November 2, 2021
God’s Unconditional Love
This week’s reading was Genesis 27-34. We will be reviewing a few of the chapters prior to this as well.
Back in Genesis 25:23 the Lord said to Rebekah while she was pregnant with Isaac’s children, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.”
In Biblical times, the older son normally would receive the birthright and a blessing. Receiving the birthright meant the older son would have a leadership position in the family and would get double the inheritance. The oldest son would also receive the blessing from his father.
In the prophesy from God to Rebekah, God wanted the younger son to be the leader of the family and receive the blessing instead of the oldest.
In the story of Jacob and Esau, Esau was born first. Had Rebekah and Isaac had good communication and acted differently, Jacob could have had the blessing and birthright without problem. This did not happen. All of the characters in the story were selfish, and lies and scheming occurred.
Esau was the first born of the twins and was a hunter and favored by his father Isaac. Jacob hung around the tent and was favored by his mom Rebekah.
The first time Jacob took advantage of Esau was after Esau had been out hunting one day and came home famished. Esau asked for some stew and Jacob said he would give him the stew but, “sell me your birthright first” (Genesis 25:31). Esau sold Jacob the birthright.
The second time Jacob took advantage of Esau was in Genesis 27. Isaac was old and blind at this time and he wanted to give his blessing to Esau. He asked Esau to hunt and make him stew so he could give his blessing. Rebekah overheard this, and went to Jacob, and told him about this and they came up with a plan to deceive Isaac into thinking Jacob was Esau.
Rebekah had Jacob get 2 young goats from their animals, and she cooked up the stew. Jacob wore some sort of hair on his arms and chest along with Esau’s clothing. Jacob went to Isaac and Isaac gave Jacob the blessing that was suppose to go to Esau. Soon after, Esau came in and asked for the blessing and Isaac realized he gave the blessing to the wrong child. In Biblical time, once the blessing was given to a child it could not be taken back.
When Esau found out his brother stole the blessing, he was angered and wanted to kill Jacob. Rebekah knew this and had Jacob go to her brother Laban who lived over 500 miles away. There she wanted him to find a wife.
On his way to Laban’s home in Harran, Jacob stopped at a place to rest over-night.
Genesis 28:10-22 says: “10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. 11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12 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. 13 There above it[c] 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. 14 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.[d] 15 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.”
16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”
18 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. 19 He called that place Bethel,[e] though the city used to be called Luz.
20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear 21 so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord[f] will be my God 22 and[g] this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.”
This was the first time Jacob met God, and he realized how awesome that was and put a stone there to honor God.
But even though he met God, Jacob was still selfish. He said, “If God does this, then I will do that.” He put conditions on God.
What can we learn from this story?
- God has a perfect plan. We cannot get in His way. God told Rebekah that He wanted Jacob to be the leader. Had she and Isaac gone about this differently, their sons may have had a better relationship, and she and Jacob would not have had to lie. But even though the whole family tried to get their own way, God’s plan prevailed.
- God seeks us out. While on the run, God came to Jacob in a dream. He may not come to you and I in a dream, but he comes to us through others, His Word, and through his Holy Spirit.
- God uses messy people. Even though Jacob was selfish and deceitful, God still used him to fulfill his purposes. Jacob did not have to become a good person before God used him. We do not either. The Bible says in Romans 5:8, But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God loves us just the way we are. We don’t have to change to receive His love.
- God is with us. God told Jacob that He would be with Jacob where ever he went. He is with us always as well. In Matthew 28:20 Jesus says, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
- God’s love is unconditional. Even though Jacob’s love is conditional, God’s love is not. Jacob did not have to be perfect for God to love him or be with him. This is the same for us as well. In Romans 8:38-39 we see that Christ’s love will never end, “38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
- Jesus is the connection between heaven and earth. Jacob had a dream about a ladder with angels going up and down the ladder and God at the top speaking. John 1:51 has Jesus speaking to Nathanial a disciple and says, “Very truly I tell you,[a] you[b] will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’[c] the Son of Man.” Jesus is saying here that He is the ladder connecting heaven and earth. Because we are all sinful, our relationship with God has been severed. But Jesus is the ladder that connects us back into relationship with God.
- Do you feel too messed up to be in a relationship with God? You are not! He loves you just the way you are.
- Do you feel God is distant? Sometimes we all feel this way, but remember, He will never leave or forsake you.
- Do you love like God loves, unconditional? If so, that is awesome. If you struggle in this, ask God to help you see others like He sees them, and love others like he loves them, which is unconditional.
Next week’s reading is Genesis 35-43.