WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
NOVEMBER 14, 2021
TOPIC: LET GOD DO HIS WORK; DON’T HELP HIM!
BY T. O. BANSO
“Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to what I command you. Go now to the flock and bring me from there two choice kids of the goats, and I will make savory food from them for your father, such as he loves. Then you shall take it to your father, that he may eat it, and that he may bless you before his death” (Genesis 27:8-10 New King James Version).
“Heaven helps those who help themselves” is a popular saying. Some people think that it’s in the Bible. But it’s not so. That maxim must be put in proper perspective. In fact, one could say that God helps those who cannot help themselves!
In trying to help themselves, some people have ended up messing up things; and in trying to help God, some people have delayed or disrupted God’s plan for their lives.
God had told Rebekah, while she was pregnant with Esau and Jacob, “Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body; one people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger” (Genesis 25:23 New King James Version). Indeed, God said the older (Esau) would serve the younger (Jacob) but He didn’t solicit Rebekah’s help to realize it.
Genesis 25:27-28 says, “So the boys grew. And Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field; but Jacob was a mild man, dwelling in tents. And Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob” (New King James Version). This parental favoritism later created a big problem in the family.
When the two brothers had grown up, Esau sold his birthright to his younger brother. He despised his birthright. “Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and he was weary. And Esau said to Jacob, ‘Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.’ Therefore his name was called Edom. But Jacob said, ‘Sell me your birthright as of this day.’ And Esau said, ‘Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?’ Then Jacob said, ‘Swear to me as of this day.’ So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright” (Genesis 25:29-34 New King James).
We don’t know why Jacob asked his brother to sell his birthright to him because he knew it was rightly his, being the firstborn. The birthright made the firstborn to be entitled to a double portion of his father’s possessions upon his death (Deuteronomy 21:15-17).
Jacob liked to stay at home. We have no idea whether Rebekah, who loved him because they were together at home, told him about what God had said before his birth that the older would serve the younger. If she did, maybe Jacob tried to help God to fulfil His word by dispossessing Esau of his birthright. His bargain with Esau was strange. What was the relationship between food and birthright? This suggests that, probably, prior to this time, he had been thinking about how the birthright would become his. That day, he capitalized on Esau’s hunger and his profanity.
Hebrews 12:16 says we should not be a fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. Verse 17 adds that afterward when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.
When the father, Isaac, wanted to bless his first son, Esau (the person entitled to receive the birthright), before he (Isaac) would die, he, most probably, was unaware of the transaction between Esau and Jacob. The father’s blessing was crucial.
Rebekah heard of his husband’s plan to bless Esau and told Jacob, her favourite son. She taught him how to deceive his father to receive the blessing. Genesis 27:8-10 says, “Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to what I command you. Go now to the flock and bring me from there two choice kids of the goats, and I will make savory food from them for your father, such as he loves. Then you shall take it to your father, that he may eat it, and that he may bless you before his death” (New King James Version).
Jacob objected to this. He said the father might find out the truth and curse him. But the mother insisted and said he should allow the curse to fall on her. They went ahead with their deceit. When Jacob came to his father, Isaac hesitated, but, eventually, blessed him. Esau came in later to receive the blessing and his father confirmed his earlier suspicion: he had been tricked by Jacob to bless him.
Esau said Jacob had cheated him twice, having made him sell to him earlier his birthright. Consequently, there was strife in the family. Under the pretext of preventing Jacob from marrying any of the Hittite women, as Esau had done, Rebekah, with the consent of Isaac, made Jacob flee to Paddan-aram, to the house of his grandfather, Bethuel, to marry one of the daughters of his uncle, Laban (Genesis 28:2). But Rebekah’s real motive was to ensure that Jacob escaped from Esau, who had plotted to kill him upon the death of their father.
Jacob had to stay away from the family for many years. Imagine the relationship between Rebekah and her husband if he eventually found out that his wife taught his son to deceive him. How do you think Esau would relate with his mother, who helped his brother to steal his birthright? She gave birth to both of them but she persuaded his brother to cheat him by helping him to prepare the savory food his father had asked Esau to prepare.
She also worked against Esau’s interest by taking the choice clothes of Esau, which were with her in the house, and putting them on Jacob. In addition, she put the skins of the kids of the goats on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck to make him appear hairy like Esau because Jacob was a smooth-skinned man (Genesis 27:15-16). How would Esau live with such a mother if he got to know the details of her actions? Would there be peace between them?
Rebekah caused strife between her twin sons because she loved Jacob and wanted to help God. But she didn’t need to help God. God knew how and when to fulfill His plan. Before Jacob returned home, after spending twenty years serving Laban, Rebekah seems to have died (Genesis 31:38; 49:29-31).
Be careful! “Heaven helps those who help themselves” is not in the Bible. God helps those who cannot help themselves! Don’t help God. Just obey Him. You could have had a dream of your future. There could have been prophecies about what God wants to do in your life. God may have told you or shown you where He is taking you to. But don’t act independently of Him. Don’t be hasty. Avoid manipulation or deception, which non-believers employ and call wisdom. The wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. He catches those who think they are wise in their own cleverness (1 Corinthians 3:19).
Don’t help God! This is not the same as being idle or lazy. Let Him help you. Let Him lead you. He knows how He will fulfil His plans for you. Pray, obey, and be patient. Listen to Him. Allow Him to do what He wants to do in His own way. Cooperate with God. Don’t mess up things. Don’t complicate things for yourself. The Lord will work out His plans for your life (Psalm 138:8a).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, help me not to interfere with Your plans for me and my children. I surrender to Your will for our lives. Let Your will be done. Holy Spirit, help me not to lead myself out of the will of God. I will not use the wisdom of this world but the wisdom of God in Jesus’ name.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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