Tuesday, July 16, 2013

How Would the Story of Jacob's Deception Play Out in Today's World

This Bible story has all the elements of a Shakespearean play; lies, deception and betrayal. What makes it relevant today is that nothing’s changed. We still lie and cheat, and employ all means of deception to make sure we get the lion’s share of daddy’s estate.

The fact is Esau lost his birthright long before he gave it to Jacob, and Jacob’s subsequent deception to Isaac. Every action we take carries with it certain consequences, either good or bad.  When Esau married pagan women, against God’s law, he sealed his fate concerning Isaac’s blessing. (Genesis 26:34) God planned on blessing Jacob. He told Rebekah this, and yet, Rebekah decided to make it happen herself. (Genesis 25:23) Not only has she set herself up for some seriously bad consequences but she’s taking Jacob along with her.

Having been presented with his mother’s scheme, Jacob is not concerned that what they would be doing was wrong; he was only worried about getting caught, however, not worried enough to abandon the plan. (Genesis 27:5-12) This is so much like us today. Like Rebekah, we take matters into our own hands even though we know it’s wrong. We convince ouselves that the end justifies the means. Jacob was successful with the deception but at a great price. He was never to see his mother again, Esau wanted to kill him, his uncle Laban deceived him, his family torn by conflict, an enemy nation was founded by Esau and he was exiled for many years. The effects of that deception did not end there for we are still reaping its consequences today.

The situation in the Middle East is one that cannot be fixed by man. It has been going on since Genesis, and contrary to popular belief it is not political. It is, in fact, Biblical. We must back up for a minute because the Middle East crisis also involves another set of brothers that came before Jacob and Esau and how they set the stage.

The story of Isaac and Ishmael mirrors Jacob and Esau in that again, the first born does not inherit the birthright. Ishmael was the illegitimate son of Abraham and Hagar, Sarah’s maid, and so ineligible. Ishmael was born because, like Rebekah, Sarah took matters into her own hands because she did not believe God’s promise to Abraham to make a great nation out of him and bless them with a son. (Genesis 12:2-3) After 13 years Isaac’s birth was a devastating blow to Ishmael. God does bless Ishmael and makes him the father of a great nation. Isaac would be the leader of the Israelites and Ishmael would be the leader of the Arabs. And so would start the conflict and the conflict would be about the land called Palastine. If you think that Ishmael’s descendants aren't blessed, who has the oil cartels in the middle east today?

Jacob and Esau would also divide into two nations; the Jews and the Edomites. They would both experience decline around the same time and would attempt to restore themselves to their original glory. They, too, were fighting over the same land. To add a twist, because Esau knew that his marriages to pagan women were displeasing to Isaac, he married Ishmael’s daughter to try and please him. (Genesis 28:9) Even though the same blood ran through both nations, there was envy and hatred because of what was perceived as favoritism and injustice, and Edam was destroyed because of it. (Obediah 1:17-21) Today the Middle East is still fighting the Israel/Palestine, Arab/Israeli conflict. And it will continue because deception will again enter the picture in the guise of a Palestinian state. Politics is playing a heavy role in the Middle East and as before there is a plan, not God’s divine plan but  man’s plan. Lies, deception and betrayal abound on so many different fronts. No, man cannot fix the Middle East. History doesn't have to repeat itself  it will just continue to the end because nothing’s changed.

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