I am the God of Jacob – Genesis 27:1-29
27 June 2021 | George Methodist Church
I AM THE GOD OF JACOB!!
This seems like quite a ridiculous statement and one might think that it was misheard when written. The reason I am saying this is because of who Jacob was. He was a deceiver, a lier. He partnered with his mom to deceive his father and his brother, yet there are a few verses in the bible where God says: “I am the God of Jacob”
Before we dig into this. Here is a little bit of info on who Jacob is
The two are representatives of two different grades of social order, Jacob being a pastoralist and Esau a nomadic hunter. During her pregnancy, Rebekah was told by God that she would give birth to twins; each of them would found a great nation, and Esau, the elder, would serve his younger brother.
Now let’s read what this Jacob character did.
I am reading from Genesis 27:1-29
Jacob Steals Esau’s Blessing
27 One day when Isaac was old and turning blind, he called for Esau, his older son, and said, “My son.”
“Yes, Father?” Esau replied.
2 “I am an old man now,” Isaac said, “and I don’t know when I may die. 3 Take your bow and a quiver full of arrows, and go out into the open country to hunt some wild game for me. 4 Prepare my favorite dish, and bring it here for me to eat. Then I will pronounce the blessing that belongs to you, my firstborn son, before I die.”
5 But Rebekah overheard what Isaac had said to his son Esau. So when Esau left to hunt for the wild game, 6 she said to her son Jacob, “Listen. I overheard your father say to Esau, 7 ‘Bring me some wild game and prepare me a delicious meal. Then I will bless you in the Lord’s presence before I die.’ 8 Now, my son, listen to me. Do exactly as I tell you. 9 Go out to the flocks, and bring me two fine young goats. I’ll use them to prepare your father’s favorite dish. 10 Then take the food to your father so he can eat it and bless you before he dies.”
11 “But look,” Jacob replied to Rebekah, “my brother, Esau, is a hairy man, and my skin is smooth. 12 What if my father touches me? He’ll see that I’m trying to trick him, and then he’ll curse me instead of blessing me.”
13 But his mother replied, “Then let the curse fall on me, my son! Just do what I tell you. Go out and get the goats for me!”
14 So Jacob went out and got the young goats for his mother. Rebekah took them and prepared a delicious meal, just the way Isaac liked it. 15 Then she took Esau’s favorite clothes, which were there in the house, and gave them to her younger son, Jacob. 16 She covered his arms and the smooth part of his neck with the skin of the young goats. 17 Then she gave Jacob the delicious meal, including freshly baked bread.
18 So Jacob took the food to his father. “My father?” he said.
“Yes, my son,” Isaac answered. “Who are you—Esau or Jacob?”
19 Jacob replied, “It’s Esau, your firstborn son. I’ve done as you told me. Here is the wild game. Now sit up and eat it so you can give me your blessing.”
20 Isaac asked, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?”
“The Lord your God put it in my path!” Jacob replied.
21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come closer so I can touch you and make sure that you really are Esau.” 22 So Jacob went closer to his father, and Isaac touched him. “The voice is Jacob’s, but the hands are Esau’s,” Isaac said. 23 But he did not recognize Jacob, because Jacob’s hands felt hairy just like Esau’s. So Isaac prepared to bless Jacob. 24 “But are you really my son Esau?” he asked.
“Yes, I am,” Jacob replied.
25 Then Isaac said, “Now, my son, bring me the wild game. Let me eat it, and then I will give you my blessing.” So Jacob took the food to his father, and Isaac ate it. He also drank the wine that Jacob served him. 26 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come a little closer and kiss me, my son.”
27 So Jacob went over and kissed him. And when Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, he was finally convinced, and he blessed his son. He said, “Ah! The smell of my son is like the smell of the outdoors, which the Lord has blessed!
“From the dew of heaven and the richness of the earth, may God always give you abundant harvests of grain and bountiful new wine.
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.”
After reading this the question on my mind is. Why ‘the God of Jacob’? As we read now, Jacob lied multiple times. Collaborated with his mother, giving her suggestions on how to deceive his Father. When he was questioned he repeated the lie.
So why not the God of Israel, the good guy?
Before we dig into this passage and answer these questions, let me give you a bit of background on my journey to faith. I grew up in what I thought was a fairly normal home. My mom and dad fought a lot but I never saw it as an issue cause that was the norm for me. I saw it as ‘hating each other during the week’ and being the perfect family on Sundays. This was my reference to what a happy and normal family was. This stayed with me and scarred me in many ways that I didn’t quite realise or understand at the time. It shaped me to be a Sunday Christian. I was only a “good boy” within those 2 hours of Church on Sundays and 2 hours of bible study on Wednesdays and that’s what mattered, I had played my part and followed God when I was expected to.
To many, I was the perfect child. I was always at church. Played drums and guitar in the worship team. I was always at Children’s Church and eventually at youth and I was “living the Christian life”. The reality is, I was dead inside. There were many times where I really doubted that God even existed. My faith crumbled to almost nothing. I had many, many bad influences in my life that encouraged me to do all the wrong stuff. It came to a point where I no longer believed that God could love me. I always thought, “I might as well do this, cause I’ve disappointed God so many times that it doesn’t even matter anymore.”
We then moved to George and things got worse. I ended up with friends that encouraged me to do all the wrong things. I struggled to fit in. The only place I really felt accepted was at parties with all the wrong friends doing all the bad things. During this time I was still part of the church worship team, youth etc. All while I was so lost, I didn’t even feel bad to be on stage with a hangover… Just like Jacob I deceived and lied about who I am
I got to a point when I was about 19 years old where I knew I had to make a change. I knew if I continued this life where I tried fooling everyone I would eventually and literally end up in a ditch somewhere. I decided to make things right with God, to fully invest in the journey. Just like Jacob I wrestled with God.
I immediately started seeing a change in my life. For the first time I felt the presence of God. For the first time Jesus was real to me, but I still struggled with the fact that God could love me with all the wrong I did. I struggled with the fact that I sang His praises knowing I actually wasn’t sure I believed in Him.
It was in this time that our pastor told me to go read Romans 8. I started reading about a God I never knew existed, for me God was an angry old man ready to beat you when you did something wrong. I never understood the love of God. I never understood truly what Jesus did on the cross. I never truly knew God…
When I started reading the bible more and more I started realising that God does not hate me. He does not want to send me to hell. He does not want to punish me. Instead, He wants to love me. He didn’t hold anything back. He gave everything for me.
I started realising that nothing surprises God. Nothing we do can catch Him off guard. Not only because He knows everything, but because He has seen everything. He’s been with you through everything. He has seen the worst of the worst.
Just like God gave Jacob a new name, a new identity. He gave me a new identity. Even when I didn’t deserve it.
Now. Let’s get stuck into Jacob and his story.
What is the character of Jacob?
He is usually not one that we would hold up as a role model. He is not an obvious hero type like David, someone who is noble and brave and stands up to the enemy. David owned his mistakes and asked for forgiveness. David faced giants and defeated them. He battled and stood against kings of all types. And on a tender note, it is David who wrote psalms and prayed with heartfelt intent. After all, it is through David that we designate the lineage of the Messiah.
So why the God of Jacob?
The name Jacob means this
Jacob: a swindler, liar, deceiver and charlatan (a person falsely claiming to have a special knowledge or skill)
Rather, Jacob is a swindler, a liar and a charlatan. He steals a birthright from his own brother and then cowardly flees the family. Jacob lacks the courage to face his crime. To complete the circle, while Jacob is away serving his Uncle Laban, the deceiver himself gets deceived by Laban.
Does your family seem a little more normal after all this?
Jacob is a fearful man, often paired in the text with the word fear, announcing his reasons for fleeing Laban as ‘I was afraid’. (Genesis 31:31). And yet, God identifies Himself as the God of Jacob…
It is in that choice of Jacob against other Biblical figures that we learn something of God’s character.
In this we learn that God is not deterred by our failings or weaknesses – instead it’s the reverse, the exact opposite. It’s in those weaknesses that He is strong and can show His strength. When we are afraid we can hear the call of the Lord, “Do not Fear! For I am with you!”
Examining Jacob’s relationship with God in the Biblical text we discover that Jacob is not a compliant figure. In comparison to someone like Abraham, who immediately obeys the directions of the Words of Heaven, God doesn’t give much direction to Jacob. God and Jacob wrestle together, how crazy!?! however God does not communicate His intentions or directions to Jacob, that we’re told.
We also see that Jacob did not give in easily. He wrestled with God. God dislocated His hip and still Jacob clung onto God until he received his blessing.
After God and Jacob wrestled, God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, meaning “he who struggles or strives with God.”
The name Israel is given to Jacob because, in a sense, Jacob had striven with God and with people (v. 28). After God touched and dislocated Jacob’s hip, Jacob was no longer able to continue wrestling. The only thing he could do was cling to God (v. 26). In his weakness, Jacob asked for and received blessing from the Lord (vv. 26, 29).
Herein resides the vital lesson that God’s people must learn in every generation: Jacob’s victory was not the result of his own strength and effort but came through desperate weakness. He clung to God until blessing was acquired.
Jacob he has no great military victories like his grandfather Abraham.
However, we see that God pursues Jacob, no matter how far he runs away, giving reassurance often in dreams and visions, often walking behind the scenes in Jacob’s life. We see that redemption sometimes works itself out in a lifetime and is not always instantaneous. This is difficult for us to accept in our world of ‘instant gratification’ and it’s worth remembering. I’ll say it again: redemption sometimes works itself out in a lifetime and is not always instantaneous.
In conclusion I’d like to end off with these 3 points
God draws near to those who are imperfect
To a character that is fearful, highly flawed and struggling, we find God drawing near, reassuring and boldly declaring, “I am the God of Jacob”.
This reveals a great deal about the character of God. He is concerned with the struggler, the fearful and the burdened. He sees us in our weakness, through our mistakes, loves and guides us anyway, and declares Himself proudly to be ours. Psalm 47:4 declares, “He is the Pride of Jacob, whom He loved”. And that is a very comforting thought indeed. God does not care about your past, but He is very interested in your future.
God loves you. Even at your worst.
Reading through all the big influential characters in the bible they all have one thing in common. THEY MESSED UP A LOT! By saying this I am not saying that you can do whatever and you’ll be fine. What I am saying is that the one thing that keeps us stumbling is our past. We are often reminded of our past. I am going to ask you all to repeat after me. Say with me “God loves me anyway”. Let’s say that again, “God loves me anyway”. Regardless of your past, God…. Still….. Loves…. YOU!!
Who can answer the following: How far is the east from the west?
EACTLY. That is how far God has removed our transgressions from us. We read that in the Psalms
We are loved. We are blessed. We are healed. We are whole. All because of what Jesus did for us. We need to start believing this truth with ALL OUR HEARTS. I’ve found that believing I am forgiven and loved by God is the biggest struggle in my life. But if I could fully grasp this, if we all could fully grasp this, accept completely what Jesus did for us then there’d be nothing holding us back for living completely for Him.
He is the God of Jacob
I touched on this earlier but I believe there is so much more in that line than what meets the eye. Those 5 little words describe who God is in the most beautiful way. For me that means that God truly loves EVERYONE. He doesn’t exclude anyone from His love. He is truly the all-loving God. He truly loves all. No matter what they did.
As we read in Romans 8
‘For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’
It is interesting to note that this piece of scripture doesn’t even mention your past. It only refers to present and future. I think there’s something in that…
I’d like to end off by saying this. Jesus paid our debts in full. Don’t go back and interfere with the finished work of Christ. Just as God gave Jacob a new identity He’s given us a new Identity too. We are new creations through the precious blood of Christ. Accept that, live into that. NOTHING CAN TAKE THAT AWAY. God is the God of Ryno and the God of Pete and the God of Lindi and the God of Phil and the God of You!