November 16

God Still Manages to Have His Way

Genesis 24:64-67 Then Rebekah lifted her eyes, and when she saw Isaac she dismounted from her camel; for she had said to the servant, “Who is this man walking in the field to meet us?” The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took a veil and covered herself. And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent; and he took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

Genesis 27:13 But [Rebekah] said to Jacob [regarding the deception of his brother Esau], “Let your curse be on me, my son; only obey my voice, and go, get them for me.”

James 3:2a For we all stumble in many things.

The story of Abraham’s successful quest for a wife for his son Isaac is the stuff of romantic legend. Genesis 24 is genuinely sweet and touching in describing the process. The chapter even closes on a kind of “happily ever after” note. Yet as time goes by, Isaac and Rebekah both reveal themselves to be controlling, deceptive and manipulative, especially in the subject of the paternal blessing. They each also showed favoritism to a different son, causing rancor and division: “And Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob (Genesis 25:28)”.

We might look at the conniving and the lack of spiritual sensitivity (“Let your curse be on me, my son….”) and wonder how such treachery might have stood in the way of God’s plans. It did, and it didn’t.

It certainly wasn’t God’s will that parents would not be united in loving their children equally. It wasn’t his will that Jacob would become a deceiver or that Esau would have such little regard for spiritual things, including his choice of wife. And it most definitely wasn’t His will that Rebekah would call a curse down upon herself, which still resonates to this day; her burial was not recorded as were the wives of the other patriarchs.

But God’s larger purposes weren’t stopped at all. The promise to Abraham continued, as God was determined to make a great nation of him (Genesis 12:2). Isaac may not have been a model of great fatherhood, and Jacob’s deceptions made for a complicated and often difficult life (especially with his problems with Laban). But God had His way through these wildly imperfect people.

Jacob ended up with Leah and Rachel, when that wasn’t the plan. He reaped what he’d sown with his deception. His beloved wife Rachel made the boneheaded decision to give him her maid to have children through her. And yet…. Rachel ended up having a couple of children herself, one of whom was Joseph.

Then in spite of his arrogance, and the “side trips” to slavery and prison, Joseph was placed by God in the right position at the right time to save his nation. No one could have seen this coming. No one, that is, but God.

Prayer: Father, thank You that while we can mess up greatly, You are still going to have Your way in the big picture. Help me to keep my eyes on Your faithfulness rather than our failures. May You be able to use me and my obedience to further Your plans instead of having to work around me!

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