Read Genesis 26:7-11, 29:31-35, 32:24-32
The Biblical record is full of people who are faithful. The Biblical record is also full of people who are not always faithful. After Abraham’s death, his son and grandsons continued with his example, in both faithful and unfaithful ways. In today’s passage, three distinct examples illustrate this. Isaac had settled among the Philistines during a time of famine. Then, trouble started. Isaac feared that someone would want his wife Rebekah for his own. So Isaac deceived everyone by saying that she was his sister. He did this to protect his own life. The Philistine king, Abimelech, called Isaac out for his lie and extended protection for both Isaac and his wife. It is ironic that a pagan king who furthered the plan of the covenant-keeping God.
Later, Isaac’s twin sons, Jacob and Esau would continue the dysfunction. Jacob had deceived both Esau and Isaac for the blessing that normally went to the firstborn son. Jacob himself had been deceived by his relative Laban into marrying both of his daughters. Because of this deception, Jacob loved Rachel and “neglected” Leah. God blessed Leah with four sons in quick succession. Leah’s desire was that Jacob would somehow come to love her, but that was not the case. After her fourth son was born, Leah named him Judah, which means “God will be praised.” She seemed to realize that her sons would play a large part in the promise that God had made to Jacob to make him a great nation.
We turn to Jacob himself. Remember that he had deceived Esau out of the birthright and the blessing. At this point in the account, as Jacob was returning home with his large family, he was told that Esau faced him with a large group of men. As Jacob pondered the situation alone, he had a strange experience. Jacob had a wrestling match with an unknown individual. He found out that God was his opponent. God crippled Jacob with a touch to the hip, thus winning the match. God did, however, bless Jacob. Jacob realized that he was dependent on the blessing of God and that He had spared Jacob’s dysfunctional life.
Why does God use sinful and dysfunctional people to accomplish His purposes? As we have seen before, it is so that God can receive the glory for what happens when we put our faith and trust in Him. Even though we struggle and wrestle with God and His will at times, God continues to show His faithfulness to us. The progress of our lives should continue to show a continuing and growing dependence on God and His provision and will for our lives. May that be our focus in the coming days!