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The Unexpected Blessing

Genesis 27:21

Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come near so I can touch you, my son, to know whether you really are my son Esau or not.”

Jacob wasn’t expecting to get his father’s blessing. His mother persuaded him that dressing up like his hairy brother and serving the meal to his father to get the blessing was a great idea. Isaac was old and his senses were failing. It was risky, but Jacob believed he could pull it off.

When someone has a plan all figured out, he doesn’t want anyone messing with his plan. He doesn’t want surprises. I’ve felt this way recently when I planned out how to get a couple hours of errands done. However, my husband wanted to help out before the day was finished. When he took on some of the tasks I had delegated to my kids, I knew it wasn’t likely that all of my plans were going to be accomplished. I really enjoyed being with my husband, but that surprise, as wonderful as it was, meant that I’d have to reassign some tasks for the next day. Even though my plans were all messed up, my unexpected blessing was spending a little more time with my hunky husband.

Isaac had planned to give Esau his blessing, but when Jacob showed up instead, Isaac hesitated. Isaac expected Esau, but he heard Jacob’s voice. He asked the boy to come close so he could touch him just to make sure. I can imagine Isaac was trying to decide if his hearing was about to go out as well. He knew something wasn’t right, but he went ahead and gave the blessing.

When Esau finally came in to give his father the meal and receive his blessing, his father asked who he was. Not a good sign.

Isaac’s plan had been messed up. Jacob had to leave the area immediately to flee from his brother’s wrath. But he’d been blessed by his father in a way that left no room for Esau in that blessing. When you read places in the Bible like Exodus 4:5 (“This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.”), you don’t read Esau’s name, but Jacob’s.

I wonder if God messes up our plans to give us an unexpected blessing.

An Unexpected Leader

Judges 6:15

“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

How can Gideon,  the least in his family from the weakest clan in Manasseh, be a great leader? I think we all ask God that about ourselves sometimes. How can I be anything great when there are so many negative voices in my life? How can I overcome disadvantages and lead my family into prosperity?

There are many stories of surprising success. How many mothers have prayed for their children to rise above the limited successes achieved by the parents? How many great leaders have come from disadvantaged backgrounds?

When I hear about a “self-made man”, I know God had a hand in making that man. I know there are plenty of people who used principles given to us by God and achieved victories in different areas of their lives based on doing things God’s way.

Gideon is a man who was from an impoverished family. He lived in an area where the surrounding people trampled their crops and killed their livestock. They had been so beaten down that they called out to God for help.

Isn’t that usually how we humans do things? We try to handle things on our own, and we fail miserably. Then when we’ve had enough of our self-made poverty, complaining the whole time about all those other people who have been ruining our chances for success, we come to the point where there’s nothing left but to pray.

We’ve tried everything, and nothing has worked, so we pray to God and ask for help. I’ve done that. Have you?

When Gideon’s family came to the point of praying, God answered with a personal visitation. It kind of freaked Gideon out. But he wasn’t stupid. He knew to take advantage of this important opportunity.

He began obeying the instruction of God. God helped him organize a small army who would follow his leadership. The battle wasn’t fought with traditional weapons. The men who might’ve been saying “this will never work” were not allowed to join Gideon’s army.

Gideon was an unexpected leader who found success by departing from expected tactics. Sometimes success lies just ahead if we will change our ways. We have to be bold enough to take a risk. We have to follow God. And following God is never risky unless we’re seeking the approval of man.

Do you need God to help you find your victory? Try making changes to the way you’re doing things. God might lead you down an unexpected path that leads to your success.

Thanks for seeking God with me.  

Expectation of Heaven

John 14:2
My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?

I haven’t seen very many mansions, but I have seen a few large houses that have many rooms. This summer, my family took a vacation in beautiful North Carolina and stopped in Asheville to see the Biltmore Estate. This is an incredibly relaxing area, in spite of the millions of tourists it attracts. Even though there were a large number of people viewing the “house” while we were there, we were able to sit in some comfy chairs on a balcony and rest our feet for a minute.

There was so much beauty to enjoy inside and outside that house, yet I imagine when I see what Heaven is like, the beauty of the Biltmore Estate will pale in comparison. No one has ever prepared a place for me at the Biltmore Estate, nor do I ever expect that to happen. However, Jesus has announced that those who belong to him will  be welcomed into a place in Heaven that was prepared especially for them.

Eternity is a long time. Our generation will be on the Earth for only a little time. We can enjoy what we have here while we have it, but we can also look forward to where we’ll be when we leave this place.

What are you looking forward to the most about Heaven?

Thanks for seeking God with me.