Abraham had a great test given him by the Lord. Because Abraham loved the Lord, he passed the test and, no doubt taught the same valuable lesson he learned to his son, his promised son Isaac. Though little is known of Isaac, we learn at least two things. First, he was a man of great faith. Second, to him were born two sons; their names were Esau and Jacob. Esau was firstborn, but he gave up his responsibility for a moment’s time of fatigue.
Throughout the lives of these two boys turned into men, there seemed to be a strain. Whether that is so or not, one day it came to the point when the the firstborn (Esau) should have chosen a better course than he did. Famished as he was from a day’s activity, he gave up something that should have never been given up, that is, the privilege and responsibility belonging to him. Firstborn status (also known as birthright) meant that with the responsibilities placed on him in leading the family (and those responsibilities were great) came the privileges of receiving half the inheritance. For a moment’s time, physically hungering, Esau gave it up! it had consequences he could not have imagined.
For Jacob, the consequences of doing what he did was not easily experienced either. He not only deceived his brother (at his mother’s behest), but was always on guard because he knew his brother turned against him. He leaves home and experiences one heartache after another; in fact, so troubled by his life’s experiences, he said to Pharaoh (king of Egypt) that his life has been nothing but trouble (Genesis 47:9). Nevertheless, though Jacob did wrong and paid for it, it was through Jacob that God chose to bless humanity.
Jacob had twelve sons, but it was one son that Jacob wrapped his life around; his name was Joseph. Joseph was the son of his old age, but Joseph soon experienced his own heartache when he was kidnapped by his brothers, sold into bondage and placed in a foreign home where the wife of a significant leader cast her longing eye. For many years, Jacob lived with the knowledge his son had been killed by animal because his other sons told him as much. What Jacob did to his older brother was done to him. In this tumultuous time, Jacob had two sons stand tall. Joseph stood tall for the Lord, and the Lord blessed him accordingly. Jacob taught Joseph well. There was another son; his name was Judah.
There is not much said about Judah in Genesis; that which is said presents to us experiences of the man that also was heart-breaking. In Genesis 38, the experience of Judah was a loss of his wife, the loss of two sons, and an intimate relationship because of loneliness (and sin), but also exposure. It was later in his life, when confronted by the deed he and his brothers were guilty of (kidnapping, selling Joseph and lying about it), he appealed and bowed to Pharaoh’s “right-hand” man, Joseph (unbeknownst to Jacob). The humiliation and horror did not escape any of Jacob’s sons. They were now at the mercy of Joseph.
We are, also, at the mercy of the Lord. Joseph was in perfect position to render justice and judgment, but he chose to take a different course than what his brothers expected. As we read this article right now, do we think of the Lord’s mercy as He extends it to us? If not, perhaps we should. He is in perfect position (and always will be) to render justice and judgment, but oh what mercy! RT