Why Do People Do What They Do?

Sometimes bad people do good things and sometimes good people do bad things. The end doesn’t always justify the means. As Christians, we should always be intent on glorifying God in all that we do. But, what we do can’t keep God’s will from happening. God will make a way if it’s his will.

The Bible is full of amazing dysfunction. I mean just think about the bloodline of Jesus. Matthew makes sure to chronicle the genealogy of Jesus in the first book of the New Testament. It is made up of as many liars, cheats, and murderers as saints, honest people, and people of faith.

Our sermon this week was from Genesis 27. We’ve been following the story of Isaac and Rebekah and their twins Jacob and Esau. I can remember thinking how dishonest it was of Rebekah to encourage Jacob to steal his brother’s blessing. But, I didn’t take everything into account.

While Rebekah was still carrying the twins in her womb, God told her…

“Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.”

Gen. 25:23

Maybe she felt like she had to make sure that Isaac blessed Jacob instead of Esau. She overheard them talking and told Jacob the plan for Esau to go kill some game and fix stew for his father and then he would give his blessing, because Isaac was nearing the end of his life.

So, Rebekah and Jacob devised a scheme where they could trick Isaac into thinking that Jacob was Esau. They disguised his body to resemble Esau by using goat skin on his hands and neck and dressed him in some of Esau’s clothing so that he would smell like Esau. It worked because Isaac did give his blessing to Jacob.

But, it was God’s plan. There was no need to scheme and plot because God would have made it happen. After all it was his plan. This all led to much hatred and animosity between Jacob and Esau. Jacob running from Esau out of fear of being killed and Esau doing whatever he could to go against his parents wishes.

Isaac lived a simple life. He was a good man and provided for his family. He wanted things his own way and didn’t honor God. Isaac viewed the blessing as his own to give.

There are two ways that a Christian can view God’s blessing.

  • They can used the blessing as they see fit. They think they are above God.
  • They can see blessings as being under God’s will. They didn’t do anything to deserve it, are merely a steward of the blessing.

You see, Rebekah did the same as Isaac, to get her own way. Not because it was God’s will, but because it was what she wanted. She may have deceived even herself by thinking she was doing it for God. God can take care of anything he wants to control.

Jacob isn’t innocent in all of this either. He had already cheated his brother out of his birthright by giving him a bowl of stew. The birthright meant so little to Esau that it was more important to him to eat because he was starving. Jacob may have gone along with Rebekah’s plan, but he knew what was going on. He was even concerned about being found out by his father and the curse that might fall on his because of it.

Isaac doesn’t accept responsibility either. He tells Esau that Jacob deceived him. Really? Isaac was blind at this time, but a blind person has other senses that become sharper at the loss of sight. A goat’s hide would feel like his son? He heard Jacob speak and would have recognized his voice. I think he knew he was being deceived.

By the end of chapter 27, Isaac sends Jacob away to go live with Rebekah’s brother Laban and tells him not to take a Canaanite woman for a wife. Rebekah says her life won’t be worth living if Jacob takes a Canaanite wife.

There’s a lot of deception in this chapter. If there would have been open communication all along things would have turned out differently. Jacob refers to God as Isaac’s God. He has not at this time even confirmed his faith in God. You’d think with Abraham as his grandfather he would have heard stories about how God provided a sacrifice to save his father’s life at the hand of Abraham. How God had come through for Isaac. This blessing that was promised to Abraham had just been handed to Jacob and yet it wasn’t his God.

We can’t think that we are any better. Sure we can look back on these stories in the Bible and see where the characters there messed up. Be honest, we’ve all messed up in many ways as well. We don’t want to admit to our mistakes or lack of judgment through the years. Before things will get better, to stop the dysfunction from continuing to cause problems in the relationships, we’ve got to examine our own lives and come to terms with our own faults. We often don’t even realize why we do what we do.

Sometimes I feel like God really works through my pastor to deliver a message to me. Almost like the message is a wake up call of an action I need to take. Not always easy to admit, but I’ve got to remember where the message comes from.

Good luck in coming to terms with all of the darkness in your life. Just remember there is nothing that you can do to cancel the love that God has for you!

In Faith,

Pam

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