We all make plans based on the assumption that there is a proper way that things are done and run. God loves to burst in and turn our plans on their ear.
In the time of Isaac, it was right and proper for the oldest to receive the blessing, the birthright, and the majority of the inheritance. But God invades and makes a prophecy/promise that laughs in the face of the proper order of things. Centuries later, the Apostle Paul writes of it this way:
Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger”. – Romans 9:11, 12
Indeed, God’s purpose in election comes through in a myriad of ways in the story of Jacob. Esau is the older brother, Jacob the younger. Esau is the man’s man, Jacob seems to be a bit of a “momma’s boy”. Esau has the love and favor of his father, Jacob of his mother. And to top it all off, neither of the brothers seem the paragon of godliness that merits the favor of God. The deck seems stacked against Jacob being the one through whom the line of God’s blessing will come.
As we will continue to read in the account of Jacob, however, God shows himself mighty to work through the weaker vessel. God shows himself sovereign to work through the younger son. God shows himself gracious to work through the sinner.
The bare facts are that God elects and God calls to make himself look good. Of course he does it out of love for us, but that too makes him look good, doesn’t it? There is intentionality here in the way God elects and chooses, motivated by God’s love for us and his love for his own glory. And both are satisfied.
Our inabilities, weaknesses and shortcomings are like a magnifying glass held up to the greatness of God when he does great things through us. The question is, are we too caught up in being seen as weak to notice God’s greatness? Are we so continually obsessed with saving face that we miss our opportunities to magnify God in our failings?
1. Do you like or dislike the idea that God “invades” your plans and turns everything on its ear? Does this fit your idea of a good God?
2. Does it bother you to think God may have chosen you because of your weakness? To be numbered among the weaker vessels?
3. Can you think of a time when you were so focused on how you were being perceived that you missed an opportunity to make God look great? Can you think of a time when you didn’t miss the opportunity?