READ: Genesis 27-28
THINK: If you grew up with brothers or sisters, you can probably relate to stories of sibling rivalry. As much as siblings may care about one another, they tend to have their share of childhood clashes. Jacob and Esau certainly seemed headed down a path toward conflict, even from birth. The stakes were high; a vast inheritance was on the line. God's promise to Abraham could be handed down to only one son, and Jacob was willing to do anything to make it his. But resorting to trickery only led to trouble, and running from his fear wouldn't make it go away. Eventually, through lots of trials and tough times, Jacob would come face to face with the Promise Maker and discover that the promise had been his all along. Only then would he be ready to receive the blessing he so desperately desired.
RESPOND: In what ways did Isaac and his family mishandle God's blessing and try to acquire it the wrong way? (See 27:1 and 27:4 notes.) Why was the father's blessing so important? Why do you think there was such disarray and discrepancy among the family members regarding God's blessing and who had the right of inheritance? Even though Rebekah knew that Jacob was to receive the blessing, in what way did she and Jacob lose sight of the purpose of God's blessing? (See 27:6-17 note.) How did Esau show disregard for God and His blessing? How did Jacob show a lack of trust in God, and what did this cost him? (See 27:19 note.) What can you learn from these examples so as to avoid the same mistakes? After missing out on his father's blessing, do you think Esau's tears and regret were sincere? Why or why not? (See 27:38 note.) What is the significance of the promise God made to Jacob at Bethel? (See 28:13-15 note.) Why would God promise to bless and guide Jacob, despite Jacob's obvious faults and mistakes?
PRAY: Pray for the wisdom and discipline to avoid pursuing the right things in the wrong ways.
ACT: Is there any way in which you are attempting to do what God wants you to do-but in your own misguided way? If so, stop, back up and look for God's direction. Follow His plans by His methods if you want to see His desired results. If there is even a hint of deception, insincerity or inconsideration in your behavior, ask God to forgive you. Then make a change before you suffer unintended consequences.
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