Bible Readings for January 27th
At the outset of Genesis 28, Jacob has come to an impasse. If he does not flee, he will certainly be murdered by his brother, Esau, from whom he stole their father Isaac’s blessing in Genesis 27. But if he does flee, it is unclear how he will receive the blessing of Abraham. Throughout Genesis there is a concern that if the true offspring of Abraham leaves the land of Canaan, they might in some way invalidate the promise that God had made to give the land to Abraham’s offspring (Gen. 12:10; 24:2–4, 8; 26:2–5). After Abraham’s foolish trip to Egypt in Genesis 12, God’s covenant people had not left Canaan for any reason.
But Rebekah seems unconcerned with this, so she lies to Isaac at the end of Genesis 27, making up an excuse to cause Isaac to send Jacob away from Esau’s vengeance. Rebekah tells Isaac that she does not want Jacob marrying one of the Hittite women (Gen. 27:46), since Esau had married two Hittite women who had “made life bitter for Isaac and Rebekah” (Gen. 26:35). So, Isaac instructs Jacob to leave in order to find a wife among the daughters of Laban, Rebekah’s brother.
As Jacob leaves, Isaac reiterates to Jacob the covenant blessing of Abraham: “May [God Almighty] give the blessing of Abraham to you and to your offspring with you, that you may take possession of the land of your sojournings that God gave to Abraham!” (Gen. 28:4). But would God remain faithful to his promise if the offspring of Abraham and Isaac left the land of Canaan? If not, what would happen to God’s promise from Genesis 3:15 to crush the head of the serpent?
It is not an overstatement to say that the fate of the universe turns on the answer to these questions. If Jacob’s leaving Canaan invalidated God’s promise to Abraham and Isaac, then the ultimate promise to bless the whole world through the offspring of Abraham would never come to fulfillment. And Jacob’s recent behavior certainly wouldn’t merit him any special treatment from God.
But in fact, God does meet Jacob on his way out of Canaan to Haran, and when he meets him, he promises Jacob not only that would he bless him and his offspring (Gen. 28:13) and that his offspring would bless all the families of the earth (Gen. 28:14) but also that God himself would bring Jacob back to the land (Gen. 28:15).
Simply put, God’s plan to bless all the families of the earth is bigger than Jacob, Esau, Rebekah, and Isaac. God’s plan cannot be derailed by family squabbles, geography, or reckless sin.
God will accomplish all that he intends to through Jesus Christ, and he will either do it through us or in spite of us.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.