bible study: waiting patiently

August 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

(these are notes after attending the Great Adventure bible study)

Many of us have come to believe, whether it is true or not, that if we want something we have got to fight for it.

In the story of Jacob and Esau (sons of Issac/grandchildren of Abraham), it appears that Jacob believes this too.

Before He was born, God told his mother Rebekah,

“Two nations are within you; you will give birth to two rival peoples. One will be stronger than the other; The older will serve the younger.” (Genesis 25:23)

Yet even so, Jacob resorted to forcing his famished brother to give his birthright to him in exchange for some food, and deceiving his father Issac into giving Jacob his blessing.

True, he was getting what should have been his; God had decided that those would be his even before he was born. Yet, his methods were dubious. And expectedly, he was punished for it later. It is not stated explicitly. When he fled into exile and fell in love with a girl named Rachel, he was deceived into marrying the older and had to work for another 7 years for Rachel’s hand in marriage. Tit for tat. The younger cannot come before the older. What a slap in Jacob’s face.

Later, when He fled from Laban (the father of his wives), He wrestled with a man quite out of the blue (Genesis 32: 22-32). When the man asked him to let him go, Jacob refused to do so, unless the man blessed him. The man then changed his name to Israel, which sounds like the Hebrew for “he struggles with God”. It appears that this man is God.

From this account, I’ve learnt 2 things:

1) When God promises something, He will fulfill His promise. There is no need to fight for it. Jacob did so and was duly punished. Contrast Jacob’s behavior with that of Joseph. He had dreams in which his brothers all bowed down to him. The circumstances in his life later made this seem quite impossible– he was sold into slavery, lied about when he refused to sleep with his master’s wife, thrown into jail, forgotten about after he had interpreted correctly the dream of the guy who was later released… Yet, Joseph did not seem to have fought for what was revealed to him in his dream but waited it out patiently. Later, he was quickly raised to second in command after the fellow ex-inmate remembered him and told Pharaoh about him.

2) It is God that he must wrestle for blessing.

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