You may have noticed by now that I am a huge fan of kids stories. Our house has a lot of bookshelves – and quite a few of those shelves are laden with kids books and kids movies. My own children are growing up fast, too fast, but I think that after all the toys and games have long gone the books will remain. Don’t you think it would be wonderful to write a story that became the sort of book that your kids could pass on to their grandchildren? One that stood the test of time and became a classic tale. Fairy tales are fascinating to me – stories that get passed down through generations and you get echos of them adapted to fit different countries and cultures. Sometimes they can be unexpectedly dark. They often kill off the parents or do something else shocking. Take for example “Little Red Riding Hood.” What is it that makes this story such a popular one? The Wolf disguised as Grandma – surely this is ridiculous! No child would be fooled by a talking wolf dressed in Grandmother’s nightgown! Little Red Riding Hood is rightly suspicious when faced with this hairy wolverine version of her Nan; “My what big eyes you have?” “What big ears you have?” “What big teeth you have?!” Sadly she doesn’t trust her gut instinct and pays the price… fortunately for dear Red in most versions of the story she is swallowed whole and the woodcutter is close at hand to save the day! Unfortunately for Esau though, there is no woodcutter to rescue him today in Genesis chapter 27.
Jacob has already managed to win his brother’s birthright from him in exchange for a bowl of dahl (see chapter 25:29-34) but Rebekah knows that the rights are empty and easily squandered without his father’s blessing. Blessing changes everything! And so she and Jacob trick the elderly and virtually blind Isaac by disguising Jacob as his brother.
“Then Rebekah took the best clothes of her eldest son Esau, which she had in the house, and put them on her younger son Jacob. She also covered his hands and the smooth part of his neck with the goatskins. Then she handed her son Jacob the tasty food and the bread she had made” Genesis ch 27:15-17
Isaac, like Red Riding Hood, is wary. “Who is it?”…”The voice is the voice of Jacob…” But Jacob is convincing – his words claim to be Esau, his hairy arms feel like Esau, the food tastes like Esau’s….
So he went to him and kissed him. When Isaac caught the smell of his clothes he blessed him and said, “Ah the smell of my son is like the smell of a field that the Lord has blessed. May God give you heaven’s dew and earth’s richness – an abundance of grain and new wine. May nations serve you and people bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you. May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed.” Ch 27:27-29
Isn’t it shocking? Such an injustice. Such a scandal. Jacob and Rebekah lie – they deceive Isaac and steal Esau’s blessing! How is this ok? How can God bless someone so outrageous? When Esau returns to find no woodcutter to undo what has been done – it’s too late, his brother took the blessing of his father. Isaac is furious. Esau is devastated. Jacob must flee for his life. I must say I am a little offended by this story. It’s not fair – Jacob didn’t deserve the blessing – he was a crook! He was the wolf.
I kept giggling at this funny little hairy arm I made on my bible page – it looks ridiculous – like this story is ridiculous. Who could win a father’s blessing, an inheritance, undeserved favour simply by being clothed in someone else’s clothes? Who could get away with being such a villan, a liar and a cheat but have their identity overlooked because they are covered by another? Who would be set up for abundance when they are entitled to none of it – have done nothing to deserve it? It’s shocking and scandalous! Oh hang on – this is starting to remind me of another story….
“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” Galatians 3:26-27
It’s just as scandalous, in fact even more outrageous – that you and I can “put on” Christ! We can approach our Heavenly Father dressed in our older brother’s robes, completely undeserving and yet totally disguised by Jesus blood. What a picture! We come as liars and cheats, villans and wolves just like Jacob, and are met with every spiritual blessing! It’s shocking! And what’s more our Heavenly Father is not frail or blind like Isaac – He is not fooled for a minute – He knows who I am and what I have done and yet he freely lavishes me with His favour in all wisdom and insight.
“All the claims of Satan’s curse
Lifted through His offering,
Satisfied through suffering;
All the blessings He deserves
Poured on my unworthy soul”
Salvation’s song by Stuart Townend.
This week dear friends I am declaring the Father’s blessing over you – that you may approach Him boldly and honestly because you are clothed in Jesus. Such amazing grace!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. Eph 1:3-10
Thanks for reading. Much love, Rach x