July 10, 2011
I now have the joy of pastoring a leading church in Brazil, Igreja Batista Do Murumbi, Sau Paulo; but in 1984, I was teaching at a small Bible school in 1984. God had given us a deep conviction that we should pursue a higher level of theological training, which at that time, was not available in my own country. However, the more time passed by, the more we felt this dream was fading way. Inside of us there was a question: God, how can we accomplish what You have convinced us to do if we don’t have the resources? There were no opportunities in front of us, only desires inside of us. In Genesis 25:19-34, Isaac had in his mind God’s plans for his life. He needed a descendant. However, to have a descendant was impossible because his wife was barren. Then, what to do? Could God live up to His promises made to Abraham?
I. God Accomplishes His Plans Despite Human Problems (Gen. 25:19-21)
God’s promises to and plans for the future nation of Israel included the need of descendants. Abraham could not have a son, but God provided one through a miraculous way. Sarah was barren, but God allowed her to give birth to a boy. Then, the promised son needed a similar scenario fulfilled, but another human problem existed: Rebekah was barren. God takes pleasure in letting us participate in His plan. He gave Isaac a chance to prove the grace of God. Isaac prayed for his wife (v. 25:21), and the Lord answered Isaac’s prayer. Rebekah became pregnant. From Isaac’s side, there was faith and patience. He had to wait 20 years to see his request answered by God. From God’s side, there was sovereignty and grace toward the couple. Our problems are not a problem for God.
II. God Accomplishes His Plan Through Unique Choices (Gen. 25:22-28)
In order to accomplish His plans, God is not tied to any human pattern or human standards. God’s answer to Isaac’s request came double. Isaac and Rebekah would have twins. Still in their mother’s womb, the twins fought strongly. Rebekah then brought a question to God: What is going on? God explained and announced a future scenario, “The older will serve the younger” (v. 25:23). God chose Jacob, the younger to be the one through whom He would keep his promise made to Abraham. God’s choice was totally opposed to the standards of privilege and honor practiced in those times. He is sovereign to do whatsoever He wants to do. Are we today uncomfortable with something we never would do according to our standard, but God is doing it anyway? We can rest because He is sovereign.
III. God Accomplishes His Plans Even Using Our Wrong Choices (Gen. 25:29-34)
Sometimes, God uses our wrong choices. As He uses wrong choices, He is not affirming our wrong actions. Esau had wrong values. He was aware of his privileges of being the firstborn. He faced a very hard situation because of his value system. He was between preserving his divine privilege and satisfying his human passion for good food. Esau chose to meet his momentary needs. As a result, he lost a permanent privilege. Why? The Book of Hebrews brings the answer in verse
As I look at my own story, I don’t know how the Lord worked through a small church that sent us to seminary in the United States, provided housing, a car and living expenses. The seminary gave us a full scholarship. In a word, we were barren, yet we saw our dream fulfilled. God accomplishes His plans despite our problems and choices. We worship the same God that Isaac worshiped.