All of you liars and cheaters out there, pay close attention to this passage:
“After Isaac finished blessing him, and Jacob had scarcely left his father’s presence, his brother Esau came in from hunting. 31 He too prepared some tasty food and brought it to his father. Then he said to him, “My father, please sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing.” His father Isaac asked him, “Who are you?” “I am your son,” he answered, “your firstborn, Esau.”
Isaac trembled violently and said, “Who was it, then, that hunted game and brought it to me? I ate it just before you came and I blessed him—and indeed he will be blessed!” When Esau heard his father’s words, he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, “Bless me—me too, my father!” But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully and took your blessing.” (Gen 27:30-35)
A Surprising Godly Standard
It has always surprised and fascinated me that God was willing to give his blessing to those who lied in order to get it. The sacred lineage of the Messiah was FULL of liars and cheaters! Rebekah and Jacob knowingly lied to an old and infirm Isaac and cheated Esau out of his blessing. To be fair, Esau regarded God’s blessing so lightly that he had already sold his birthright to Jacob for a pot of stew, so technically, Jacob was only claiming what Esau had given away—but it was deceitful, nonetheless.
Throughout the Old Testament there are deceitful cheaters who seem to go about it all wrong, but who still end up receiving God’s blessing. Rahab lied to officials about the Hebrew spies. She got blessed. Because he was afraid, Abraham lied about who Sarah was a couple of times. She was so pretty that he was worried other men would kill him to take her away, so he said she was his sister. God blessed him anyway. Jacob’s sons killed Joseph and then lied to him about what happened. Even though Joseph later forgave them, their actions were reprehensible. But God created blessing out of that.
It must have run in the family, though, because Joseph later lied to his brothers about who he was. God still worked in the midst of it all for good. When he was exiled and on the run from Saul, David feigned madness among the Philistines. His whole situation was tricky, because he had to live a double life in order to stay away from Saul and yet still be accepted by his enemies. God protected him. Later, David committed adultery and murder, and yet God still loved him and accepted his repentance.
If you read these stories, there are two things that jump out at you: 1) God blesses imperfect people, and 2) God still works with liars, cheaters and commandment-breakers. (Conclusion: Therefore He can bless me. He can bless you, too.)
2) When was the last time you hungered so desperately for God’s blessing that you put aside everything else in order to get it? I have heard a die-hard competitor say, “If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’.” This certainly seems to be true with some of these cheaters in the Bible. Jacob was willing to risk his father’s love, his reputation, and his future to ensure that he had God’s blessing. Do you ever hunger for God SO much that you let nothing stand in the way of being close to Him? I’m not saying we should lie to get it, but when it comes to God’s blessing, perhaps we could all be a little hungrier. Sell Out.
Cheaters and Liars
David sinned, and stayed beloved only by confessing;
Jacob lied and cheated just to gain his father’s blessing.
Joseph and his brothers lied; Abram, too, about his bride,
And ended up as thriving even though he was conniving.
These lying cheaters all loved God, and ended up as winners,
So it appears that God can love these reprobates and sinners.
Before you say that it is strange, unfair, or make a fuss:
The good news is, if God blessed them, perhaps he will bless US.
(Of course, these people hungered, lied, and suffered as they waited.
We ought to hunger for God’s blessing just as much as they did.)
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