“But before they were born, before they had done anything good or bad, she received a message from God. (This message shows that God chooses people according to his own purposes; he calls people, but not according to their good or bad works.) She was told, “Your older son will serve your younger son.” In the words of the Scriptures, “I loved Jacob, but I rejected Esau.””
Romans 9:11-13 NLT
We previously read about God’s promise being developed through the Isaac blood line. Isaac married Rebekah and she gave birth to twins, Esau preceding Isaac by a few minutes and consequently inheriting the first born rights of his culture. But before they were born, Rebekah felt a struggle between the two babies going on within her. We pick up the story in Genesis 25:22-23, “But the two children struggled with each other in her womb. So she went to ask the Lord about it. “Why is this happening to me?” she asked. And the Lord told her, “The sons in your womb will become two nations. From the very beginning, the two nations will be rivals. One nation will be stronger than the other; and your older son will serve your younger son””. As Isaac was approaching his death, and according to the custom in those days, he spoke out a blessing on his first born son. However, through deception, Isaac, the second born, received the eldest son’s blessing. We read in in Genesis 27:29, “May many nations become your servants, and may they bow down to you. May you be the master over your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you. All who curse you will be cursed, and all who bless you will be blessed”. When Esau found our how he had been tricked, he pleaded with his father for a blessing, and this is what Isaac said, “ … You will live away from the richness of the earth, and away from the dew of the heaven above. You will live by your sword, and you will serve your brother. But when you decide to break free, you will shake his yoke from your neck” (Genesis 27:39b-40).
What started with a mother’s question to God, the result was the establishment of one of the pillars of the Israelite nation. Deception was in there somewhere too, which probably prompted Paul to write that God chooses people and uses them to work out His purposes, both good people and bad people. Ideally, to get a job done, God will choose one of His followers, but this need not be the case. A scheming mother, and a deceiving son might not be high on God’s list of choices, but we see as we read the story of Isaac how God turned his life around and established him as one of the Jewish patriarchs.
There is a question we pilgrims must ask ourselves – are we available to God “according to His purposes”? Have we felt a stirring in our spirits to do something or be somewhere, prompting an obedient response? Difficult questions to answer, but important nevertheless. I look back in my life, and see occasions when I ended up in a situation that, in hindsight, had to be a God moment, because otherwise it was too much of a coincidence. I’m sure my readers have been in such situations as well. In Ephesians 1:11 we read, “Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan”. God has plans for His entire creation, but also intimately and ultimately for each one of us. Nothing is going to frustrate those plans. We read in Proverbs 16:9, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps”. Or Jeremiah 29:11, ““For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope””.
So what has God chosen us for? There is a story about how a friend of Billy Graham invited him to a church meeting and let him borrow his truck to get there. Through that simple act we can see a link in a chain of events that resulted in Billy Graham becoming one of the greatest 20th century evangelists. Has God got in mind a similar simple act for us? All He asks is that we are available to do His will. We don’t know what a simple “Yes Lord” might result in, but God does.
Dear Father, we today commit ourselves to be available to do Your will in these times and in this generation. Amen.