Genesis 25:19-23 No amount of human cunning can dent God’s plans to bless those who love Him

Genesis 25:19-23  No amount of human cunning can dent God’s plans to bless those who love Him

19 Now these are the records of the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham became the father of Isaac; 20 and Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean, to be his wife. 21 Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord answered him and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 But the children struggled together within her; and she said, “If it is so, why then am I this way?” So she went to inquire of the Lord. 23 The Lord said to her,

Two nations are in your womb;
And two peoples will be separated from your body;
And one people shall be stronger than the other;
And the older shall serve the younger.”

Background

This section marks a new division and serves as a trailer, an introduction to the story of Jacob. When Isaac gets married, he is 40 years old while Abraham is 140 years of age. As Abraham’s wife, Sarah is barren, Isaac’s wife, Rebekah is also barren and so is her daughter-in-law Rachel. And to add to the equation, the chosen line is riddled with familial conflicts: Hagar’s feud with Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah’s disagreement over their children, Jacob and Esau’s blood rivalry. But through it all, God’s predestination prevails bringing forth heirs of righteousness for the world. Today’s devotion teaches us that no amount of treachery and human cunning can dent God’s plans to bless those who love Him. In Christ, believers are secured in God’s promises amidst conflicts and barrenness to inherit the kingdom of God.

Observation

Now these are the records of the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham became the father of Isaac.

Isaac intercedes to the Lord for his wife. And by the time she conceives, Isaac is already 60 years old (Genesis 25:26). Like his father, Abraham, Isaac waits while persevering in prayer. For 20 years, Isaac prays and walks with God while waiting for the timely conception of his sons. In essence, prayer strengthens Isaac to walk in God’s will without resorting to the use of concubines.

Two nations are in your womb; And two peoples will be separated from your body.

Although Isaac’s prayers are answered, Rebekah’s pregnancy is a difficult one, it is so agonising that she despairs even of life: “If it is so, why then am I this way?” The children struggled together, technically means “The children smashed themselves inside her.” The struggle for supremacy between the twins rages so vehemently in the womb, driving their mother to inquire of God. The conflict that originates in the womb rages on even after their troubled delivery, spilling over into conflicts between Rebekah and Isaac and eventually a bitter separation of the twins.

Rebekah inquires of the Lord through a prophet and the message given suggests that twins are in her womb: Two nations are in your womb; and two peoples will be separated from your body. The twins are founders of two great nations who will be at war with each other. However, what is more perplexing is the prophecy that the older shall serve the younger. And the younger will turn out to be stronger than the first born. Here, the prophecy points to Jacob’s domination of Esau and eventually, Israel’s subjugation of Edom.

Truth

Prayer empowers believers to walk in God’s will while awaiting His perfect time.

Isaac prays and Rebekah conceives but only after 20 years. Is God slow in keeping His promises? Or that He needs frequent reminders? What effect does Isaac’s prayers produce for Rebekah’s barrenness? Many suppose that Isaac through his prayer has either miraculously reversed Rebekah’s barren condition or it has some how pared God’s imaginary reluctance in bringing forth descendants after Isaac. The latter is improbable given God’s prior promises concerning Isaac. So it remains for Isaac (with God on his side) to pray to miraculously reverse Rebekah’s barren condition. Even so, 20 years is a long time to work a relatively small miracle by God’s standards. Can it be for a third reason that Isaac prays?

Isaac’s prayer does nothing other than to strengthen his faith to wait for God’s perfect time. Isaac’s persistence in prayer effectively imbues him with divine assurance to wait without resorting to concubines, which in the case of his parents has caused much pain within the family. When God makes a promise to Abraham, He also makes a plan to fulfil it but in His way and time. And that requires God’s people to exercise faith and patient obedience even when nothing makes sense. When it is time for God’s promises to be fulfilled, He gives His people boldness to acquire them. Fleshly initiatives to facilitate fulfilment before the time will only result in further delay and unnecessary suffering.

Many in today’s churches use prayer to bring about their own will, not God’s

Many in today’s churches are helplessly focused on their personal needs and desires. They are primarily concerned with their career, the needs of their family and their comfort. The prayers of churches and their activities are preoccupied with growing their numbers and finances. Hence, prayers are means to invoke Jesus’s authority to facilitate the fulfilment of the human will. The popular notion that prayer moves God’s hand is both fleshly and erroneous. Thus, many resort to praying “harder” with greater frequency and intensity so that God may become beholden to their appeals to make good His promises. Jesus teaches his disciples in explicit terms not to focus on personal needs but on grander matters of His kingdom’s work and lifestyle,

Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:31-33

A person, who constantly worries, whose prayers are dominated by personal needs has not understood God’s role in his life and His faithfulness to provide. Jesus teaches the people how they should pray:

And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
“Pray, then, in this way:

‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
‘Give us this day our daily bread. Matthew 6:7-11

Believers are not to repeat their requests because the Father knows what you need before you ask Him. But rather seek to understand God’s kingdom plans and participate in its establishment: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” So, in establishing the right order of things in our life, God will provide for all our needs: give us this day our daily bread. Nevertheless, to what course should believers pray?

  • To acquire passion and understanding concerning God’s will and His plans to establish His kingdom on earth.
  • To acquire divine grace and faith to wait for His perfect time.
  • When the time comes, to acquire boldness and authority to preside over the elements of the earth.

Therefore, knowing full well that God is faithful to provide for our personal needs, we are released to focus on establishing His kingdom on earth.

No amount of treachery and human cunning can dent God’s plans to bless those who love Him. 

Isaac’s family is riddled with conflicts and human cunning. The struggle of the twins that begins in the womb rages beyond their troubled delivery. And both Isaac and Rebekah become embroiled in that struggle with each endorsing their respective favourite. Despite the complexities and the inextricable situation that forces Jacob to flee his family and give up his inheritance, God’s choice and predestination prevails. Jacob eventually returns to Canaan and Esau leaves for the hill country of Seir; which is Edom (Genesis 36:8).

Many struggle in a bid to stay in the good books of their parents and bosses. They indulge in ruthless power plays, and politicking bringing much angst and pain. Believers must refrain from fleshly conflicts believing that no amount of treacheries and human cunning can derail God’s plans to bless those who love Him.

Therefore, believers in the face of political confusion and rivalries must stay true to the word in their inner man and be confident of God’s sovereign control. The only way believers can miss out on God’s intended blessing is to respond in cunning and vengeance. The devil’s primary objective is to distract believers from God’s kingdom goals by using the agents of darkness to stir up hatred and injustice within us. By acting justly and mercifully, we deal a fatal blow to our true enemy which is the devil. The apostle James says, “for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” James 1:20. By abstaining from anger, and by resting on the anchor of the word, we stay on the course of righteousness that leads to prosperity.

Isaac’s weakness for fine gourmet, Rebekah’s cunning, and Jacob’s ruthlessness in exploiting Esau’s weaknesses cannot annul God’s predestination over the twins. Similarly, human treachery and all his corruption cannot dent God’s plans to bless those who love Him if we continue to walk with Him.

Application

Do you often repeat your prayers thinking that God needs reminders? Perhaps, you should listen to His word and understand His plans for you before you pray. The prophet Isaiah says concerning the coming of God’s kingdom and His plans to bless, “It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.” Isaiah 65:24. God’s kingdom has in fact come for those who make Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Therefore, practice listening to God believing that He has already made plans to provide and to protect.

Are you currently embroiled in a conflict in your family or work place? Knowing that your anger does not bring about God’s righteousness and blessing in your situation, God will in His way and time vindicate and reward those who are righteous. So then, refrain from fleshly anger by staying on the path of justice and mercy. Be quick to listen and slow to speak. In doing so, you expose the devil’s schemes and by the truth deal them a deathly blow.

Dear Lord, I thank you for your covenant with me, my family and my church. I believe no earthly powers is able to thwart your plans to bless me, my family and my church. I make a decision to exit from all conflicts and to focus on the tasks given to me. I command all notions of injustice, confusion and hatred to leave my mind. I trust that you are in absolute control over all things. Help me to rest securely in your word in my inner man. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.


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