Bless not Grudge

Genesis 27:41-46

41 Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.”

42 When Rebekah was told what her older son Esau had said, she sent for her younger son Jacob and said to him, “Your brother Esau is planning to avenge himself by killing you. 43 Now then, my son, do what I say: Flee at once to my brother Laban in Harran. 44 Stay with him for a while until your brother’s fury subsides. 45 When your brother is no longer angry with you and forgets what you did to him, I’ll send word for you to come back from there. Why should I lose both of you in one day?”

46 Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I’m disgusted with living because of these Hittite women. If Jacob takes a wife from among the women of this land, from Hittite women like these, my life will not be worth living.”

Not First Honor

No human being is perfect. We agree that we have failures. Failure proves our limitation. Failure is a great learning process that we have to navigate.

What was it that you’ve done with your best effort but your best falls short and it resulted to failure? Were you frustrated or disappointed by that failure?

A student had consistently earned the most excellent honors since her first grade school. During elementary graduation, she was expected to receive the highest honor just like in her lower grade school. Unfortunately, her efforts were not enough and awarded second. The highest honor was given to someone else.

Subsequently, instead of celebration for her second highest honor award, there was no rejoicing for what her best effort deserved. Her grandmother who had doctorate in Education and held an important position in that community did not hide her frustration and disappointment for the turn of events.

Someone said, “Expectation is the mother of frustration.” Or is it grandmother?

Paul explained in Romans 8:20-21, For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

The Greek word for ‘frustration’ can be morally interpreted as “depravity.” Depravity is the state of being morally bad, evil, or corrupt. It is abandonment of what is good. Frustration is preference to stay away from goodness. Every aspect of life has been affected by sinful nature. We are totally depraved and morally corrupt. When we are frustrated, depravity or sinfulness controls us.

Who can free us from the control, influence or pressure of sin?

Who can rescue when we are frustrated?

The Lord Jesus teaches in John 8:31-36, 31“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” 34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.  36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

The Lord Jesus is the Truth. He can rescue and free us from the slavery of sin. To confess Christ as our Lord is to allow Him perform His lordship over us. So, if we let Him performs His lordship over us, Christ the Truth will set us free from sin even from frustration. If frustration controls us, it can turn to grudge.

Esau was frustrated that his blessing was far less desirable than Jacob’s blessing. His frustration turned to grudge that turned to anger. Anger is deadly.

1. Angry

41 Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.”

Esau did his best effort to hunt for the finest game in the wild. He prepared the food meticulously. Yet, when he presented before his father what he worked hard for, it was ignored. He cried blessing but got nothing.  That’s frustrating!

Esau desired a blessing similar to what Jacob received but Isaac declared in Genesis 27:39-40, “Your dwelling will be away from the earth’s richness, away from the dew of heaven above. You will live by the sword and you will serve your brother. But when you grow restless, you will throw his yoke from off your neck.”

That was no blessing at all! Esau was not thankful for what he received from his father. His expectation of similar blessing to what Jacob received turned into frustration that progressed into deadly grudge. The grudge that Esau held against Jacob was deadly as implied by his plan to kill Jacob.

The Lord Jesus declared in Matthew 5:21-22, 21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

In the eyes of the Lord, deadly anger and murder have the same punishment. Of course, everyone has a share of anger but one can be angry and not sin. Before anger becomes deadly, we need to ask Christ to rule our hearts. When Christ’s Spirit prevails in us, we can have love instead of anger, we can bless others instead of grudge, and we can have peace instead of frustration.

The frustration of Esau for all the efforts he exerted is a picture of believers who who serve in the ministry on their own volition or choice. This lesson is also applicable even when pursuing personal advancement. There’s frustration and disappointment when we rely upon our limited ability. Rely upon Christ!

Career Path

One tricky and puzzling situation for most students is when choosing what career path to take. While a few may consult career counselors, practical-minded people would prefer popular and marketable careers to earn more money. While some may have success with such kind of mindset, others have failed.

As believers in Christ, choosing career path should be a lifestyle that would testify to Christ as Lord of our life. If Christ is Lord of lords, He had prepared the best career path for us, right? And, there’s no command for believers to pursue successful career. And no eternal reward prepared for material success.

It encourages us to pray in Psalm 118:25-26,  25Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success! 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Blessedness is success that comes from the Lord. Successful career and wealth are useful! Everyone wants it! Yet, while the Lord has vast range of possibilities of career paths that He wants us to take, He never required wealth and successful career as proof of His work in our life.

It says in 2 Peter 1:5-9, 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

Consider this: The Lord Jesus has chosen Apostles with different career backgrounds. James and John were successful big-time fishermen but Peter and Andrew were small time fishermen. Matthew was a tax collector who could financially successful but Judas Iscariot who dreamed to be financially successful fall into the trap of “love of money.” Love of money is a deadly trap!

Esau was frustrated because he desired to have similar blessing that Jacob received. Envy turned to grudge that turned to anger that progressed into avenging spirit which is opposed to the fruit of the Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace…).

2. Avenge

42 When Rebekah was told what her older son Esau had said, she sent for her younger son Jacob and said to him, “Your brother Esau is planning to avenge himself by killing you. 43 Now then, my son, do what I say: Flee at once to my brother Laban in Harran. 44 Stay with him for a while until your brother’s fury subsides. 45 When your brother is no longer angry with you and forgets what you did to him, I’ll send word for you to come back from there. Why should I lose both of you in one day?”

Esau secretly planned to kill Jacob but Rebekah heard about it? How did it happen? Esau may have secretly planned to avenge himself by killing Jacob, but his angry attitude may have exposed his plan. Or unconsciously, blurted it out.

Previously, Jacob told his mother Rebekah that deceiving his blind father may bring curse. Rebekah responded, “Let the curse fall on me.” Indeed, the curse of deception has fallen on her when she advised her favorite son Jacob to flee. Instead of being together to cherish the blessing Jacob had received, they were separated for fear of Esau’s vengeance. It’s heart-breaking to Rebekah.

Missing Person

Do you prefer to be separated from your love ones? No, of course!

Many persons were reported missing. We can only imagine the agony of loneliness their love ones may endure while waiting for updates or developments.

Children: Please, understand that when parents tell you to go home early, they are actually worried of possible unwanted circumstances. Not many parents are expert in expressing their love and care. Some parents get angry when children don’t inform their parents of their whereabouts because they are worried.

When Jacob was separated from his parents, he may not have the same magnitude of sorrow that his mother Rebekah felt at that time. He was more concerned of his safety from the avenging spirit of his older brother Esau.

But, Jacob may have understood his mother’s sorrow of being separated when he himself was separated from his favorite son Joseph. During the severe famine, Jacob’s sons went to Egypt to buy food. When they returned to Canaan, they reported that their brother Simeon was imprisoned, and for him to be freed, they were required to bring to Egypt their youngest brother Benjamin.

Jacob expressed the agony and sorrow he had that his other sons were separated from him. He said in Genesis 43:36, 38, “You have deprived me of my children. Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more, and now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is against me! My son will not go down there with you; his brother is dead and he is the only one left. If harm comes to him on the journey you are taking, you will bring my gray head down to the grave in sorrow.”

Separation from love ones may certainly cause sorrow and anxiousness.

Rebekah was worried of Jacob’s safety that she told him to escape to her brother in Harran. It wasn’t mentioned that she was depressed by separation as mother and son. She was more anxious that Jacob might marry Hittite woman like Esau.

3. Anxious

46 Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I’m disgusted with living because of these Hittite women. If Jacob takes a wife from among the women of this land, from Hittite women like these, my life will not be worth living.”

The Hebrew term for the word “disgusted” can also be interpreted as “anxious, distress, grieve, or weary.” Esau’s Hittite wives brought anxiousness and grief to his parents. The lifestyle of Esau’s Hittite wives was disgusting to Rebekah, and she did not let Jacob to get a wife from the Hittite women.

Rebekah told Isaac that if Jacob marries from among the women in Canaan, her life was not worth living. What did she imply with it? Did she present such argument for Isaac to allow Jacob to go to Harran? Did Rebekah suggest that her lifestyle should be a model to women who marry her twin sons?

It says in Proverbs 12:4, A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.

And in Proverbs 31:10,  A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.

King Solomon wrote these proverbs from experience. He married many non-Israelites women and his spiritual life had deteriorated.

We can easily look around us and know that many Christians, men and women, who have unbeliever spouses have undesirable situations. They have struggled in their spiritual life, and find it difficult for them to attend church.

It helps to be careful and prayerful when choosing a future partner in life.

Have you listed qualifications of your preferred future partner in life?

Remember: Frustration is not absent when you have too much expectation.

Qualifications are helpful insight but should not be the main factor when choosing your future partner. It says in Jeremiah 17:9, The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

Do you agree that Christ is interested in choosing your future partner?

Then, pray that you will sense and identify the right person that the Lord has chosen to be your future partner instead of holding onto your preferences.

When accepted Christ as our Savior and Lord, we are reminded that we have been set free from the control of sinful nature. It says in Romans 4:8, 8Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.

Blessedness is supreme happiness that comes from the forgiveness of sins including pressure of frustration. Keep praying that Christ will empower you so that frustration, grudge, or anger won’t control you, and that you’ll eventually experience joy and peace as proofs that Christ reigns as Lord of your life.

As we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, Isaiah 53:4-6 reminds us: 4Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

The pain and agony of failure, Christ has taken them to the cross. Failure, guilt, disobedience, anger, grudges, frustrations—our depravity are iniquities the Lord laid on Christ to be crucified and punished. We believe it! Therefore, we are freed and blessed! Let joy and peace prevail in each believer’s heart! Amen!

<‘)))>< ltsii/2018 ><(((‘>

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