Case in Point


This blog site will feature essays, columns and musings that deal with the intersection of Christianity and journalism and the American Songbook.

Christian journalist: Becky and Jake blind side Izzy (Genesis 24, 25, 27)

Genesis 27:5, 7; 27:10, 13, 18-19, 24. “Rebecca was listening while Isaac spoke to his son Esau. Rebecca said to her son, Jacob, ‘Bring me some game and prepare a tasty food to eat. Then take the tasty food to your father to eat, so that he may give you his blessing before he dies.’ His mother said to him, ‘My son, let the curse fall on me, just do what I say, go and get them for me.’ Jacob went to his father and said, ‘My father.’ ‘Yes, my son,’ Isaac answered. ‘Who is it? Jacob said to his father, ‘I am Esau, your firstborn. I have done as you told me.’ ‘Are you really my son, Esau?’ Isaac asked. ‘Jacob said, ‘I am.’”

Exegesis and Application

Here is a vivid biblical example of a dysfunctional family in which one part of the family defrauds, lies and steals from another part of the family all in God’s will. There is nothing sympathetic or praiseworthy about mother Rebecca and son Jacob in this “As the World Turns” episode. Rebecca eavesdrops on a private conversation between her husband, Isaac, and their older son, Esau (vs. 5). She conspires to steal the older son’s birthright by using her influence over “her” younger son to defraud “his” older son (vss. 6-10). All this is premeditated (vs. 13). This fratricidal plot is willingly entered into by Jacob who was desperate for gain (vss. 18-19, 24). The boy lies to the face of his infirmed and suspicious father, repeatedly. Rebecca and Jacob even use alcohol to dull Isaac’s senses (vs. 25). What a couple of pigs. However, are they really so different from you and me? I think not.

Some commentators argue that Rebecca is a believer and simply is taking the Lord at His word in Gen. 25:23 and helping Him accomplish His will. The problem with this is that this verse can be seen as descriptive and not prescriptive. And besides, did Rebecca really understand the Lord’s saying in vs. 23 since it wasn’t until vs. 24 (“behold, there were twins in her womb”) that it was revealed she had two.

Some commentators suggest that Rebecca was not a believer at the time because she apparently had no conception of the seriousness of the curse of Jehovah because she was so cavalier in accepting the curse (27:13). But I am not so sure because she did have enough God consciousness to lie, cheat and steal to want to get God’s blessing from her blind husband. She was also a virgin who willingly went to be Abraham’s daughter-in-law (24:16, 58).

Let me summarize this unseemly episode contained in chapters 25 and 27:

1) Jake was a Mama’s boy who would rather hang around the house and cook (25:27, 29). No wonder Rebecca loved him more, he helped her do the housework.

2) Esau was a thoroughly unlikeable man – rude, piggish, and impious.

3) Jake was a scheming little snake who took advantage of his more manly brother (25:31-33). This was his first deception. He will later deceive his father, Izzy. This guy took after his mama and was a sly piece of work.

4) Becky and Izzy have each chosen one son over the other for affection: “his son” (27:5) and “her son” (25:28).

5) Becky was a strong-willed, ingenious and ambitious woman who did what she needed to do to get what she wanted.

5) Rebecca was the unworthy object of God’s sovereign electing grace (Rom. 9:10-14).

6) Rebecca was of Aramean birth and upbringing in Paddan-aram so she was not raised in the fear and admonition of the LORD (25:20).

7) In the end, Rebecca did get the blessing so her deceit wins the prize (vss. 37, 40).

8) The line of Isaac through Jacob through Simeon was characterized by lies, deceit, and ultimate disenfranchisement from the blessings of God.

I think John Murray has it right when he explains how to understand this unseemly plot: “It is bad theology and worse theodicy that will seek to derive from God’s action in the bestowal of the blessing upon Jacob a vindication of the method devised by Rebecca and enacted by Jacob. God fulfills His determinate purpose in spite of our actions which are alien to the integrity of character which His will demands.” Furthermore, “Are we to say that faith is never mixed with the devices of unbelief, or that strong faith cannot coexist with the infirmities of unbelief? Jacob spoke and acted a lie, and this fact only enhances our astonishment at the sovereignty of God’s grace and the faithfulness of his promise.  In this instance we find no justification of the falsehood perpetrated.”

Christian journalist:
1) There will be many opportunities for you to justify cutting the ethical corners to advance your career. You will find occasions when just a little tuck here and little cut there will cause a blessing for you. What may appear to be a temporary blessing will turn out to be a permanent curse. Be careful to be obedient to the Lord’s revealed principles in his word. God is not mocked. What you sow you will reap (Job 13:9; Gal. 6:7). Be faithful to the urging of the Holy Spirit upon your conscience and the blessings you will receive will be earned and permanent and thoroughly enjoyable.

2) Don’t interpret success in the profession as a blessing from the Lord. You could have deceived and lied and cheated your way to an earthly blessing which will be taken from you by God. Unholy gain is a curse (Proverbs 28:20).


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