The God of the one who says “I got this, God”

Who is Jacob’s God?

The God of the one who has taken advantage of others to benefit herself.

Once when Jacob was cooking a stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was famished. Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stuff, for I am famished!” Jacob said, “First sell me your birthright.” Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob.(Genesis 25:30,31)

Jacob’s God understands a person’s belief that it is up to her to take care of herself. Surviving and/or thriving is her only goal. By hook or by crook, she’ll do what she can to attempt to accomplish her agenda, keeping herself and her tribe safe and in power.

In this situation we find Jacob doing his thing, boiling a pot of soup. He’s not preferred by his father, he doesn’t know how to hunt and fish, but boy does he know how to cook! And so he does. He was the original “foodie.” I can picture the scene. Jacob’s choosing only the finest, most unique ingredients to make his lentil soup appealing to all the senses. He takes great pride in his ability to produce the perfect meal in both presentation and taste.

His oaf of a brother stumbles in, dirty from the hunt; he’s been so occupied with the stalking of game, that he forgot to eat and now he’s starving. He lives in the moment, he believes that unless he eats NOW he will die. His appetite is so strong that he is willing to sell his birthright for a cup of soup.

I doubt he was really on the edge of death and Jacob did too. I imagine Jacob had witnessed a similar scene many times throughout his life. Esau, the impulsive, hot-headed, now-or-never guy, wanting what he wanted and wanting it now.

This time, though, Jacob has a plan.

The birthright carried the honor of the family, the wealth and authority of the Father was passed on to the firstborn son. With such an inheritance a man was insured respect and possessions. The other children had no such guarantee.

Jacob wanted the birthright and took advantage of his brother’s temperament and hunger to gain it.

Jacob was blatant with his plan to take care of himself. I am usually not that obvious. I don’t cheat anyone out of their inheritance, but I do rush to beat the other shopper to the empty check out line at the grocery store. Me first, I’m important, my needs are paramount, my time is more valuable than yours. You, well, you can get in line. This taking care of self is so subtle and so insidious, it is rarely called out for what it is: a lack of trust.

We live in fear, it is hard to trust that we will be provided for, that we will be valued or accepted, that we will be satisfied or pleased.

We live from a scarcity mentality. Will there be enough to go around? Better make sure I get my share (and then some). We are the Israelites hoarding manna, the rich man building a new barn to store all his excess goods. We guard against tomorrow.

There is some wisdom in such preparation, of course. But the line is fine between wisdom and fear. Are we trusting in the value of our stock portfolio to insure our safe and secure future? Or do we remember there are no guarantees apart from God’s promise to transform us into the image of Jesus. And God will use all situations to bring about this promise. Our lack and our supply are equally capable tools in the hands of God to shape us.

For me, one of the ways the fear-based greed comes into play is in the area of food; it is not just energy to fuel my physical well-being, food must entertain me, occupy me, or comfort me. My day is ordered around trying to guarantee my palate’s satisfaction. I’m planning my lunch as I eat my breakfast. This is a very subtle way a God-given good, gets twisted into a temptation to take care of myself.

Things such as God’s presence, the company of friends, wisely spending my money, caring for my long-term health are sometimes not as important to me as making sure I can eat what I want. It’s up to me to insure my satisfaction. Sorry God.

Maybe you have areas of your life like this? Places where it’s not obvious that you are undermining God’s promise to provide for you, but you are covertly insuring your agenda. Or maybe your fear is more in-your-face, such as a health crises or threatened financial setback. Either way, we need the help of Jacob’s God. The one who stays near, who reminds us that all will be well, whose words tell us we are more important than the sparrow, that we are destined for perfection and union. Let us cling to Jacob’s God in the face of our fear.

Read about the God of the Screw Up

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As the sun melts the snow…

Thoughts on Psalm 9

All my heart praises you; my joy knows you are it’s source, my fear is converted to trust when I pause and focus on your promise of provision; worry dissipates in the warmth of your sun rise. How does my discouragement praise you? I lay it before you and it melts like the snow under the warm sun. You have always been there for me; you have saved me countless times from the enemy’s clutches and from my own folly. Thank you. I rejoice and let my heart rise in gladness as the sun rises this morning showing the snow dotted garden.

Insecurity and doubt are turned away from my doorstep because you guard my home, I can see their emptiness and clumsiness as they depart from your presence. You alone are the one who announces the validity of my life and you have called me valued. Thank you.

Under your rule prejudice and harmfulness are eliminated from my heart. There is nothing in me that seeks destruction and the promotion of my cause at the cost of others. You are worthy to determine the merit and the truth of my case.

In you is relief from the pressure of my circumstance, my days are held in your heart. I know you, you will never abandon me. All my heart praises you. Amen.

what do you fear?

6122500677_3ed6856ee7_m“Fear of the Jews locked up the disciples. I too am afraid, hiding behind tightly shut and locked doors. Fear of being ridiculed, considered foolish, judged by others (and by myself). I remain hold up, living in a bit of fantasy, ignoring the threats from which I hide. And then you show up. Locked doors cannot stop you. You enter and I am startled and a little freaked out. You calm me down…”Peace be with you, Debby. I was ridiculed, made a fool of, judged and even murdered, but such did not kill me. I survived. I am alive. Relax, trust. I have a job for you.” Breathe on me Jesus. Give me the Holy Spirit anew and refresh me. Breathe on me, give me life, just as you did to Adam in the garden. Breathe on me and share with me your power, power to give life or to hinder it. I am humbled and charged. Come Holy Spirit.” thoughts from John 20

Friends, what are you afraid of? what keeps you in hiding? Such fear prevents you from being part of the life God wants to offer the world. Closed doors do not keep your fears out, they only keep you locked in. Jesus joins you in your hiding – to the disciples he said peace, to me he said trust. What does he say to you? He wants you to know that the worst things you fear cannot touch you. He has gone ahead of you, fought the fight, was dealt the death blow and now gives you the Holy Spirit. You have a job to do, offering life to the part of the world you inhabit. Will you breath in the power and breath out the mercy?

MM 3/6/15 Peace vs fear?

On what does your peace rest? Unless it is on the good will of the Lord,it’s likely fear will rule your life. Where do you feel fearful? Where is your peace disturbed? “Lord, when I am overcome by fear it is because my peace depends on some thing instead of your will.” Magnificat

MM 3/6/15 Peace vs fear from Debby Bellingham on Vimeo.