Wait On God's Blessing!

One of the things that people notice in others is how so many try to use strategies and subterfuges to get their own way and maximise what they get out of circumstances. Now according to some psychologists, what we notice is often what we are prone to ourselves, so by that reckoning this maybe something we should all guard against. Remember that the scriptures say.....

Phl 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves..

Some psychologists also say that knowing about a problem is half-way to solving it, so it may be worthwhile getting to know how this could affect us and what hope there is for us!

Now, wanting to get your own way is something that applies to all age groups, all genders, and all races and it's often quite amusing to observe it in action. From the youngster at the party who wants to have more cake than anyone else, to the business-man trying to get a better deal by craft.

Most people know about the strategy of trying to achieve a win-win situation in dealings with others but some instead go for short term advantage rather than long term fruitful relationships.

And this wish to get the edge over rivals or friends is not dependent on intelligence; it more often uses what the Americans call “Smarts” or what my dear Mum would call “Working their heads”!

I'm reminded of the story of the lady who was teaching her two children to share equally and not to try to get more that their sibling had in any situation. She came up with a great method for them to share things even when she was not around. What she told them was that one should divide the item and the other should have first choice of what ever they were sharing. That way there would be no complaints about the “Sharer” taking the 'bigger' half!

One day she saw her son take a can of drink from the fridge and two glasses and thinking to check they were following her directions she went along to the living room and looked through the door-way to see what happened.

She saw her son carefully dividing the drink between the two glasses, a little bit in one, then a little bit in the other, etc., as his sister looked on intently.

Finally he stopped and put down the can and his sister scrutinized the glasses, picked one out, and went back to her dolls in the corner of the room.

She was just thinking how well she'd taught them, when she saw her son pick up the can, put it to his lips and glug from it, before putting it down and then taking his glass and going over to his toys!

Greed will surely find a way if human nature takes it's course apparently, but we adults should realise that there is someone who sees everything, God, and there may be a human also who sees it, as in the case of this lady!

You will find examples of this human trait in the bible as well. A nice compact family group to look at, whose story may be in there because God found it amusing as well as informative, is that of Isaac, Rebecca and their two children Esau and Jacob.

When the children were born (they were twins), God prophesied to the family that the younger one would have the greater blessing and would rule over the older boy.

Gen 25:23 And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, And two peoples shall be separated even from thy bowels: And the one people shall be stronger than the other people; And the elder shall serve the younger.

The children grew into early manhood and were very different in character. The younger one was the thoughtful, studious type and the older one was the outdoors, hunter type. The studious one was the darling of his mother and the macho older brother was the favourite of the father. This sort of favouritism of course happens everywhere!

One day when the older son Esau was hungry and tired after hunting without success, his brother Jacob talked him into selling his birthright for a bowl of food.

Gen 25:29-34 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom.) Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.”

“Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?”

But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.

Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left.

So Esau despised his birthright.

Do remember though God did not say the birthright was not to be his! But, possibly because he was told his brother would be over him, he didn't value his birthright and sold it! If you were the "tut-tutting" type, you could say - “Poor fellow!”

Later on when Isaac felt he was getting on in years he called Esau into his room and told him that he (Isaac) was very old now and couldn't see and didn't know how long he had left in the world, so could Esau kill a deer and make some venison stew for him? Then he'd bless Esau and could die happy.

Gen 27:-4 1When Isaac was old and his eyes were so weak that he could no longer see, he called for Esau his older son and said to him, “My son.”

“Here I am,” he answered.

Isaac said, “I am now an old man and don’t know the day of my death. Now then, get your weapons—your quiver and bow—and go out to the open country to hunt some wild game for me. Prepare me the kind of tasty food I like and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my blessing before I die.”

Isaac we can see here hopes to sneak the greater blessing through to Esau by getting God's sympathy because of his age! And maybe he's got yours as well!

You could say - “Ah! Poor fellow!”

Before Esau can come back from hunting though, Rebecca having heard what Isaac was up to, gets Jacob to dress in goat-skins so that he would seem like Esau (who was hairy) and take some goat stew to his father and get the blessing that Isaac was planning to give to Esau! When Esau finds out what has happened and that Jacob has got the upper hand over him again he is not best pleased. In fact he's livid!

Realising how much Esau is angry Rebecca tells Jacob to flee for his life. This he does and goes on the run leaving his brother home fuming”!

Jacob runs away to stay with Laban, his uncle, & works for him. While there he falls in love with Laban's daughter Rachel and agrees to work for Laban for seven years for her hand in marriage.

Gen 29:16-20 Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel was lovely in form, and beautiful. Jacob was in love with Rachel and said, “I’ll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel.”

Laban said, “It’s better that I give her to you than to some other man. Stay here with me.” So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.

But, when the seven years are up and Jacob asked for his wife, Laban tricks Jacob and substitutes Leah in the ceremony for Rachel. Now it's Jacob's turn to find himself the victim of someone wanting their own way!

You could say - “Poor fellow!”

Laban tells Jacob it's not the custom to marry the younger sisters off first in his country but Jacob could work another seven years for Rachel"

Jacob agrees. He actually gets Rachel as his wife one week later but in accordance with his agreement works another seven years for her hand.

After the seven years are up Jacob starts working in order to accumulate livestock and finances to support his family. Now he finds Laban changing the terms of his employment in order to limit Jacob's earnings and keep him working for him as long as possible. But at this stage the blessing of God kicks in and everything that Jacob does in order to mitigate his uncle Laban's tactics turns to good and he grows rich in livestock. In fact he becomes richer than Laban in the end despite Laban's tricks and subterfuges!

And so Laban learned his lesson..... “Poor fellow!”

Now instead of looking at the story from the human viewpoint, let's look at it from God's vantage point.

First, if you check on the blessing that Isaac gives to Esau under God's guidance you will see that he is blessed, only not as much as Jacob. He is not cursed as some people think. When hundreds of years later after the blessings had time to settle and Israel (Jacob) wanted to go through the land of Edom (Esau) it was stated to be a land of fields and vinyards and wells.

Num 20:17 Now we are here at Kadesh, a town on the edge of your territory. Please let us pass through your country. We will not go through any field or vineyard, or drink water from any well. We will travel along the king’s highway and not turn to the right or to the left until we have passed through your territory.

Secondly, Jacob goes to stay with Laban and works for him and gains all his wealth of family and goods and live-stock through working for 20 years for Laban. He does not get rich at the expense of Esau.

Thirdly, if having the birthright had been all that Jacob was promised in the prophesy then the best he could receive would just be two/thirds of his father Isaac's possessions as the double portion. The land and possessions Isaac had would have been divided into three parts and the birthright holder would have got two parts and the other brother one part. God's blessing was to be much greater than that!

Fourth, because Jacob was forced to run away from home, Esau was the one who got the benefit of the birthright by staying and looking after the home farm. While Jacob earned his riches working for Laban, Easau was earning his fortune working the family ranch! God did not promise Jacob the benefit of the birthright in his lifetime and he did not get his riches through it!

Finally, “Old” Isaac, who may have got your sympathy over the years, actually lived for another forty more years after saying that he could die at any time!

So what conclusions can we draw from all this?

Truly, it's much better to rely on God to give you what's best for you personally, rather than try to grasp it for yourself without reference to him.

And, you should not underestimate the blessing God has for you even if it's not what he has for another! God's blessing will be uniquely tailored to be the best thing for you!

So if you notice someone trying to get more for themselves their own way, through their own craft and guile, rather than rely on God, just have a small chuckle as you realise there is nothing new under the sun and you could say to yourself -
”Poor fellow!”


God' blessings. Click Here.
God's Sovereignty and Our Healing. Click Here.
Grace and Law in Ancient Israel. Click Here.
The Love Of God Click Here.
The Heart Of God Click Here.

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