“Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to what I command you.” Genesis 27:8, New King James Version.
In a previous post I wrote that I would share my journey in studying obedience. Here is another scripture from the list I compiled. In the verse above, these are Rebekah’s words to Jacob. I found myself asking: “Is this verse relevant to my study? Why do I need to stop and meditate on this one?”
In context these words are:
a) A parent speaking to a child / offspring; and the “child” is actually a young man. A young man who is old enough to think for himself.
b) One person speaking to another person—not God speaking to an individual.
The intention of this study is to study of my obedience to God. And because this conversation does not start: “Thus says the Lord to you…” I could justify skipping or overlooking it. But, if I do purposely miss it out, there is a good probably I will miss something God may have for me.
As I pondered this verse, I wrote down my thoughts on what appears obvious to me (or the reader) and see where it takes me.
Observation #1: This conversation is between two people who have a relationship—family relationship. This relationship is governed by the eastern cultural standard of respecting and honouring a parent/an elder. Rebekah has overheard a conversation between Isaac and her older son, Esau. Isaac is old, and asks Esau to hunt for some wild game, cook it and bring it to him. After Isaac has eaten it, he promises to give Esau the blessing for the firstborn. After Esau has gone, Rebekah finds Jacob, and says, “Do exactly as I command you.” She gives Jacob instructions to bring two suitable young goats, which she will cook, to take to Isaac. But Jacob questions Rebekah, as Esau is hairy and an out-of-doors worker. Jacob is smooth-skinned, and a tent dweller. He is afraid of being found out by Isaac, and will incur a curse from him father. Through carefully following all of Rebekah’s instructions—wearing Esau’s clothing and covering his hands with the fur from the goats—Jacob does deceive Isaac in order to obtain God’s blessing from Isaac.
Observation #2: The relationship is based upon the foundation honour, which produces trust. When Jacob speaks his doubts and concerns, he respectfully questions Rebekah. He isn’t defiant or rude. He states the obvious—“Esau is hairy and smells of the earth. I am smooth and hang about tents.” His mother does not reason with him, but rather defers his fear and reassures him; based upon respect and trust, Jacob does exactly as his mother tells him.
Observation #3: In my own life I have found myself believing that others who are older than myself will tell me: “Just do this (whatever action that he/she might prescribe) and trust God to sort out the rest."
Because I am familiar with the story, I know that Jacob did obey his mother’s instructions, so that Jacob received God’s blessing from Isaac—even though it was obtained through deception.
However, God had foretold Rebekah that Jacob would be a ruler over Esau. Is it possible that God allowed Rebekah to hear Isaac ask for a roast meal from Esau, with the result that God’s purposes were eventually accomplished?
Rebekah knew two things:
1) While she was still pregnant with Esau and Jacob, God spoke to Rebekah concerning the twins; Jacob would rule over the elder, Esau.
2) Esau sold his birthright to Jacob, when Esau was hungry and thought he was dying. For the simple price of a bowl of red lentils, Esau showed he counted his birthright as nothing.
I ask again—how does this passage of scripture apply to my life? As a Christian, God will send a person or people to me who will give me instruction. The words my parents spoke to me provided guidance, revealed discernment, and enriched me with encouragement because God spoke through them. I still have many of those precious insights in my memory, even though my parents have passed on to heaven.
It hasn’t been just my parents who have provided insight and direction. There have been times when my prayers and seeking have been answered by my pastor, or church elder, a counsellor or a mature Christian friend. Sometimes the advice I’ve been given sounds contradictory to reason—and it is okay to count the cost of following the advice given. Yet, in the end, when I’ve obeyed the directions given, it is not the person I’ve heeded. In reality, it is the heavenly Father speaking, saying, “So now, my child, do exactly as I command you.” Genesis 27:8, Amplified Bible.
Dearest Heavenly Father,
I’m listening. Today I am listening to Your voice
· Through the Bible verses I’m reading…
· Through a worship song I hear on the radio…
· Through an overheard conversation…
· Through those around me who know and serve You. To hear them is to hear Your voice.
Thank you. I love You. Amen.
Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,