Friday, July 11, 2008

Genesis 33 - Inside the ring

Much like most of the Bible, you can interpret this chapter two very different ways.

Some people see Jacob sending his family in front of him on the way to meet Esau as a sign of respect. That he was following protocol by sending the most important people in front of the crowd. I feel like that disagrees with the little I know about culture back then as far as how women were treated, but I could be completely wrong.

The second way to interpret this passage, the way I would like to, is that Jacob sent his family ahead to meet Esau because he was afraid. He was scared. It was a deceitful move, pure and simple. Just like so many other tricks he had played, living up to his namesake before God renamed him.

If we believe the idea that Jacob put his family first as a buffer against Esau, I think we reveal an interesting truth about fear and maybe even temptation. Here is my rather simple idea:

When it comes to temptation and fear, we will sacrifice anything to save ourselves.

By that I mean without God, nothing will stop us from acting out in sin. I have friends that will say things like "now that I'm married I won't look at porn" or "now that I am a father I won't work long hours." Or, "I'm afraid to tell my parents what I did, so I'll carry around the suffocating burden of this for years."

But that rarely ever works. The reason, which I have mentioned before, is that sin is like to massive monster waiting for you in a boxing ring. And when you lean on your wife or your kid instead of God, you are asking them to climb into the ring for you. You are saying to your toddler, "Daddy struggles with working too much and being emotionally vacant when he gets home, I need you to go fight that monster for me." Or you ask your wife, "I've developed an addiction I simply can't beat. Why don't you go inside that ring and fight for me."

Jacob gave up his family out of fear. Pastors give up their entire congregations to affairs. I gave up so much time with my kids when I worked long, long days. We will give up anything and none of it is ever enough to save us. None of the sacrifices we make change the end of the story.

God is the only thing that can win in that ring. I promise.


AA said...

Possibly a simple, but excellent observation. Keep it up!

dan scott said...

I think your interpretation is spot on. This is a great reminder.

I think that sometime we hardly know that we're doing this. We think that by telling our kids/wife/friends to get in the ring we think that we're asking them to fight with us.

We still need people to encourage us along they way... which is why we still need to talk to others and ask them to hop in the ring with us to keep us focused on the One who can help us win the fight.

Great post.

Campman62 said...

*Fear of anything other than the "Awesomeness of God" cripples our "Spiritual Sanity".

(...the only thing we have to fear is God, Himself...)

~Ok, maybe we should fear Ourselves & Pride, too!

Brenda said...

Powerful interpretation--Very thought provoking, indeed!

Anonymous said...

I've heard this interpretation of this chapter too. It makes more sense to me. Great post.

Anonymous said...

"When it comes to temptation and fear, we will sacrifice anything to save ourselves." That line right there made me say "ouch".

Keep up the good work, Jon, and I'll keep reading.

God bless,


heather said...

As a stay-at-home mom of the youngest variety of children (baby and toddler) I find it really hard to make time for God, to allow Him to "get in the ring" for me.
Partially it's because it's honestly hard to have a set "routine quiet time" and also because I choose other things. One of those things is the internet and I know that's not entirely good. But I'm thankful that 97secondswithgod is here, because I turn to it often to meet up God in small moments that make all the difference.
Thank you for that chance. I need it and am inspired daily. God is loving me through how your words speak His truths and I'm just simply glad.