TODAY’S READING: Genesis 27–29
Twenty times between Genesis 27:1 and 28:1 the verb “blessing” is used. When reading the Bible with a missiological lens (as is both fitting and imperative), it is impossible to read the word “bless” outside the context of God’s covenantal promise to Abraham: Blessed to be a blessing to all nations (people groups) of the earth. Genesis 27 is not a tale of Esau as victim of Jacob’s deception; it is a tale of Esau’s villainy. Isaac wanted to bless Esau (Gen. 27:4), but it doesn’t matter how many “here I am” commitments (v. 1) you throw around if you are cavalier about God’s inheritance—blessing all nations.
The tale of Jacob and Esau is not the tale of scheming, but the tale of judgment. You can’t scheme against God and succeed. When you are cavalier or disobedient about God’s intention to be glorified among every people on earth, His blessings will evade you no matter how hard you try to please Him in other arenas. It’s all too easy to blame others for the loss of blessing when we must really first examine our hearts—have we despised or ignored God’s plan for the nations? To neglect or evade the passions of God is to forfeit His blessings.
Likewise, it is not about parental blessing either. Some of us will never get the blessing of our earthly parents to leave home and venture to the unreached. Our lives will testify over time that when we pursue God’s passion for the nations, blessing comes directly to us from the hand of God no matter how hurtful the actions of our natural family (v. 20). At the end of the day we seek and will receive the blessing of God through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: “May God Almighty bless you, and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may be an assembly of peoples” (28:3). When we bless the nations, we continue in the blessing of God Almighty.
Lest there be any doubt about the metanarrative or grand purposes of God in Jacob’s mind or ours, God opens the heavens and tells Jacob again: “And in you and in your seed all the families of the earth will be blessed” (v. 14). God’s missionary grit is then guaranteed: “I am with you and will keep you wherever you go…for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you” (v. 15). When faced with the fire of missions that is God’s heart, we can but respond with Jacob: “The Lord is in this place… How awesome… This is…the house of God…and this is the gate of heaven” (vv. 16–17).
Everything we do, including who we marry and the children we bear (Gen. 29), should be centered around the mission of God. When we come face to face with our awesome God, we cannot separate that grandeur from His burning passion to redeem for Himself peoples of every tribe, tongue, and nation. God said to Jacob: I am with you and will use you to bless the nations (28:14–15), and Jacob says to us: “This is the gate of heaven” (v. 17). This passion should consume our waking hours and infiltrate our sleep. To live at the gate of heaven is to live and die for the gospel reaching all peoples of the earth.