January 24, 2021
Sermon notes January 24, 2020
Our reading in the second half of last week introduces us to the generations after Abraham. In Abraham, we saw a man who grows in faith. We also saw God’s forgiveness repeatedly and God’s provision in Abraham’s story. Then following Abraham and moving toward the eventual nation of Israel, we have Isaac and Jacob. When you read the accounts of Isaac and Jacob, one of the things that comes forth is how terribly deceptive people can be.
We see in chapter 25 the selling of Esau’s birthright. Esau comes home hungry and exhausted and asks Jacob for food. Jacob’s price is the birthright. How arrogant and selfish to demand a birthright for stew? In chapter 26, Isaac repeats his father’s deception in presenting his wife as his sister. We also see groups of people arguing over wells. In chapter 27, we see Rebekah and Jacob deceiving Isaac to steal Esau’s blessing. In chapter 29, Jacob is looking to marry Laban’s daughter Rachel. Laban makes Jacob work 7 years only for Laban to marry him to Leah and offers an exchange of another 7 years of labor to marry Rachel. While Jacob works for Laban, both men try to deceive each other in chapter 30 over the flocks Jacob tends for Laban. We see further deception, when Jacob devises a plan to leave and manage the flocks in a way that he receives the best livestock. In chapter 31 Rachel secretly takes idols that belong to Laban as Jacob leaves Laban. In chapters 32 and 33 Jacob tries to buy Esau’s forgiveness and lies to Esau about settling in the same land. In chapter 34, we have this account of rape, and then a plan by Dinah’s brothers to deceive a group of people to weaken themselves to be ripe for slaughter and plundering.
This portion of Genesis reveals terrible incidents in these people’s lives of greed driven treachery. One thing we need to learn is greed is a sinful attitude that leads to other sinful actions. Due to the greed of different individuals in Genesis, we see people lose their dignity, wealth, and time. Trust is broken and lost. Families are divided, and people lose their lives. Ask yourself, is greed driving you or not? If greed for money, power, influence, success, status, popularity, recognition, is driving you, then hear the warning of ruin it could bring to your life and the lives of those around you.
In the midst of the history of the people, we also see God! God’s will is accomplished no matter how deceptive people become and how much people work against His plan, even the people following God. Genesis 25:19-23 shows us God hearing the prayer of Isaac and Rebekah. It gives us prophecy about the rise of Jacob over Esau, which comes to be. God appears to Isaac in 26:23-25 to reaffirm the blessings on him. In Genesis 26:26-31, after deception and betrayal Isaac is granted peace from God. In Genesis 28:10-16 God gives Jacob the dream to affirm the covenantal blessings. In the birth of the different children, God’s sovereignty and provision is seen. In Genesis 31:22-24, we see God protecting Jacob from Laban, and in Genesis 32, we see Jacob given a blessing.
God’s will is accomplished no matter how deceptive people become. God is greater than the wickedness of people. God overcomes the work of evil. We are called to abide in the Lord and remain faithful in Him even when the deceptions of the world and wickedness seem overwhelming. Our God is greater!