How we moved from curse to blessing

racing-car-374361_640Deuteronomy 28:3: Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. (ESV)

The one who is blessed has an advantage above others. That was why Esau was livid when he learnt that Jacob had taken away the blessing that he was promised (Genesis 27-28).

And in the interaction between the players in that story (Jacob, Esau, Rebecca, and Isaac), we can gain a better understanding of the blessing we have in Jesus.

While Isaac asked that Esau go out, work hard for the blessing, but someone who did not work got the blessing. Jacob did not do much, but got everything (the blessing) in a powerful illustration of grace. For Jacob, getting the blessing was not an achievement, but a gift, just as we as Christians have received the gift of the righteousness of Jesus (2Corinthians 5:21).

When Rebecca, the wife of Isaac and the mothers of the Jacob and Esau, said that Job should follow his advice to ensure that he got blessing meant for Esau, Jacob was afraid. He said: what if my father finds out about this plan of ours mummy, won’t he curse me?

But Rebecca said: your curse come upon me. With that, Jacob felt safe to go on with the plan. Rebecca was a shield to protect Jacob from an hypothetical curse, but Jesus protects us from a real curse, the curse of eternal separation from God, the curse of limitation, sickness and weakness, darkness (Galatians 3:13-14). Jesus without any payment on our side brought us to the father, dying the death that was our portion.

Another fact that we need to observe was the need for Jacob to obey the words of his mother.  Obedience is a path of blessing. When we obey God we sow a seed of prosperity into our future.

What is clear from that story is that the blessing is something intangible, it is not in goods, it is in words, it takes us back to the first verses of Genesis where we see God making the world with his word, communicating his energy in a new way to the earth to cause changes to happen.

Isaac was blind, and that illustrates the fact that God is no respecter of persons. God is not discriminative, he received people from all nations, from all peoples, from all gender or social background, colour of your skin (Acts 10:34-35). When speaking against partiality, James wrote about some who have become judges with evil eyes, and that means their sense of judgement is wrong when they rate people by physical appearance (James 2:1-4).

Even though Rebecca did everything for Jacob to prepare the kind of food that Isaac wants, Jacob had to go the father himself. Salvation is one on one, (Jesus died for you but cannot get saved on your behalf). I cannot be saved on your behalf. It is those who call upon the Lord that will be saved (Romans 10:13), and that includes coming into blessing and moving away from curses.

To approach the father, Jacob who did not work at all, had to wear the cloth of the one who had worked hard. Jesus had worked hard, but we become acceptable by God as we take advantage of the work of Jesus on our behalf, take advantage of the benefits of his death and resurrection. The bible says that we died with him and therefore in him we should walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4).

What happened immediately that Jacob got the blessings? He ran away from his dear life because he was at the risk of being killed by his father.

The possibilities of the blessing may not immediately manifest. Having the blessing may actually cause things to go downhill in the natural, but when Jacob ran away, he was met by God as he slept in a place along the way.

Therefore the first manifestation of the blessing was a connection with God in a covenant relationship. In a dream God told Jacob that he was committed to him totally, not just for the moment, but for the long haul. He was not going to leave him until all the possibility embedded in the blessing were manifested.

An expression of the blessing was God’s expression of his committed to the future of Jacob. He said that he was going to be with him and bring him back to the land and settle him. That correlates with what Paul said about the gains of godliness (1Timothy 4:8), which is a reflection of the blessing of God. He said that godliness has a promise for the life that now is and the future.

While Jacob was thinking of just sleeping after a stressful day, he was made to see into the realm of God, how the future is settled. In that dream, he gained a new perceptive of God himself. That is a blessing. A manifestation of the blessing that he received was the capacity to know God. Esau had no such “knowledge of God” experience.

Jacob has serious personally flaws but that did not prevent God from blessing him. The blessing is comes regardless of personally flaws. However, the blessing does something about the internal issues.

When Jacob went to the house of Laban, the blessing on him ensured that he came out with material and family blessings, with many children and animals, but he needed to be changed internally. And the blessing, manifested in God’s continued commitment to him, ensured that happened.

His name was changed from Jacob to Israel, from trickster to a prince with God and man, after an all-night encounter with God. From that time on, we saw a new man, not one who is ready to take what is others but one who wants to give, not one seeking to take advantage of other’s weaknesses (Genesis 32:22-32).

He became weak. He had a dislocation in his joint from that encounter, and he thereafter leans on a staff. Remember that the bible says that we should not lean on our own understanding. His staff indicates a change from leaning on his own understanding to leaning on God.

The blessing gives an external effect, but also an internal one. God is concerned with more than the good we have but also about the life that we live. The blessing his gives has both physical and spiritual dimensions.

God told Samuel: while you are concerned about appearance, I look at the heart (1Samuel 16:1-7). And the blessing in Jesus is strongly focused on internal issues, it is Christ coming to dwell in our hearts through faith, it is his new life flowing through us, it is us in a spiritual sense being in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6), it is us being more than conquerors (Romans 8:37), it is us having the greater one in us, and we able to say that greater is he who is in us than he who is in the world (1John 4:4). It is experiencing the grace of Jesus whereby we walk above sin.

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