Genesis 27:41 - 28:9
In order to get my music therapy degree, I needed to study a little of psychology while in college. The school I went to had a focus on Behavioral Psychology, so I learned a lot about that school of thought. One of the premises behind Behavioral Psychology is that we all learn and respond to rewards and punishment (or consequences). I learned that positive rewards seemed to elicit the response the researchers were seeking better than a negative consequence. In other words, people were much more motivated to do what was expected of them if they knew there was something positive at the end. The fear of a negative consequence motivated some people, but the results definitely leaned toward the effectiveness of the positive reward. The problem is, in the real world there will always be some type of response to our actions whether positive or negative. The response may be so small that we hardly notice it, but there is still some type of reaction to all of our decisions. All this week, I have looked at the story of Jacob stealing Esau's blessing and focused primarily on the decisions we make. Today, I want to take a look at the consequences that happened as a result of both Jacob's and Esau's decisions in Genesis 27; please read Genesis 27:41 - 28:9. I ask for your patience as well because there are so many amazing points that could be brought out in these verses but I want to focus on just a few. So, if I seem to wander every now and then I apologize!
These verses follow the story of Jacob stealing Esau's blessing by tricking their father Isaac with with their mother Rebekah's help. Yesterday, I looked at how Esau was very upset and quickly began to blame Jacob for losing his birthright and I explored how we need to be careful to accept responsibility for our own decisions. I also looked briefly at what Isaac spoke over Esau - he would serve Jacob and live by the sword but would eventually break free from Jacob's yoke. In these first few verses, we can see how Esau was already allowing his anger toward Jacob control him. He made the decision that once Isaac died, he would kill his brother. In a sense, he was already under Jacob's yoke because he was being controlled by his desire for revenge. He threw everything out the window of what he knew was right and wrong and became a slave to the hatred he had toward Jacob.
Rebekah heard about this plot and had Isaac send Jacob away to her brother's home. At that point, Isaac gave Jacob another blessing to inherit the promise God gave to Abraham and warned him not to marry a Canaanite woman. Jacob's desire to steal Esau's blessing had serious consequences for himself! He now was in danger of Esau's desire to kill him and had to leave his home. Both brothers were facing unpleasant consequences for their behavior - Esau was ruled by hatred toward Jacob and Jacob had to leave his home of 40 years. One other interesting twist was that Esau finally realized the affect his Canaanite wives had on his family and went to his uncle, Ishmael to marry one of his daughters. But notice that he still didn't take care of the real issue - he had Canaanite wives. He merely added an acceptable wife to the wives he already had.
When we do something to please our human nature, we will face consequences. When we try to do God's job, such as Jacob and Rebekah tricking Isaac, there will be consequences. I'm not saying that we will never have problems when we are in line with God, because when we do what He wants it will make some people unhappy. But, we can also humbly turn back to God and receive His forgiveness. But this also means that we need to turn away from what is displeasing to God. We cannot add something good and pleasing to God while we keep the things that displease Him. Oh, that truth hurts! It is a lot easier to add something nice in our lives and not sacrifice something that pleases ourselves. But God wants us to make more room in our hearts for Him by sacrificing our human desires and then fill it with Him.
Are you facing consequences? Have you been willing to make the necessary sacrifices in order for God to fill you with more of His love?
This post is linked with the Grace Cafe and Thought Provoking Thursday.