Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Father's Love

Gen. 26:34-27:4

When we go to the Bible to illustrate God's fatherly love for us, we usually head to stories like the Prodigal Son.  But here's an interesting one for you: Isaac and Esau. 

The end of Gen. 26 tells us Esau married Judith "and they brought grief to Isaac and Rebekah."

Gen. 27 begins with Isaac old and thinking he is about to die.  He calls Esau to him to bless him before he dies.  Remember, a "blessing" in that culture meant more than "hope you have a nice life." This blessing was dividing the inheritance and giving the lion's share to the older son (Esau). It was the "reading of the will" in a way, and was legally binding.

Isaac is 60 when Esau is born, Esau is 40 when he marries Judith, and Isaac is 180 when he dies.  However, Isaac doesn't appear to die for many years after this story...maybe as much as 30 more years (the math is a little tricky).  Still, Esau and Judith have been bringing grief to Isaac and Rebekah for about 50 years when Isaac calls Esau to him to bless him.

Fifty years of grief...fifty years of bitterness...fifty years of strife.  And Rebekah has undoubtedly told Isaac (repeatedly, if I know anything about wives) how God told her "the elder will serve the younger" when Esau and Jacob were struggling in her womb.  Fifty years of his spouse lobbying for Jacob to recieve the greater inheritance, and yet, Isaac plans to bless Esau. 

In six short verses, we have a picture of how God desires to bless us and give us our rightful inheritance as His children even when we have brought Him nothing but grief for years on end.  Nor will he be swayed from His plan to grant us an inheritance by any other voice.

Eph. 2: 8 tells us we have been saved by grace as a gift...there was nothing we did to earn it.  Conversely, as this story in Genesis illustrates, there is nothing we can do to "unearn" it. 

Dear child of God, if you have brought grief to your Father, you are not lost to Him.  He will still give you your rightful inheritance as His child.  I hope that encourages you today.  We know from later in Genesis that Esau eventually repairs his family relationships.  Is it time for you to repair yours secure in the knowledge nothing you have done has diminished the Father's love for you? 

Until next time,

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