February 06, 2011

Fast on His Feet

Genesis 25:19-26

“Two nations are in your womb … and the older will serve the younger.”
Genesis 25:23


Jacob was quick. You had to give him that.

He had to be. When you grow up with a brother who was built like a tree (and almost as intelligent, it seemed) you have to find some advantage. And Jacob found one: he could talk circles around his brother, Esau, always staying just a step ahead of suspicion. Esau could never quite get ahead of his younger brother.

Jacob’s quickness served him well. He outwitted Esau when it mattered most, and he profited handsomely.

Often we consider that kind of quickness to be a good thing. In the news we read about self- made billionaires who achieved their success through quickness and cleverness, and we tend to envy them.

But, at least for Jacob, that quickness came at a price. His mother had always known there would be conflict stirring between her sons. She’d been warned about it by God himself. No matter how things played out, theirs would not be a peaceful life.

It seems that God’s desire was not that Jacob would have riches, but that his life would be rich, with the kind of blessing that can’t be won through a swindle.

But for Jacob to receive that blessing, he would need to slow down. And that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon.

God, we often scramble, like Jacob, for first place. Slow us down so we can receive what you long to give us. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Ron Vanderwell

Ron Vanderwell recently became the senior pastor of New Life Church in New Lenox, Illinois. He has been a pastor for 22 years, serving as a church planter for the previous 12 years at The Gathering in Sacramento, California, and before that as a pastor in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ron and his wife, Deb, have three sons: John, Adam, and Jake. Ron shares more of his reflections on “squinting” for God in his blog at www.squintforgod.com.

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