And if that statement is in any way shocking to you, perhaps you should re-read Mark, Matthew, Luke, or John. Really, the idea that Christians should be comfy and in-control is an idea that has been squashed since Jesus was telling parables and healing lepers. Well, actually, Jesus was simply continuing on what God had shown the Israelites in the Torah (the first 5 books of the Bible).
“But, sir, if we don’t vote and make sure our way of life is fought for by government agencies, then what’ll we do?” some may be asking.
Yes. What shall we do with a mighty God directing our steps through Whom death and sin have been defeated once and for all?
Really, Jacob had this same issue. Yes, we’re still going with Genesis, I write what I read, don’t ya know? See, Rabbi Sacks points out that Jacob had an issue… an identity issue. He wanted to be Esau. Jacob saw that Esau was strong, agile, and had the love of Isaac. Jacob wasn’t really any of those things, but in the first case of identity theft, Jacob dresses as Esau, assumes his identity, and gains a blessing that wasn’t his.
Here’s the blessing meant for Esau that Jacob obtained through deceit: “May God give you/ Of the dew of heaven and the fat of the earth,/ Abundance of new grain and wine./ Let peoples serve you,/ And nations bow to you;/ Be master over your brothers,/ And let your mother’s sons bow to you.” Genesis 27.28-29
Here’s the blessing that Isaac gives Jacob when he knows it’s Jacob: ” “May El Shaddai bless you, make you fertile and numerous, so that you become an assembly of peoples. May He grant the blessing of Abraham to you and your offspring, that you may possess the land where you are sojourning, which God assigned to Abraham.” Gen. 28.3-4
These are two very different blessings. Esau’s is one of power and wealth, whereas Jacob’s is the covenant blessing of land and family. In fact, Jacob ends up enacting Esau’s blessing by gifting to Esau flocks, herds, and goods and bowing to Esau seven times. Jacob literally gives back the blessing after God wrestles with him to show him who he really was. Jacob, once he let go of being Esau, became Israel, who refused to let go of God, and who knew God refused to let go of him.
Jesus did not give blessings of wealth or power. In fact, he often thwarted wealth and power, telling people to give it away and become servants. Jesus’ modern follower has gotten very used to holding onto power and covenant. There may come a time, such as now, when he and she have to make a choice what he and she cling to. Will we hold tightly to a blessing that isn’t ours, or will we cling to God and claim our place in the covenant?
So to those who are angry at the answer to how you voted, or whether you voted at all, remind them that God is still God. His is not a democratically elected position. (And thank God for that.)
How do you address the way power works in our culture? How do you model being a servant in your home? Do you have an Esau you are trying to cling to? How is God wrestling you into the person you’re meant to be?
Photo Credit: Raffaellino Bottalla – Meeting between Esau and Jacob – Google Art Project.jpg