Previously, we had seen the life of Abraham and Isaac. Therefore, the next story to follow Abraham and Isaac has to be about Jacob. Jacob was the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham. We read his story from Genesis 25 to Gen 38 and from Gen 47 to 50. In this article, we will consider three things mentioned in Genesis 25, related to Jacob.
- Rebecca, his mother was a barren woman
- He was preferred over Esau before his birth
- Esau became a cunning hunter
The Crushing of Self-Glorification
Story: “When Isaac was 40 years old, he took Rebecca as his wife. And Isaac entreated the LORD for his wife because she was barren. And Lord heard his prayer and she conceived. But the children struggled in her womb. And she enquired Lord saying why are children fighting? And Lord said two nations are in thy womb. And the elder shall serve the younger (Gen 25:20-25).
Here we find a few things which have been repeated in the life of Abraham. First is the barrenness of godly women, and second is the election of younger son over the elder. In this section, we will consider Rebecca’s bareness and God-loving Jacob over Esau together.
Rebecca was barren. Sarah her mother-in-law was also barren. Rachel, (Rebecca’s daughter in law), was also barren. All these beloved wives of God’s chosen men (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) were barren until God supernaturally opened their wombs (Gen 25:21, Gen 11:30, Gen 29:31).
There are other barren women also seen in scriptures. Few of them are Samson’s mother, Hannah the mother of Samuel, and Elizabeth the mother of John the Baptist. These women also had their wombs opened by God in a supernatural way. With all these women, God chose their sons (Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Samson, Samuel, John the Baptist) and used them for his special purpose. See table below;
|OT brides||Spiritual significance|
|Brides of chosen men Abraham, Isaac, Jacob were barren.||Israel was barren without fruit.
We are barren in our old nature and cannot produce godly fruits.
|God intervened and turned barrenness into fruitfulness||God through Jesus makes church fruitful, turns her old heart into a new heart, to make her yield fruits unto God.|
2. Election of the younger over the Elder:
We also read in the story above, that God foretells Rebecca, “the older shall serve the younger (Gen 25:23).” This pattern of God choosing the younger son over the elder son is repeated too often in the bible. For example, Abel the younger son was chosen over Cain, Isaac the younger son was preferred over Ishmael, Jacob the younger over Esau, Joseph the younger over his 10 brothers, Moses the younger over Aaron, David the younger son over Jesse’s elder sons, Solomon the younger over David’s other sons, and so on.
Both these pattern (barrenness and the election of younger) reveals that God chose people who were a reproach in eyes of men, over them who were respected. Let me explain. Childbearing was considered a blessing of God (Psalms 127:3, Gen 1:28). Barrenness, on the other hand, was reproach (Gen 30:23, I Sam 5:6, Luke 1:25, Deut 7:14). But God chose sons of the barren woman to accomplish his purpose. Then the elder son was more honourable in the sight of Jews compared to younger ones (Ex 13:2, Num 3:13). The firstborn had more importance. But contrary to general perceptions, God often chooses the younger sons over the firstborns (Abel, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David and Solomon).
Throughout the scriptures, we find God intentionally choosing those who were despised, rejected, unworthy. For example, he chose gentiles over children by the flesh (Luke 13:28-30). We all know gentiles were treated as unclean. But God chose gentiles for salvation. Then God chose sinners and harlots above scribes and Pharisees. Jesus again said, “Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you (Matt 21:31).”
This pattern of God in choosing sons of barren reproached women, the younger sons who were not the firstborns, the gentiles and not the Jews, the harlots and not the religious, the publicans over the whitewashed Pharisees, is explained by Apostle Paul in following words, But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world………..the weak things of the world………base things of the world, and things which are despised, that no flesh should glory in his presence (I Cor 1:27-29).
The point highlighted is that God often chooses despicable ones, so that – “NO FLESH SHOULD GLORY IN HIS PRESENCE.”
This is evident from the life and ministry of Jesus also. Jesus fought with Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes and religious men, who had room for self-glorification. On the contrary, he ate with sinners who had no room for glorification in God’s presence. He made publicans as his disciples instead of people who obeyed ‘The Ten Commandments’ from their childhood days. He called the king as a fox and chose poor fishermen like Peter as leaders of his sheep. He told the parable of ‘prayers of publican and Pharisee’ to drive to point that those who don’t tithe, and those who don’t fast twice a week, will be declared just and righteous, as they will have no room to glorify in God’s presence. He ensured the thief on the cross was in paradise because the thief had no room for self-glorification while the chief priests remained doing their daily religious activity during crucifixion hours, assuming God will honour their righteousness.
Therefore all throughout bible, whether it be barrenness of godly woman, or younger preferred over firstborn, or poor fishermen, or harlots and publicans, or gentiles, – the pattern of God choosing base things to accomplish his chosen purpose, was so that there should be no room for chosen men to boast in his presence. Salvation, therefore, is not according to our works, because works provide reasons to boast and glorify, and God doesn’t permit it. If therefore, there is any reason for boastings with you – be it your unmarried state or be it your divine healing, – be rest assured you will miss out God’s presence. God will rather choose those men over you, – to be in his presence, – who will have no reason to boast in eternity.
John Newton once said, “When I go to heaven, I shall see three wonders there. The first wonder will be to see people – I did not expect to see; the second wonder will be to miss many persons whom – I did expect to see; and the third and greatest wonder of all will be to find myself there.”
Esau as a type of antichrist
Story: When Rebecca’s days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. And the first came out red, all over like a hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel, and his name was called Jacob: And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.
Esau is a prototype of antichrist. We read that Esau was a hunter. Hunter as we have seen in previous part 5, of the gospel in genesis, is used to foreshadow the antichrist. Nimrod in Genesis 10, was a mighty hunter before Lord (Gen 10:9). We have seen in series 5 that he was a prototype of antichrist. The psalmist calls the devil as a hunter and a fowler who has cast his nets to catch our souls (Psalms 124:7). Esau had hairy skin like that of a goat or a beast. This resembles the beast of Revelation 13. Nebuchadnezzar also became a beast who is also a type of antichrist. Esau tried to kill Jacob (Gen 27:42). Like Cain, Esau appears again as the murderer of his brethren. We know that the antichrist persecutes the church and kills many.
|Esau||Antichrist / Devil|
|Was a hunter (like Nimrod)||Devil is one who as a hunter or fowler puts snares (I Ti 3:7, 2 Ti 2:26, Psa. 124:7, 91:3, Pro. 6:5, 7:23).|
|Had hairy skin like that of goat or a beast (like Nebuchadnezzar)||Antichrist is compared to a beast (Rev 13)|
|Tried to kill Jacob (like Cain)||Persecutes church and kills saints (Rev 13:7)|
|Sold his birthright, Did not keep his first estate; backslid||Jude 1:6 says the disobedient angels who kept not their first estate. Devil is a fallen angel|
To be continued…