he could have the birthright, which would also include this blessing that he is told he will receive? Esau is trying to have his soup and the birthright too. Before he didn’t care about the blessing because he didn’t need it, but now that Isaac is getting older, things are different. But we shouldn’t expect more from Esau because in Hebrews 12 we are told that Esau was an unholy man. b. Blind Eyes. Now let’s look at Isaac. We are told that Isaac is old and his eyes were dim so he could not see. Isaac says that he is old and doesn’t know when he will die. Interestingly, Isaac does not die for another 63 years after this event. Perhaps, his failing eyesight is what made everyone think that his time was growing short, but clearly, they were mistaken for Isaac will be alive to see his twelve grandsons. We were told before that Isaac loved Esau because he gave him some good food. Wild game or any meat was not eaten regularly and so it would have been a thing to be desired. But here Isaac calls Esau to prepare him some delicious food, that he loved so that he could bless him. Like father, like son. It sounds like what Esau did to lose the birthright. For a single meal, they would trade something extremely important. What is even worse than this is that both Esau and Isaac are going against the will of God. God has already decreed that Jacob was the chosen offspring. Jacob, not Esau would be the stronger and the leader. And so these two men have taken it upon themselves to defy God. We see Isaac putting the covenant of Abraham in jeopardy again. But we must remember what is going on here. The London Baptist Confession reminds us that “God, in his ordinary providence maketh use of means.” That means that God uses the choices of people and the normal outworking of creation to fulfill his purposes. But the Confession doesn’t stop there because God is also, “free to work without, above, and against them at his pleasure.” Isaac and Esau have a plan but God is working a different plan on a whole different level than them. They don’t have a clue what God is about to do, and what they are doing is sinful, but God is about to see his plan through. This does not excuse Isaac and Esau from their guilt, but it does demonstrate that God cannot be denied. You can’t go against God.

God Granted Me Success: Introduction

This week we begin a new series on the life of Jacob. Just like with Abraham, Isaac is still alive and plays a role, but the focus begins to shift to the next generation. We saw back in Genesis chapter 25 a preview of what we are about to encounter in the ensuing stories. We saw Esau, the firstborn, a wild man that had no interest in his birthright. As the firstborn, he stood to be the inheritor of all that Abraham and Isaac had accumulated over the years. Esau willingly trades his birthright for a lentil stew. We were also introduced to Jacob, the deceiver. Jacob, the younger brother, had the desire to take Esau’s place. When Esau had a felt need Jacob was quick to take advantage of the situation. This aspect of Jacob’s personality, the desire to get ahead at the expense of others, will show up again in later stories. The story we have before us today is probably one of the more well-known events in the life of Jacob and it is a disappointing one. Everyone in this story is a failure. The sins of Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, and Esau are all on display here. The great patriarchs of our faith are shown to us, just as they are, just as we are, sinners. We also have before us a demonstration of the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man. I remember as a young Bible college student trying to grapple with these concepts. How can and how does God use the sinful and rebellious acts of people to accomplish His will and eternal decrees? How can people committing acts against the will of God be at the same time the will of God? Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will? In some ways, I still grapple with these ideas because my mind is finite, bound by our reality and time. These things spring out of the infinite and eternal mind of God. And though I still ponder these thoughts, I have learned to be content with the answer that Scripture gives us, “Who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?”

I Shall See God: Conclusion

So, on this Resurrection Sunday we celebrate the fact of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection from the dead. Let this not be just a mental ascent, not just a mere acknowledgment of a historical event. You have September 11, World War 2, and the Resurrection of Jesus. No, you must believe as Job, that your Redeemer lives and one day he will stand upon the earth. He will return again. His wrath will be poured out on evil but those of us who believe in the Lord as our savior will behold him with our own eyes, us and no other. This flesh will be destroyed but yet, it too, will be resurrected. It will be perfected and these eyes that must be corrected with lens will see him unaided. The story of Christ’s resurrection is the story of our coming resurrection. Do you believe it?

I Shall See God: The Reality of the Resurrection

a. Job’s Resurrection. In verse 26, Job spoke of his skin being destroyed. We just talked about the reality of death, but what does he say comes after death? “I shall see God.” Just like Paul said, “away from the body and at home with the Lord.” Right? I don’t think so. Job says, “yet in my flesh, I shall see God.” “My eyes shall behold.” What Job is saying is that after his skin is destroyed, literally he says his skin has come full circle, dust to dust, yet he will see God in his body. Job says that he will see God and not just through the things that God has made or in the whirlwind which God will appear later on, Job will behold and not another, God himself! This is resurrection! The body will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of glory. James Smith summarizes what awaits Job and the rest of the saints. “No more disease, no more weakness, no more pain! But health, strength, and ease will characterize it forever! The whole person, body, soul, and spirit—will be in perfect liberty: free from the curse—and every cross; free from every foe—and all our fears; free from every fault—and our numerous failings; free from frailty—and free from folly; free from all internal, external, and eternal evil. It will be freedom crowned with glory—with . . . glorious beauty, glorious brightness, glorious majesty, glorious honor, and ineffable splendor!” But this would not be possible except for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. b. Jesus’ Resurrection. Job was given enough light in his day to see the coming resurrection of Jesus which would make his resurrection possible. He looked ahead and longed for the arbiter who would stand between him and the wrath of God. Jesus’ death and resurrection accomplished this. Hear what Paul says about this. “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:5-11). “For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.” For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:53-57).

I Shall See God: The Reality of the Redeemer

a. The Goel. Job says, “I know my Redeemer lives.” The word Redeemer in the original Hebrew is, “goel.” In English, we often call that person a kinsman redeemer. A great example of a kinsman redeemer is found in Boaz who buys Naomi’s property and marries Ruth. Upon the death of a relative, the redeemer was to buy, hence the redeem, the property of the deceased in order to keep it in the family and to see that it remains as an inheritance. Or if a family member was taken into slavery due to debt or other reasons the goel was to pay for their freedom. If the goel could not secure the property or people by redemption, he secured it by force. The goel was also the avenger. If family member was killed he had the right to avenge their death. That’s what a redeemer is but who is this Redeemer? b. He Lives. Job says that he knows his Redeemer lives. Who is his redeemer? Who is this kinsman that is alive that will help? His children are dead and everyone alive hates him. Young children despise him. All of his intimate friends abhor him. He is a stench to his wife. Where then will this person come from? If God is against Job, who can redeem him then? Who can redeem out of the hand of God? This is the great mystery of redemption that has been revealed to us. “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.” “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” But then we come to Jesus who is the Word. Jesus who is God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” He is “the firstborn among many brothers.” “No longer do I call you servants…but I have called you friends.” Jesus is a brother, a friend to his people. God who has wrath against his people, and yet, through Jesus has become brother and friend. Not only that, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. Jesus came to redeem, to be the goel, for us. This is why Job could say that God, “has kindled his wrath against me,” and, “My Redeemer lives.” Job’s Kinsman Redeemer is God himself. God rescued Job, and us from his own wrath. That brings us to the reality of the resurrection.

I Shall See God: The Reality of Death

a. We ignore its prevalence. In Job 19:26, Job speaks of his own impending death when he says, “After my skin has been thus destroyed.” If we are to speak of and celebrate the Resurrection, we must first confront the reality of death and what it is. Every day the sun rises and sets and we often give no thought to it. Death is just as common and we probably give an equal lack of attention. b. We ignore its finality. Death is the leaving of this present existence. The lungs no longer exchange air; the heart stops beating; the blood stops flowing and congeals; the neurons no longer fire; the hands no longer perform work; the tongue no longer speaks; the body becomes motionless and pale. Death is the separation of the soul from the body. Death is the end of some relationships forever and the pausing of others. Death is the end of all the things that are pursued on this earth, like careers, and hobbies, and even retirement. Death is a journey taken by everyone. Romans 5:12, “sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” Death is the leveler of all for death comes to the rich and the poor, the influencer and the nobody, the Republican or the Democrat, the Christian or the militant atheist. Death is unavoidable. Death has been decreed by God. In Genesis 3:19, God says, “you are dust, and to dust, you shall return.” And in Hebrews 9:27 we are reminded that “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” Death may be inevitable but its time is uncertain. It may come after a long illness or in an instant. It may come anywhere; at home; at work; on the road; amidst obedience to God; in the act of sin. Remember the lesson of the rich man who said to himself, “have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry. But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” Now that we have examined the reality of death let us find comfort in the reality of the Redeemer.