Genesis Day 44: If I Could Just Get All My Questions Answered…
As a family awaits a baby, everyone, not just mom, is filled with all sorts of questions. Perhaps the most common: “Is it a boy, or a girl?”
In the past, you waited 40 weeks for that answer.
Nowadays we can have the answer much quicker. In fact, the list of tests an expectant mother will go through (to answer all sorts of questions about her baby) is long. People have all sorts of opinions about the tests, but they reinforce an all-too-human belief: if we can just get all the questions answered, if we can just remove all the uncertainty, then we can move faster, get more done, and our lives will be better.
Removing uncertainty isn’t a bad thing—until it becomes the only thing.
“David, just relax, wait for just minute.” That phrase has been said to me on any number of occasions. I like to achieve. I like to see progress. I like to build. And I don’t just think it’s a “guy-thing” — I think it is a human thing.
Some of us have this DNA more than others. It can create all sorts of issues.
Imagine for a moment that you have this “gene” and you are Abraham or Isaac. God says, “I am going to make you the father of many nations”. How do you respond? My response would be “Great, let’s get started!” I would immediately begin making a list of action steps and questions that need to be answered—so all uncertainty can be removed and the plan advanced. Probably after hours, days, maybe even weeks, I would check back in with God.
Yet the text today reinforces, this is not how God involves us in HIS world.
The text today is yet another intriguing story. Here are Isaac and Rebekah. Two love birds that God went to great lengths to bring together. Yet, Rebekah, from whose womb nations are to spring forth, is barren.
The story of Jacob and Esau’s birth invites us to again ponder two biblical principles.
Imagine you are Isaac. The Lord is going to “multiply your offspring”, and yet you and your bride are unable to conceive. That is painful. It creates all sorts of questions.
Perhaps Isaac learned from his dad, Abraham. He no doubt, knew well the story of his long-awaited birth. Abraham waited 25 years for Isaac. Isaac will wait 20 years, but after much prayer, God answers with twins!
Let’s just reflect on these two situations. God has pledged to Abraham and Isaac this great promise. That they would be the Patriarchs of many nations. This promise lingers for decades in the air, as Abraham faithfully trusts and obeys. So too Isaac.
What do we learn? We learn that being the recipient of a promise from God does not mean everything will be easy. Perhaps the norm is quite the opposite: it requires great faith.
Which brings me to the first principle. It is not new.
What is this principal?
God does the work. Our job—prayerful patience.
It requires a faith where we—most likely with great difficulty—surrender to God’s way, in God’s time.
This is a lesson that I—the man who wants to remove all uncertainty, so I can make forward progress—must remind myself of, over-and-over.
Which brings us to the next scene. Two very different brothers are born. It starts in Rebekah’s womb. Imagine the uncertainty she has!
She seeks God (good plan) and she gets her answer. I wonder if she regrets getting the answer. It was an unusual one. Did she share it with Isaac?
As we get a glimpse of these boys growing up, from my human perspective, I tend to judge them. (Do you?)
God’s Word clearly states that mom and dad have favorites, and neither of the boys look like they possess the necessary character traits to fulfill God’s plan. Esau lives for the “here and now” and Jacob is a “conniver”… Again, this is me judging. Me trying to take control of how God should work out His plan.
Which brings us to the second principal.
It is God, not man, who brings about God promises and plan.
If either brother were the fair-haired wonder-boy, we might all conclude that it was human effort which brought about the results; it’s not—it’s God. I think God uses people that we might judge unlikely characters, in order to make sure we know He is the one in charge.