When in doubt:Halt

When Isaac became an old man,he lost eyesight and when his day of death was near he desired to bless his elder son Esau,who frequently brought him some tasty game meat(A lesson to always get our parents what they love most,it leads to our blessings) but his wife Rebekah overheard him instructing Esau to go and get the game meat for him so that he would eat and bless him.It happens that Jacob,Esau’s twin brother was Rebekah’s favorite so she crafted an idea of having Jacob be blessed instead of Esau(divine providence had it that Jacob would become greater than his elder brother Esau).She decided they would trick Isaac, prepare two choice goats and Jacob would present it to him for the blessing. But there was a problem,Esau was hairy and Jacob was smooth skinned,to which Rebekah had a quick solution of using the goat skin to cover Jacob.After the meal was ready Rebekah took Esau’s best clothes and gave to Jacob ,also she covered his neck and hands with the goats skin so as to conceal his true identity to his aged dad.He also gave him the tasty meal to present to his father.The trickery seems water tight but lets see what happens.

He went to his father and said, “My father.”

“Yes, my son,” he answered. “Who is it?”  Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing.” Despite the fact that Isaac was aged and blind he could easily identify,differentiate between his two sons ,especially Esau who was regularly close to him.Why did Jacob had to identify himself as Esau ,the firstbon,didn’t Isaac knew who his firstborn was? (Fast forward verse 32,when Esau is asked the same question,he answers “I am your son” ,”your firstborn,Esau”, linguists will tell us there is a difference between ” I am Esau your firstborn” and “I am your son, your firstborn,Esau”,in the second it is presumed that the firstborn is known by both parties,both the speaker and the listener ), Why did he have to remind Isaac what he was to do,isn’t Isaac the one who had given the instructions?? This reeks of a reported approach. Actually these are the first tell tale signs that something is very wrong some where! Some one is being fooled right at their face.

Isaac asked Jacob, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?” (this is the first doubt)

Jacob replied “The Lord your God gave me success,” he replied.

Oh,what a very good answer to the God fearing father(i perceive he must have grinned internally thinking,so the young man knows success comes from God).It is very satisfying and joyous when any parent sees his/her child taking after his/her good steps especially matters faith.It gives an assurance of generational continuity but also don’t forget when its too good probably its not.

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.” (this is the second doubt).Here now Jacob’s fears of getting discovered and cursed were almost getting confirmed but thanks to his mother’s ingenuity his dad got more confused and he didn’t .

Jacob went close to his father Isaac, who touched him and said, “The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” (this is the third doubt) .This must have been very confusing to the aged dad.He did not recognize him, for his hands were hairy like those of his brother Esau; so he proceeded to bless him.  “Are you really my son Esau?” he asked.(this the fourth doubt) This clearly shows even at the point of starting the uttering of the blessings still Isaac is not convinced if he was dealing with the right person.

“I am,” Jacob replied.

 Then he said, “My son, bring me some of your game to eat, so that I may give you my blessing.”

Jacob brought it to him and he ate; and he brought some wine and he drank.  Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come here, my son, and kiss me.” So he went to him and kissed him. When Isaac caught the smell of his clothes,(this was the final attempt of trying to figure out if he was dealing with the right person,because whatever he was to do would have an eternally lasting effect which is visible even to date) ,he blessed him and indeed Jacob was irreversibly blessed despite the approach used to obtain the blessing .Proceeding with the verse we learn of the anguish Isaac went through after it dawned on him what had happened,and the animosity it sown between the two brothers.Genesis 27 NIV, Indeed Isaac was tricked but considering that he was a very old blind man,the four spirited attempts he put trying to confirm the identity of the blessings seeker and above all that providence had it that Jacob would be greater than Esau ,we excuse him but what about us the current believers. How many are times we are fooled right in front of our eyes despite our education,experience,skills,faith etc?

How many are times you hear someone saying “I had my doubts but i decided to give it a try” or ” I gave it benefit of doubt! ” How many are times you hear someone saying” My stomach was churning vigorously,i knew something was wrong but still i couldn’t hold myself against it” Many are times a young sister/brother will come to you with tears in his/her eyes after a toxic relationship saying ” From the word go i sensed John/Mary was hiding something from me! ” it begs the question ,Why did you then entertain his/her manourvres or what did you do about it? Many are business deals gone sour and someone would be heard saying ” When he presented the deal it sounded so nice but i had some doubts,but my friend convinced me its worthy trying,now he doesn’t even pick my calls” and many more. Haven’t we heard of the saying if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it must be a duck.

Many years later the same card was pulled on one of the greatest leaders Israel had in the name of Joshua by the Gibeonites,When they heard that the Israelites were moving up the land of Canaan annihilating anyone on there way of course with the help from God they devised a similar deceptive plan but this time round they would trick people with both the physical and spiritual eyes(Joshua and his council of leaders) wide open ,right at their faces. The elders of Gibeon gathered some of the able young men ,gave them worn-out sacks,old wineskins,cracked and mended,on their feet they wore patched up sandals and wore worn out clothes on their bodies.They also carried dry and mouldy bread in their food supply,the elders also instructed the young men to deceive Joshua that they came from a far flung country ,that they heard of the fame of the Israelites’ God , all that He did in Egypt, and all that He did to the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan—Sihon king of Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth, and they had come to enter in a peace treaty with the Israelites ,and in extension with this Majestic God of theirs.The young men travelled and went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal. Just as instructed by their elders they reproduced the lies to Joshua and the leaders of the assembly, the leaders doubted it and asked them “But perhaps you live near us, so how can we make a treaty with you?”(first doubt) The Gibeonites emissaries replied ” We are your servants” this they said to Joshua(Joshua 9)(its is worthy noting that: 1.Despite the question having been asked by the other leaders of the Israelite assembly,the Gibeonites addressed themselves to Joshua,who was the Leader and Commander of the Israelite army,this should help us understand that the great enemy,Devil,knows how to identify the people of influence,whom once he fells them they fall with many, 2.The two items being offered by the Gibeonites; Peace(inform of a treaty), Labour(inform of servants) were very enticing to the Israelites at this moment of heightened warfare, Which conscious general won’t have fancied at the idea of an easy victory?,Many are times at our moment of need,our most vulnerable moment,Satan entices and tempts us with many of his fallacies,but we should learn to defeat him,resist him and he flees(James 4:7)) I perceive this to have secretly been a ‘sweet’ suprise to Joshua, having been (since they crossed river Jordan),continously on the field in action against the enemies of the Israelites but he didn’t swallow it easily,he asked them” Who are you and where do you come from?”(this is the second doubt,of course he saw the elders questioning the Gibeonites but he also had his own doubts) (Joshua 9:8) ,The young men didn’t provide any name or place(be wary of dealing with unknowns) but in a calculated manner lied to Joshua as instructed by their elders ,actually they went ahead to give a proof of it ,they said ‘This bread of ours was warm when we packed it at home on the day we left to come to you. But now see how dry and mouldy it is. And these wineskins that we filled were new, but see how cracked they are. And our clothes and sandals are worn out by the very long journey. “(Oh dear believer be very wary anytime proof is provided even before you ask for it,most likely something mischevious is cooking ,as it is on this moment). On hearing this the Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord.This was a great omission by Joshua and the other leaders because all along we read of them consulting God in their every undertaking,Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath. Three days down the line the fruits of this great deception started to be realised; the Israelites learnt that their ‘Visitors’ from a ‘very distant’ country were just their next door neighbours ,the Gibeonites,The whole assembly of Israelites grumbled against Joshua and the other leaders, they felt let down by their leaders,critical ones must have started asking themselves how many more deceptions they would survive before they possessed the promised land.Joshua pacified the Israelites by telling them that Gibeonites would be enslaved. Joshua and the other leaders were indeed tricked,actually when they offered peace to Gibeonites it was for keeps such that later when Saul hurt them God seriously reckoned with the Israelites with a three year famine( 2 Samuel 21:1-14 ). We may have excused Isaac considering the odds against him,Joshua may have pacified the Israelites by telling them that Gibeonites would be enslaved but what about us.This leads us to the lesson of this article: No matter who you are,your education,gender,skills,experience,wealth,faith ,fame etc;WHEN IN DOUBT HALT:PRAY:GIVE IT TIME. Nothing outlives time,in the entire story and journey of our redemption from Genesis all the way to Revelation,we are shown and taught that everything has its time.So next time you are in dilemma,at that crossroad called DOUBTS:just HALT,PRAY about it(ask for help from God’s divine wisdom) and give it time.Giving it time may mean seconds,minutes,days,weeks or even years.I would rather wait than regret.


A shepherd boy

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