Please note...this is "Jacob, part 4." I encourage you to scroll down and start with "Jacob, part 1."
“The most dangerous thing in the world is an insecure man...and I’m one of them.” -Walter Wangeran
Family systems theory suggests that individuals can’t be understood in isolation from one another. We are truly known, only in the context of our upbringing. The atmosphere of our homes explains a lot about who we are. And for many, the home was unsafe. Without a strong, loving, engaged father figure, a toxic atmosphere of conditional love is created. And the shadow that our dad casts upon our lives can actually erode confidence, hope, and the ability to give and receive love.
Unhealthy family systems are why many of us have compulsions, addictions, and destructive habits, as well as more subtle issues such as people pleasing, perfectionism, or drivenness to succeed.
WHY DON’T WE TALK ABOUT THIS MUCH, MUCH MORE?
Jacob comes from one such family system. And we can trace this baggage through four generations. It began in Jacob’s grandfather, Abraham, who preferred Isaac over his older son, Ishmael. But it comes to full bloom in his father, Isaac, as Genesis 25:28 reveals, “Isaac loved Esau...but Rebekah loved Jacob.” Like many, Jacob takes the favoritism he hated to new heights in his own family. He shows extreme favoritism toward his son, Joseph, which nearly ruins his life as a deep-seated jealousy and hatred takes hold of Joseph’s brothers.
Back to Jacob & Esau.
“Now it came about, as soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, and Jacob had hardly gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting.” Genesis 27:30
Isaac realizes he has been duped by Jacob and tells Esau that his brother has stolen the blessing.
34 When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, "Bless me, even me also, O my father!"..."Is he not rightly named Jacob, for he has supplanted me these two times? He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing." And he said, "Have you not reserved a blessing for me?"... So Esau lifted his voice and wept.
Having given his blessing to Jacob, all Isaac can offer Esau is the lame promise that one day, at some distant point in the future, he won’t have to serve Jacob. In the monopoly game of Jacob’s scheming, Esau receives the “get out of jail” card while Jacob steals the “free parking,” the jackpot.
"Behold, away from the fertility of the earth shall be your dwelling, And away from the dew of heaven from above. 40 "And by your sword you shall live, And your brother you shall serve; But it shall come about when you become restless, That you shall break his yoke from your neck.
Thanks Dad. This is NOT a good blessing.
41 So Esau bore a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him; and Esau said to himself, "The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob."
The consequent rivalry between the two boys for their parent’s affection doesn’t result just in a small spat in the living room over control of the t.v., but rather in Esau contemplating his brother’s murder. Don’t miss this; the frequent consequence of a parent withholding love, particularly the father, is...devastation.
I want you to note this, that even 3500 years before the onset of professional counseling, we see the negative affects of family systems vividly described in the scripture. And again, this was a “good” family.
Let’s focus our zoom lens to center the father-son relationship in the frame.
As you consider Isaac’s relationship to Jacob, the boy just had to know his father wasn’t in to him. After all, he was a “smooth” man; he wasn’t Esau. Am I reading into the story to suggest Isaac didn’t show up for Jacob’s pee wee games...and Jacob noticed? Or that he wasn’t there to pass on masculine strength to Jacob when encountering life’s hardships? Or that Isaac failed to instill into Jacob a sense that God had a great purpose for his life? Because as I look at Jacob’s behavior, his life message seems to be “I’m on my own. What I get out of life is what I make happen myself.” We can trace the home atmosphere to Jacob’s manipulation and deceit. The father wound runs deep.
There are things in me that need healing; I am broken, I have baggage and I probably always will. But what I don’t like to admit is that I have baggage...in my view of God.
I’ve often wondered--
Why is it hard to bask in the mighty affections of the Father? Why is it such a struggle, down in the soul, to truly believe that God has some great purpose, some reason for making me? Why don’t I sense God’s intimacy, His nearness, His interest in me? Why is it that some people feel the delight of the Father, they “sense” the countenance of God that says, “I love you so much!”...but I struggle?
God has revealed Himself as Father. And though this story doesn’t allude to the fatherhood of God, what we will see is God “showing up,” being present.
Jacob’s story has greatly helped me with mine. Because even a good family, and a good dad, can create baggage and father wounds. Yet, Jacob’s baggage, rather than being a deterrent to God, actually becomes the stage on which God will give His greatest performance in Jacob’s life. It is not what God does through Jacob that is so special. It is what God does within him that is truly remarkable.
To a man with the life message, “I’m on my own,” God intervenes, and says, “I’m right here! And I will bless your life!”
Blog writing ®John Hever. Unless otherwise stated, photos are not the original creative works of John Hever. To access the website of h2o church, go to www.h2ochurch.org.