When we talk about God’s grace, calling those who weren’t worth it “sons and friends” (John 15:15) and bringing us into union with him, I am always reminded of the story of Jacob. The story of Jacob is one that we would revisit always to understand how we are justified and blessed. Jacob isn’t a man you would want to do business with, he isn’t that person you can trust with your life because he isn’t just deceitful, he does it creatively. By human standard, Jacob doesn’t qualify any good thing and he is supposed to be punished by the law of karma.
When I was a child, I would read the story of Jacob and get a bit upset. I didn’t like the fact that Esau was shortchanged despite his efforts, I didn’t like the fact that Isaac called Esau specifically and demanded his games! It isn’t as though Isaac wasn’t aware that there was other livestock around, he just wanted to eat of Esau’s hunting. I felt maybe, there would be a reverse of the blessings and a curse instead upon Jacob for being deceitful. It would have served as a great moral lesson! God never saw it that way. In God’s perspective, Esau was immoral!
Jacob appeared to be very unloving and uncaring, we see a scene where his elder brother came back from games and was very hungry. Even if Jacob was so wicked and selfish, he would have demanded a share of the game in exchange for the food Esau was requesting. Esau was desperately hungry and was willing for any “fast food” he would access. Jacob, seeing his desperation took advantage of him and requested for his birthright!
It was easy for Esau, there was no written record after all and Isaac wouldn’t be careless enough to will his properties to Jacob. Of what use was the birthright anyway? Esau gave him his birthright verbally, feeling it was nothing! Jacob was known as a deceiver, it was obvious to everyone that had any dealings with him and somehow he even had spiritual edge and backing! While escaping from his brother after he had deceitfully taken the blessings meant for him, he ran to his mother’s village and would still scam Laban of almost everything he had.
The question is, why did Jacob had it all easy for himself? Esau was more adventurous and he had so much strength in him. He was his father’s favourite but unfortunately, there are certain things we can only access by grace and favour, this was the edge Jacob had. God had chosen Jacob over Esau, this is so that He can display the extent His grace can go in accepting people regardless of their flaws. God had chosen Rebecca to be Isaac’s wife so that through her, He would facilitate His plans. Rebecca knew what was at stake if she allowed Esau take that blessing since she had received the revelation beforehand!
Isaac loved Esau, it was on Esau that he had wanted to pour every one of his blessings! He preferred Esau’s games over the livestock at home. When he had requested Esau to go hunt games and prepare them for him to eat and bless him, Rebecca who loved Jacob called him, prepared a lamb and dressed him with the skin of that lamb. From the human point of view, Isaac was deceived but from God’s perspective, it was a divine orchestration. Nature didn’t qualify Jacob but God qualified him!
Isaac was expecting Esau and not Jacob but Jacob came in the covering of the lamb. He still had that voice of a very deceitful man, nothing changed about him! The only difference was that he was under the covering of a lamb that was slain! His voice couldn’t stop him from accessing all the blessings Isaac had in store. Isaac couldn’t postpone the blessings, as long as he was feeling something that looked like the skin of Esau, as long as Jacob had that skin on his body, he received all of the blessings.
Jacob needed not to do anything but enter the covering of the lamb to access that blessing. It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but God’s mercy (Romans 9:18). God had chosen Jacob and when God has chosen someone, nothing will change His mind. Later, through the lineage of Jacob, a saviour would come and all men would be reconciled to God through Him by faith.
This is how we have come into union with God. The Israelites were the ones regarded as God’s chosen people, the gentiles were dealt with as people without God. However, by approaching God in the covering of Jesus, we became accepted because God isn’t just feeling us or seeing us, He sees Jesus in us and He treats us as Jesus would be treated. God worked it intentionally, to reconcile all men to Himself. The Bible says in Galatians 2:20
“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Just like Jacob, we can now approach God with boldness, He can reach out to us and call us “my Son with whom I am well pleased!” It has nothing to do with what we did, it is not about our past. Jacob had a change of name, not because he became sorry for everything he did nor was he willing to restitute. He was qualified for a change of name because of the blessing and the fact that God had chosen him. Concerning us, the Bible says in 1 Peter 2:9
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”
We are accepted of the beloved, we may have been physically stained with years of prostitution, adultery, cultism, stealing and so on. Our identity may have been linked to our mistakes but God sees us differently the moment we enter into Christ who is the rest the Bible talks about. We may all be struggling with certain addictions, we may still be rising and falling but because we are in Christ, we can approach God. While the accuser may say “but this is a prostitute”, God is saying “I see Jesus, this is my son!” This has been God’s arrangement from the foundations of this world. The Bible says in Ephesians 1:11
“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.”
No wonder the Bible says we have been blessed with all spiritual blessings! God had given us everything that is meant for Jesus. We aren’t just a kind of Jesus, we have become one with him, we are the body of Christ and God is giving us the treatment that can only be given to Jesus. We have been accepted of the beloved and nothing can change God’s mind!
When Esau tried convincing his father, Isaac told him it wasn’t possible to reverse it, he told him that there aren’t any more blessings left. He may inherit some of the castles, he may inherit some of his father’s wealth but for the blessings? All of them had been given to Jacob! It doesn’t matter what people around us have, God’s blessings aren’t measured by material things! The blessings Jacob received wasn’t material things, they were spiritual.
Jacob got a change of name, the same way you have gotten a change of identity! Your past isn’t your identity, what you have been known for before you came into Christ isn’t who you are. You are God’s son in whom He is well pleased. The Bible says, in Christ, you are neither male nor female, you are neither prostitute nor thief! You are just like Jesus, to understand your identity, look to Jesus. The Bible says in John 1:12
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God”
You have been given that wonderful right and therefore you have access! It got to a point Laban pursued Jacob to have a pound of flesh on him after it seemed Jacob had deceitfully taken all he had but guess what? Jacob belonged to God now, God stood in for Jacob. It didn’t matter what Jacob had done wrong, God stood in for him and asked Laban not to hurt Jacob. This is what God’s grace does in our lives, God is at peace with us, He sees us differently and as long as He sees Jesus on us, we are accepted. God’s acceptance is irreversible.
Just because Jacob came in the covering of the Lamb, Isaac only had one choice which is to bless him! Concerning the believer in Christ Jesus, the Bible says in Colossians 3:3
“For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
Do you see that? Our life is now hidden in Christ forever and there isn’t anything God sees in us other than sons! In Christ, we have all become sons of God through our faith in Him. (Galatians 3:26).
Scripture Reference: Genesis 25-27