- The Explore the Bible lesson for Dec. 2 focuses on Genesis 27:18-29.
A deceiver misleads someone else or persuades somebody to do something to benefit himself or herself. Many innocent people have been deceived. For example, after natural disasters, some unlicensed or unskilled contractors may deceive homeowners by presenting themselves as reputable and trustworthy. Upon completion of the work, the cost may be twice what the contractor quoted. While many are deceived, others may take on the character of the deceiver—using and abusing others to obtain personal goals and advancements.
Concerned about the continuous struggle of the twins in her womb, Rebekah decided to “inquire of the Lord” (Genesis 25:22). Every woman who has carried a baby in the womb can readily identify if something is not quite right. In Rebekah’s case, the Lord answered her, “Two nations are in your womb and two peoples from within you shall be separated; one people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger” (v. 23). The twins, Esau and Jacob, were born. Esau was a strong and skillful hunter whose name meant Edom (Red), while Jacob was a mild man who dwelt in the tent. Although different in nature, both were strong in character. Esau was tricked by Jacob to the point of selling his birthright for a bowl of stew (vs. 28-34).
How can we live our lives with integrity?
When we are tempted to deceive ourselves and others, how can we benefit from the lesson to direct us toward living a life of truth?
A Deceitful Son (27:18-23)
Rebekah loved Jacob. Jacob’s mother devised the plan to steal the birthright from his brother, Esau. Indeed, she remembered the promise of God and caused events to happen to secure the promise. Jacob is not blameless and should be considered a participant in the plan. At any time, he could have ended the process. However, something within him prompted him to hurry the process, even though dishonesty is not the best policy.
A Christian mother’s desire is for her children to reach their highest potential, to be successful in their given talent or gift, and to live according to God’s will. No parent is exempt from mistakes, but parents must be careful not to favor one child over the other. God’s intent is for the family to work as a unit to encourage each other toward success, as well as to represent him to other struggling families.
A Deceived Father (27:24-27)
What a joy for any Hebrew father to be given the news of the firstborn child, “It’s a boy.” The Hebrew name for Isaac means “laughter.” Abraham laughed when God gave him the promise that Sarah, who was past her childbearing years, would birth a son and call him Isaac (Genesis 17:16-17). Isaac loved his firstborn, Esau. At this time, Isaac was old, blind and ready to declare a blessing to his oldest son, Esau.
Unknown to him, Rebekah overheard the conversation—“Hunt and kill an animal and prepare it that I might eat it and bless you.” Hurriedly, she shared the conversation with Jacob. Dressed in Esau’s clothes, his hands and neck covered with the fleece of goats, Jacob enters into his father’s presence with the meal. Rebekah was instrumental in setting up the whole scheme, from how Jacob dressed to the meal she cooked.
When decisions are made deceptively to benefit personal gain, there will be a tremendous price to pay. Rebekah took matters into her own hands. It was her belief that this problem was too hard for God to manage. In turn, she gave the message to her son that there will be times when you must interfere with the plan of God because if you don’t act quickly, it may never happen.
A Stolen Blessing (27:28-29)
According to the customs of the Hebrews, the firstborn would receive the responsibilities of the family when the father died, as well as receive a double portion of the inheritance (Deuteronomy 21:15-17). Esau was the designated firstborn to receive the blessings according to custom, but God changed the order and Jacob became the recipient of the blessings. Esau gave away his birthright when he was hungry for a bowl of stew. Because of this, he lost not only his birthright, but also his blessings.
Not only are you to treat others with dignity, you also must conduct your affairs with integrity and dignity. Trust God’s perfect plan and God’s timetable. When you are tempted to take matters into your own hands, pray and wait on God. He will answer you, if you wait.
God has given all of his children the right to become a part of his kingdom through his son, Jesus. As his adopted sons and daughters, God promises us abundant life (John 10:10). Subsequently, we must remain honest in our dealings with others. There are times when you may face the consequences of acting in a deceptive way. But remember, God is always there to guide you into truth. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6).
What are some ways we might encourage one another to remain true to God’s promises without using deception to make the promises happen?
Reflect on the life and death of God’s Son, Jesus. Discuss how important it was for him to remain true to his Father in various circumstances.
Margie Clayton is minister of education at Berean Tabernacle Baptist Church in Liberty.