Who does God Favor
Thursday, June 7th, 2012
I believe God blesses a particular category of people. Who are they? Let’s take a look at Genesis 27. You may be familiar with the story of Jacob stealing Esau’s inheritance by deceiving Isaac with Rebekah’s help. Isaac was at this point old and almost blind and he said to Esau, “Prepare me the kind of tasty food I like and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my blessing before I die.”
(Gen 27:9) As you know, what transpired was that Jacob pretended to be Esau and stole the blessing instead.
When you look at this story from a human perspective, it is natural to think of it as shocking, unscrupulous act. This man and his mother had orchestrated a scam so that his father would be deceived and would bless him in place of his brother. Many may even preach Jacob as a liar. How can this man cheat his brother of his blessing? What kind of person would do that?
But the crux of the issue here is that God chose to bless Jacob. Jacob’s name, as you know, was eventually changed to Israel, which in Hebrew means ‘God prevails’, because God wrestled with Jacob and purposely lost to him (Genesis 32:22-31). Imagine God losing to a man! But God did it so that he could bless Jacob. After that, God changed his name to Israel (Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”) and of course, from his lineage came the 12 tribes and eventually the nation of Israel.
Today, we are the by-products of Jacob’s blessing. From Jacob came Judah and from the line of Judah came Jesus Christ. So, we are the by-products because we put our faith in Jesus. Salvation was given to the Jews first and then the Gentiles.
So how does this story implicate us when we talk about God’s favour or who He favours? There are hidden truths about the provision of God in this passage. Let’s take a closer look.
I want to first establish that we are all Jacobs. We are all born deceivers, schemers, liars and so on. In short, we are all born sinners and have the same inclination as Jacob. Yet like him, we also want to be blessed in spite our sin nature and attitude. We all want to be blessed; we all yearn to be blessed.
Now, how often is it that we are told that if we do good things then God will bless us? The problem with this train of thought is that we don’t do the right thing all the time. If you think like that then when you do good things, you feel blessed by God. Conversely, when you do bad – and most of us do more bad things than we do good! – you disqualify yourself from the blessings!
From Genesis 27, we can draw another truth: because you are born again, you have been made Israels in your spirit. You have prevailed in God. If you have ever cried out, “Yes, I’m a wicked man but I want to be blessed, to be favoured too. Lord can you give me a way out?” then you will be happy to know that God has opened up a beautiful provision and providence in this passage.
Here, Rebekah, the wife of Isaac, symbolises the church, the bride of Jesus Christ. Rebekah is the voice of her church. Look at verse 9, she says to Jacob, “Go out to the flock and bring me two choice young goats, so I can prepare some tasty food for your father, just the way he likes it.” Of course the wife knows exactly what the husband likes! Similarly, the body of Christ – the bride or wife – must know the Father’s heart; it should know what the Father wants. When you know what the Father wants then His favour can rest on you.
And what does Esau represent? He is the flesh. Even before he was born, God had already said, “Yet I have loved Jacob but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.” (Malachi 1:2-3) Today, the descendants of Esau are still pursuing the blessing through their fleshly endeavours. They are circumcised in the flesh but not in the spirit; for them, outward appearances are more important than the spirit. They worship a god through their own efforts.
On the other hand, Jacob represents the spiritual. God ordained him in the spirit. And we, who are born again in the Spirit, are the descendants of Jacob. We are in Christ, the children of God, circumcised in the Spirit and not in the flesh.
Now, immediately after Isaac asked Esau to bring him some wild game, he quickly went out to hunt. He is, after all, a fantastic hunter. But look at what Rebekah tells Jacob to do in verses 9 and 10, “Go out to the flock and bring me two choice young goats, so I can prepare some tasty food for your father, just the way he likes it. Then take it to your father to eat, so that he may give you his blessing before he dies.” The voice of the church is saying to you that you don’t have to run around like the rest of the world – like Esau depending on his own skill and ability. The world will tell you if you want to be blessed you have to work hard to make more money. The world says if you don’t work then you won’t get paid. So, do whatever you can do to get rich, to make more money.
But the kingdom of God operates differently. Blessings come to you not because of your hard work or effort but the favour of God resting on you. It is effortless. Am I condoning laziness? No, but when the favour of God rests on you, God himself will empower you and your work. Where others have to do 100 times, you only do it once. One is favoured; the other has to do it with a lot of work involved.
You cannot please God with your own effort and endeavours. The church today has too many Esaus instead of being people of the Spirit, relying on His favour and grace. So many people are doing too much to seek blessings but in the end, no one is blessed! I am an example of this. For over 16 years in the ministry, I have been preaching – shouting and screaming from the pulpit – and telling people how to run their lives, how to be rich but I was in poverty myself! It was only in the last two years that I realised the truth and said ‘enough of this garbage’.
We have got it all wrong. We thought we have to do many things to attain God’s blessing. But His blessing is like an unlimited reservoir, like an ocean, and you need to just run towards it. Imagine you are writing and the ocean is your ink and the sky your parchment. You will never be able to stop writing! In the same way, you will never stop having blessings in your life. This is the way Jacob’s life was like and this is the way children born of the Spirit should live. We do not rely on ourselves, we rely and trust in Him who is above all things because with Him all things are possible.
Extracted from ‘Who Does God Favour?’ CD and edited with permission from New Creation Church, Kuala Lumpur. The continuation of this article will appear in the next issue of Life Times. Reverend Paul Kumar is the founder and Senior Pastor of New Creation Church, Kuala Lumpur. He is committed to the cause of Christ, passionate for revival, determined about reaching the lost and preaches with authority and real life wisdom.