Sarah and then Abraham have died, and we move to the next generation. Isaac, the son of promise is now the patriarch, the inheritor of the mission from God. His life is not quite as eventful as Abraham’s, but we see some similarities.
Once again we encounter a barren wife. Isaac’s wife could bear no children until Isaac prays and God answers. Then she becomes pregnant with twins – Esau and Jacob. God prophesies over Rebekah that there are two nations in her womb and that the older will serve the younger.
As we continue through the story of Esau and Jacob, be sure you have your spiritual eyes open. Throughout the rest of the Bible, Esau and Jacob will be referred to many times, and its clear that Esau, the first born, represents the “flesh” of man and that Jacob represents the “spirit.” The older will serve the younger. First the natural man, and then the born-again man.
Esau is impulsive and just lives day to day, with his appetites unbridled. You can see this in the fact that when he is hungry, he is willing to sell his birthright for a bowl of stew. Here he is, the grandson of Abraham, and in line to be God’s heir, but his inheritance from God is not worth any more than a bowl of stew. Obviously, he discredits himself from being the disciplined heir God needs to lead this family into His powerful plan.
Now Jacob, representing the spirit, not only honors the birthright, he has a great desire for it. The deceit he shows is not spiritual, but Esau has given his birthright away and Jacob takes him at his word.
Now once again we see the importance of words. When Isaac speaks his blessing over Jacob, it cannot be taken back. Those words of blessing are recorded for eternity.
If we could ever realize the significance of our words and of our blessings upon our children, we would be very careful about what we say, and we would have faith in the power of our words.
Words are incredibly powerful. They are able to change our lives and to change the lives of our children.
We leave these chapters with Jacob having to escape from the wrath of his brother. Rebekah has him sent to her old home country so that he can find a wife.
One more really significant thing happens as Jacob takes a rest on his journey. He falls asleep and dreams of a ladder into heaven with angels ascending and descending upon it. God speaks to him, confirming the covenant which He made with Abraham. Isaac’s descendants will be mighty and will come back to inherit this land.
Then Isaac says, “Surely the Lord is in this place…How awesome is this place. This is the house of God and the Gate of Heaven.” In John 1:51, you will see Jesus speak of the same thing. He says, “Most assuredly I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
Jacob calls the place Bethel, which means the “House of God.”
Jacob and Jesus are both referring to the church of God. (The House of God and the Gate into Heaven).
When God’s church is working properly, it is like a ladder into Heaven – an outpost of Heaven, where God’s will can be accomplished in the earth. The people there will agree that they want God’s will done – and not their own. They won’t be selling their birthright for a bowl of stew, but they will be honoring their birthright and fulfilling their mission.
It is my desire for our church to be like a Heavenly Embassy, where the laws of Heaven apply. The atmosphere will be like the atmosphere of Heaven. God’s plan can be accomplished from there, because we will represent God and not ourselves. Angels will be ascending and descending into the earth from that spot, doing God’s bidding.
We will truly be ambassadors for Christ.
I know that’s what you want also.
We see Jesus continuing His earthly ministry as He goes about “teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the Kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.” (Verse 35). Notice it says “every sickness and every disease.” Jesus denies no one who comes to Him.
He is demonstrating God’s kingdom and God’s will: for all to be healed and all to be set free.
Years ago, when I came back to the Lord, after a foolish stray into that “other world,” I saw these scriptures with fresh eyes. I hope that you do the same.
People who don’t read the Bible, but think they know what it says, will talk about the limited nature of the Christian experience. But when you read the original and see for yourself, you find that it’s better than they have been talking about.
Again and again, we see Jesus answering people on the level of their faith. The faith that caused Abraham to be chosen of God is the faith that these people demonstrate when they come to Him for healing.
Jesus “sees” the faith of those who bring the paralytic, and we see the faith of the woman with the issue of blood.
In verses 15-17, Jesus speaks of a “new wineskin.” “No one puts new wine into an old wineskin.” He is talking about the new birth. There is a new covenant He is bringing – a true entrance into the Kingdom of God on the earth. Only those who will allow themselves to have a “New wineskin,” or “New birth,” will be able to partake of this Kingdom.
This is bigger than our human minds can understand. I pray that your and my spiritual eyes will be opened to see and understand what Jesus is talking about. There is a power in this new Kingdom!
Bird photo taken by Mickey Estes http:www.mickeyestes.com