Remember that time when Jacob stole the birthright from his brother Esau? And he then bought his brother’s inheritance with a bowl of beans? (Genesis 27) Classy guy, right?
Remember that time when God changed Jacob’s name to Israel? (Genesis 32:28)
Why would God bless the one who stole what wasn’t rightfully his? Why did God make promises to Jacob rather than Esau. Esau, after all was the older of the two and, by Hebrew custom was the one deserving of the blessing.
In my opinion, any man who sells his inheritance for a bowl of stew isn’t really worth the blessing of the birthright, but that’s beside the point.
Do you think that maybe, just maybe, God knew what he was doing?
In Jacob’s old age, he moved to Egypt in order to survive the seven year famine. His youngest son, Joseph—who had been sold into slavery by his brothers—was second only to Pharaoh. Joseph went through a lot before obtaining his position of power. I don’t think that, in the midst of his imprisonment, he was thinking much about it being a part of God’s grand plan. But it was.
Upon revealing his identity to his brothers, Joseph says this:
“I am Joseph, your brother whom you sold into Egypt. But don’t be angry with yourselves that you did this to me, for God did it. He sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives… God has sent me here to keep you and your families alive so that you will become a great nation. Yes, it was God who sent me here, not you!”
Genesis 45:4b-5, 7-8a (NLT)
Joseph was able to recognise God at work in his life as well as the lives of his family. You’d think he’d trust in God’s plan.
When Joseph’s father, Jacob (the guy who stole the birthright), decided to bless Joseph’s sons as his own, Joseph made to correct his father.
“No, Father,” he said, “this one over here is older, Put your right hand on his head.”
Genesis 48:18 (NLT)
“I know what I’m doing, my son.”
Genesis 48:19 (NLT)
Jacob knew firsthand that God’s plan can work outside of cultural tradition. He knew that the younger could surpass the elder. He knew what he was doing. Just as God knew what He was doing allowing Joseph, the youngest (at the time), to be sold into slavery.
God doesn’t need us to help Him make decisions. He knows what He’s doing.
Daily Bible reading: Genesis 46-48, Matthew 14:22-36