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Waiting for Justice; Crying for Mercy

October 7, 2010
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Waiting for Justice; Crying for Mercy

Genesis 27

How long has it been since you cried out, “Where is the justice? This just isn’t right!” It probably hasn’t been very long; our world is a place where we encounter injustice pretty often. It would be safe to say that we ourselves, or someone dear to us, has been taken advantage of, or has been misrepresented, or has been left without due reward or acknowledgement, or has been deprived of what was rightfully ours – with no indication that the situation would be set right.   I would venture to say that we all have history that gives us a clear frame of reference for injustice. And that is what we encounter when we read the story of Jacob and Esau in Genesis 27.

A summary of that part of Biblical history is this: Isaac is going to give the patriarchal blessing to his oldest son, Esau. His wife, Rebekah, desires that her other son, the younger twin, receive the blessing (i.e. inheritance). So, she connives to trick her husband into giving the blessing to Jacob. Their scheme is hair brained (You’ll get the pun if you read the story.), but it works. Isaac is deceived, Esau is betrayed, family relationships are assaulted -and justice is seemingly nowhere in sight.

The lessons are myriad in this passage. At this point, though, the Holy Spirit has prodded me with thoughts about  the trust factor. Rebekah’s propensity to “finagle,” (okay, to be more forthright: her sin) was rooted in a lack of trust. God had promised that “the elder will serve the younger” but she didn’t trust Him to bring that to pass. When choosing a means to attain her goals, she thought that her schemes were more reliable than God’s promises. So, to achieve the desires of her heart, she put her faith in her ability to manipulate.

We might tend to judge Rebekah harshly for resorting to manipulation, for failing to trust God and neglecting to wait for Him to perform what He had promised. It might be more honest, though, if we admit that she represents our own actions while we are waiting.

I’m sure that manipulation is completely foreign to most of us. (cough, cough) But, nevertheless, let’s think about it just a minute. Manipulation is an insult to God. It’s like saying that God needs our reinforcement. We are saying that He can’t “get ‘er done” without us. Like we really think our interference is going to be an improvement on what He can set in place! Were it not for God’s justice and mercy, our “influencing the situation” would escalate the chaos of this world at an unbelievable rate!  But, as we see when we read the rest of Jacob’s story, God’s redemptive ways and means bring beauty out of even this kind of ugliness.

God did not just wink at all of the deception and betrayal. He did not excuse it or rationalize it or give it a pass. God, in His time, brought justice to the deceiving brother, Jacob. If you read on in Scripture to consider the rest of Jacob’s life, you will see that God worked through irony and paradox to set things right.

In order to get what he wanted, Jacob took advantage of his father’s blindness, he capitalized on the fact that his father dwelt in darkness.  Justice was served when, years later, someone else took advantage of the darkness of Jacob’s tent to keep him from getting what he wanted. Jacob killed a goat to deceive his father. Years later, a goat was killed and his sons deceived him. (Remember the story of Joseph being sold into slavery?) As God unfolded history, Jacob came to know the very pain that he had inflicted on others. That is pure justice.

BUT GOD (don’t those words become more precious all the time?!?!?!?)

But, God isn’t characterized only by justice. God doesn’t end the story with an “eye for an eye.”  There is also God’s mercy to consider. God’s mercy brings redemption and restoration into the story. If you read Scripture to consider the rest of Jacob’s life, you will see that God also brings the undeserved happy ending to pass.

Jacob marries Rachel, the woman he yearned for.

Jacob is reunited with the son who, through deceit and treachery, had been taken from Him.

The hand of justice sometimes comes slowly.
The happy ending sometimes comes slowly.

It is hard to trust when justice is out of sight.
It is hard to trust when mercy is out of sight.

Waiting for God to bring justice is hard.
Waiting for God to bring mercy is hard.

What hope we can draw from this narrative! God does see. God does act. God does love justice. And God does love mercy. We can trust Him to bring both justice and mercy.

May we have the mind of Christ so that we do not cry out, “Where is the Justice!?!?!?” without also begging, “Pour out Your mercy!”

ANOTHER RESOURCE:  (Much of this material was taken from a sermon preached by Jim Dietz. You can listen by going to the Oct. 3 sermon on the Media tab at  http://www.EPChurch.netJim speaks about the beauty of this Jacob narrative in how it points us to the Savior. Here’s a sample of what you will find there:

1) Jacob substituted himself (the younger) for his brother (the older).
 Laban substitutes the older (Leah) in place of the younger (Rachel).
Jesus substituted himself in place of us that we might become his brother. 

2) Jacob deceived his father who could not see because of the darkness of blindness.
Jacob was deceived by Laban because of the darkness of night.
Christ experienced the darkness of the cross to deliver us out of the domain of darkness into the Kingdom of light. 

3) Jacob clothed himself in the garment of another to present himself as his brother.
Jacob’s father-in-law clothed his oldest in the wedding garment of the younger to present her as the bride of Jacob.
Christ clothed himself in our garment of unrighteousness so that we might be clothed in the garment of His righteousness and become the bride of Christ.

 

4) Jacob sacrificed a goat in order to deceive his father into thinking he was the beloved son.
Jacob’s sons sacrificed a goat in order to deceive their father into believing the beloved son was dead.
God sacrificed his beloved son so we who were dead in sin might be made alive in Christ. 

5) Jacob takes on the form of something he was not to steal that which he did not deserve.
 Jacob’s father-in-law presented Leah as something she was not, in order for her to receive that which he believed she deserved.
Christ took on the form of something he was not (Phil 2:5) in order that we might be given that which we do not deserve (life).

4 Comments leave one →
  1. adisasullivan permalink
    October 7, 2010 1:52 pm

    Nice thoughts about manipulating vs trust. Post is a tad lengthy though. Most browsers, including me won’t follow through its entirety.

    • October 8, 2010 12:16 am

      To make up for it, I’ll keep my reply short. 🙂 Thank you for your words of encouragement. So glad that you stopped by and took the time to comment!

  2. Connie Vasquez permalink
    October 7, 2010 2:00 pm

    The hand of justice sometimes comes slowly.
    The happy ending sometimes comes slowly.

    It is hard to trust when justice is out of sight.
    It is hard to trust when mercy is out of sight.

    Waiting for God to bring justice is hard.
    Waiting for God to bring mercy is hard.

    Oh, this is all to familiar (as you know Beck) In my life. I to like Rebekah in the past, tried to finagle and manipulate God’s justice. I am so thankful that He has brought me to such a sweet place of trusting Him and tasted his mercy , redemption and restoration.
    I can truly say I have seen my Happy ending (Undeserved).
    Thank you so much, as always your words bring so much refreshment to my spirit ❤
    Love you,
    Connie

    • October 8, 2010 12:13 am

      Dear, dear Connie! Your unfolding story demonstrates these same lessons so beautifully! It is pure joy to have walked with you for a season while God showed Himself mighty! And the story isn’t over yet! Can’t wait to see (as Paul Harvey would say) The Rest of the Story!

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