On the road of your life, you may come upon some contradictions.
This teaching is an excerpt from our Radio Antioch Podcast Episode 5.
In our last Post, we saw how Jacob had a promise of God over his life, but had character issues, even cheating his brother out of the birthright. He came by this behavior honestly enough, as his mother Rebekah would also deceive and cheat her own family to get ahead. In Genesis 27, it was Rebekah who heard that Isaac, who was now old and blind, was about the bless Esau. In verse 8 she commanded her son to take part in a scheme to deceive her blind husband. With her help, Jacob prepare a meal for his father, and wearing Esau’s clothes masquerades as Esau. Isaac, who is deceived, speaks a powerful patriarchal blessing over Jacob, even making Jacob the master of Esau.
So sneaky Jacob once again puts one over on his brother and even deceives his own father. But now he will reap what he has sown. Esau is furious, declaring that Jacob is correctly named. Esau planned to wait until his father’s death, and then kill his brother. Rebekah hears this, and commands Jacob to leave the country, She now concocts a scheme to have Isaac to send Jacob to her brother, saying that the women of the land are disgusting to her, and that Jacob should not marry a Canaanite woman. Jacob agrees and sends his son to Rebekah’s family in Haran.
So here it is: Jacob has truly fulfilled his name, twice supplanting his brother in his desire to take hold of all of God’s destiny for his family. But now the contradiction comes to full fruit: Esau wants to kill him, and to save his own life he leaves the very land promised as an inheritance to him that he has deceptively stove to lay hold of. Instead of receiving the double portion of wealth from his father’s household that he cheated his brother out of, he must now leave all behind.
But God is not through with Jacob. Jacob follows his Father’s command, and goes to the land of Haran to her people to get a wife from his Uncle Laban. Leaving Beersheba and the land promised to his family, Jacob has a dream where the Lord appears to him:
He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.  There above it stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying.  Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.  I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
Even though Jacob has cheating his family, and is running for his very life, and is abandoning the land that God has promised for an inheritance, God shows His faithfulness. Jacob has a vision where he see that Angels guarding the border of his land, and God himself promised not only to bring him back to this land, but also to be with him wherever he goes. What amazes me is that Jacob hears God re-affirm that the land is his inheritance and then goes ahead and leaves the country anyway!
Jacob goes to meet his Uncle Laban and becomes engaged to Laban’s younger daughter Rachel. But Laban is just as much a cheat as his sister! At his wedding, Laban deceives Jacob, so that he marries the older sister Leah! Jacob is furious, but Laban excuses his treachery, telling Jacob that among his people the older daughter must marry first. He then gives Rachel to Jacob as a wife as well. What Jacob had sown, he was now reaping! He stole his brother’s birthright, and now his own family deceives him to prevent him from doing it again by marrying the younger daughter ahead of the older. And we see a pattern in the family: Just a Rebekah’s schemes brought strife to the family between the two brothers, now her brother’s schemes bring the same strife between the two sisters. And Laban continued to cheat and deceive Jacob, changing his wages ten times. What Jacob had sown was now living in his very tent! But the Lord protected Jacob, and he prospered. And Jacob came to realize that in spite of himself, it was only because of the Lord’s covering that he prospered. He was a deceiver, but he had been deceived. He was a cheat, but he had been cheated. Finally Jacob came face to face with the fact that in his own strength he was nothing. In his rebuke to Laban upon his departure, he admits this:
“If the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had not been for me, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God has seen my affliction and the toil of my hands, so He rendered judgment last night.”
At this point Jacob is at his end. He is going back to the country that God promised him. He knows that he will have to make peace with Esau. He has now reached the point that he knows that God is his only source and protection. But in reaching the end of his own schemes, the end of his own strength, Jacob comes to the “Teachable Moment” in his life where God can transform his destiny.
Next- The Teachable Moment