Rebekah and her troublesome twins : Part one - Jacob's entitlement
In a nutshell, Jacob's story is a story of what happens when we take responsibility for God's plan. When we take a sense of entitlement and try to fulfil it in our own strength by our own means. When we forget or fail to believe He is enough, more than capable and all sufficient.
The story starts in Geneses 25:19 with Rebekah speaking with the Lord about the jostling twins within her. God reveals to her that the younger son Jacob will rule over the older son Esau. However during this time God never gives Rebekah any instruction. He doesn't tell her to get involved in his plans yet as we know from what happens later on she feels the need to take on responsibility for the fulfilment of this prophecy.
In society we decide and judge what we believe we are worth, we plot ourselves on a graph based on looks, personality, income, marital status, education and so on, we then use this to rate how we compare to others and what that worth means we should be entitled to and expect from others. In the long run this makes us self-centred, ungrateful and often leads to disappointment. As Jacob grow up he had an over exaggerated sense of entitlement. Was he told by his mother the plans God had for him? We don't know. But this sense of entitlement became dangerous when he believed it gave him a right to treat his brother with such disrespect. There is so much in the world that we should feel entitled to. To live in peace, food and clean water, education and freedom of religion to name a few and these are worth fighting for but NOT when you push others down to get them and not when you believe this entitlement makes you worth more than another person. God does not want you to think of yourself as worthless, in fact the opposite is true, you are worth everything to Him but in the end self entitlement will cause you to lower yourself to retrieve what you have decided you deserve and in doing so you have lost sight of God's sovereign plan and as a result will often treat others poorly to lift yourself up instead of trusting Him to satisfy your needs and provide what he has promised.
Jacob lowers his integrity when Esau comes home from the hunt on the brink of exhaustion, desperate for substance Jacob offers food on the condition Esau hands over his birth right. Esau being maybe slightly dramatic believes he will die without immediate food but still Jacob withholds the food and so Esau desperately agrees to the deal. Jacob manipulates his brother and takes advantage of his state of weakness. Of course Esau could have walked away. Despite Esau's dramatic claims Jacob was not threatening his life but does this make Jacob's actions ok? Is it ok to push someone to braking point and walk away innocent because they could have said no? Is your conscience clear when you take from someone what they no longer had a choice but to give? Does Jesus' example show us to use others misfortune or poor circumstances for our own gain? I think not. The enemy is the one who preys on the weak we must make sure we never do the same or allow ourselves to be used by the Devil in his way.
However what happens next is the part of the story that most remember. With Esau back tracking on his earlier agreement and posed to receive his father's blessing Rebekah and Jacob plot a plan. An extravagant plan to trick the now poor sighted Isaac into giving the family blessing to Jacob. Jacob is so sure he is entitled to this that he is now willing to go to any length to get it and the plan works but with awful consequences. Incapable of allowing God to work they move from manipulation to deception to get their own way. Covering Jacob with animal fur to convince Isaac they believe the end justifies the means, it doesn't, and now they have ripped their family apart. Esau is filled with anger and hate and as Jacob flees, mother and son are separated forever.
What do you believe you are entitled to and how far would you go to get it? Are you watching how God works all His plans for good, or are you pushing, jostling and grabbing at life? Do you feel peace when you look into your future or nervous at how you are going to achieve all YOUR plans in YOUR strength?
When we fiddle our accounts to keep back money for our family or over exaggerate our circumstances to gain sympathy or favour we can tell ourselves the end justifies the means and our motives are right but they tell Him that we don't trust His provision and we believe He isn't capable of working within the system or doing the extraordinary. No matter what we believe we are entitled to or owed, whether or not we feel we have been wronged or what we believe God has in store for us He never allows us to move away from the morals and commandments He put down in his word. Trust and follow them. He is all powerful and always victorious. Hold peace in the knowledge that you can rest in him and the responsibility of the future does not lay solely in your lap. This isn't a call to laziness or to not be proactive, after all we are called to step out in faith, but it does lift the burden of responsibility from us and allows us to give our circumstances and future back to God.
Four ways we can overcome a sense of entitlement.
Be grateful for what you have - The small things and the large, the few and the many. Speak your blessings aloud, write them down, tell others about them and praise God for them.
Stop comparing yourself to others - Instead, celebrate with others, congratulate them on their wins and put yourself out to help others succeed.
Give generously - Instead of judging what others may or may not deserve from you, show God's love everywhere you go and not for what you will receive in return. The greatest act of giving is to give to someone who doesn't deserve it or can not repay it.
Know God's word - After all the only opinion that matters is God's. The only way to know it is to study his word. Jesus is our perfect example in all things, the more you read and pray the better understanding you will get of how Jesus viewed mankind and what he thinks of you and most importantly those around you.