THE STORY OF JACOB
In the life of this man is bound the life of every man: its experience of benevolence and greed, love and disdain—joy
and sorrow. But above it all was his communion with the GOD of his fathers Abraham and Isaac.
Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban
the Syrian. And Isaac entreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was entreated of him, and Rebekah
his wife conceived. And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went
to inquire of the LORD. And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated
from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger. And when
her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. And the first came out red, all over like an
hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel;
and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them. And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning
hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his
venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.” Gen.25:20-28.
Many lessons may be drawn from the above passage. In the case of Esau, Isaac was very grateful that his eldest son
was strong and able to survive. Many fathers today groom their sons to be as Esau: to be strong, and tough enough to stand
on their own in this world. Many even force their sons into playing sports for their innate need to see their sons have victory
in a competitive world. But in the case of Jacob, he was what we call a “mama's boy.” The LORD’S words
to Rebekah sealed her decisions to favor Jacob. But in Jacob’s upbringing she indulged a favoritism that fostered an
ambition that crossed the boundary of heavenly virtue that set in motion events that would traumatize the whole family.
In these generations one of the most important
customs was the birthright. The eldest son was always the recipient of the favored inheritance. Along with this custom was
the father’s blessing when his years were nearing their end. In this family tradition Jacob’s ambition was relentless.
And Satan was eager to feed this lust with fierce temptation: to the end that he might bring ruin to GOD’S chosen family.
When Esau returned home without food and was exhausted and faint from hunger, Jacob seized this opportunity to secure the
“And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field,
and he was faint: And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was
his name called Edom. And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and
what profit shall this birthright do to me? And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright
unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus
Esau despised his birthright.” Gen.25:29-34.
Had Jacob been benevolent toward Esau the LORD would’ve worked out the prophecy of Jacob’s securing the
birthright without a trace of immorality. But “he that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house.” Prov.15:27.
The years passed away
and Isaac was now old. His eyesight diminished, now was the time when the father’s blessing was to pass to the son.
When Isaac sent Esau to get the venison he so loved he promised at his return that the blessing would be given to Esau. This
was the opportunity that Rebekah had hoped for. She commanded Jacob to impersonate Esau and rob his brother if the father’s
blessing. She quickly prepared Isaac's favorite food. Then Jacob was clothed in Esau’s clothing with the smell that
Isaac was very familiar. She then put goat skins on Jacob’s hands and neck, for Esau was a hairy man. When Jacob entered
Isaac’s presence the voice was that of Jacob’s but the smell and feel was that of Esau. So Isaac gave Jacob the
“And his father Isaac said unto him, Come near now, and
kiss me, my son. And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See,
the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed: Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven,
and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over
thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that
blesseth thee.” Gen.27:26-29
Esau returned and learned of Jacob’s betrayal the wrath of Esau came against his little brother. He planned that after
Isaac’s death that Jacob would die at his hand. Rebekah got word of this and planned for Jacob to go live with her brother
Laban. And Isaac concurred with Rebekah:
“And Isaac called Jacob,
and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Padanaram,
to the house of Bethuel thy mother's father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother's
brother. And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people;
And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou
art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham.” Gen.28:1-4.
Great wisdom is to be found in the lesson of marital compatibility. We don’t just marry an individual. We marry
into a family’s inherent character whose history shows traits that are either compatible or incompatible with one’s
personal tastes and burdens.
had to flee for his life. And Rebekah would never see her beloved son again.
Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because
the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.
And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God
ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and
the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; And thy seed shall be as the dust
of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and
in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places
whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have
spoken to thee of. And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not. And
he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.
And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and
poured oil upon the top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the
first. And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread
to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God: And
this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give
the tenth unto thee.” Gen.28:10-22.
What a profound vision! The LORD wisely chose a ladder to represent the manner of angels traveling from heaven to Earth.
Paul identified their purpose in carrying out the commandments of GOD: "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth
to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" Heb.1:14. The LORD has always chosen things familiar to us to
educate our understanding of salvation. Jesus Christ likewise used what was familiar to the people in His lessons.
The blessing of Isaac was precious to Jacob.
The comfort he felt—the hope that drew a perseverance to succeed. But how much more precious the personal blessing of
the GOD of Heaven! With the many tests that were to come to Jacob he relied on these promises to see him through every event
of his life. And when he was called by GOD to return to his land the last and final test was placed in his path.
“And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. And when Jacob saw
them, he said, This is God's host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim. And Jacob sent messengers before him
to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom. And he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye speak unto my
lord Esau; Thy servant Jacob saith thus, I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed there until now: And I have oxen, and asses,
flocks, and menservants, and womenservants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight. And the messengers
returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him. Then
Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed… And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the
LORD which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee: I am not worthy of
the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast showed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over
this Jordan; and now I am become two bands. Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for
I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children. And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good,
and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude… And Jacob was left alone; and there
wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow
of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the
day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said,
Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with
men, and hast prevailed… And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God
face to face, and my life is preserved. And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh…
And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men. And he divided the children
unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto the two handmaids. And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and
her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost. And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven
times, until he came near to his brother. And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him:
and they wept.” Gen.32:1-32; 33:1-4.
The LORD had to prepare the heart of Esau to receive his little brother. A key factor in winning Esau’s favor
was when he saw Jacob walking with a severe limp. In this, the LORD drew the heartstrings of compassion from the strong and
vivacious Esau when he saw how frail his little brother was. So not only did Israel prevail but the LORD made his way a sure
way: one that would always stand secure in the end.
Israel was to go through many more heartaches. Some he brought on himself while others were imposed on him in Satan’s
work to bring ruin to GOD’S chosen family. But in the end, Jacob’s family would receive the fulfillment of the
promise given to Abraham that from his loins would come the “Messiah the Prince”—“the Saviour of the
world,” whose victory over sin and the grave would one day bring a family reunion: an eternal gathering, not only of
the faithful among the family of Abraham, but of everyone, Jew and Gentile alike whose hearts lived out their lives to serve
the love and glory of GOD.