During the life of Abraham God’s plan and purpose rested on one man. The Lord did not choose an efficient system or a great power. He chose a single man. When Abraham died the vast nation that God promised was still just one man, Isaac and once again that man had a barren wife.
The Lord brought life through that barren womb and this time there were two sons. Esau, the elder son was the more honourable and the more obvious choice. But he had one fatal flaw. He didn’t care much about his inheritance. He sold it for a mess of pottage. Jacob, the younger brother was a rogue and a cheat but he wanted the promise and inheritance of his grandfather. There was nothing he would not do to get it.
And God preferred Jacob.
God’s house is not a computer program and our God has a heart. He chose a man who was prepared to leave everything for him. When he looked at two brothers he chose the brother who was prepared to do anything to gain God’s blessing.
Right from the start God was not looking for people to live by rules and laws. He was looking for people who care about him, who love him and want to be with him. He chose Jacob because Jacob wanted God. Jacob’s motives were far from pure but the Lord knew he could deal with that. A heart that isn’t interested in the Lord is a far greater problem to God than the flaws of a man who desperately wants his Lord.
In the lives of Isaac and Jacob God continued his work. It was slow. Abraham waited so many decades for a single son. Isaac produced just one son that God would call his own. God spoke to and visited Isaac. He spoke to Jacob. He protected Jacob and in an all night wresting match he crippled Jacob but all of this interaction was no more than a sticking plaster on the real desire of God.
God wanted a people. He wanted a household.
And the sons of Jacob at last increased the numbers of the Lord’s family. They were a nightmare bunch but they were God’s own and they knew it. God continued to watch over them, to take care of them and even to turn their crimes into their salvation.
The Lord made his mind up with Abraham. He stuck with his decision through the long years with faithful Isaac and the constant cheating of Jacob. He stood by Jacob’s sons when they sold their own brother and he called them his own even when they behaved like villains.
An American patriot once said ‘My country, right or wrong.’ We stand by those we love even when we know they are in the wrong because they are our family, our friends.
Our God felt that way long before any human being. He has called and chosen a people and he loves them with a passion.
The days of Jacob and his sons saw a man become a family and a people grow into a clan. God’s desire for a people was coming closer to fulfilment.