Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lying and Deception

The Consequences of Lying and Deception
Genesis 27 
The deception begins

And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his eldest son, and said unto him, My son: and he said unto him, Behold, here am I.  And he said, Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death: Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison; And make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die.  And Rebekah heard when Isaac spake to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt for venison, and to bring it. And Rebekah spake unto Jacob her son, saying, Behold, I heard thy father speak unto Esau thy brother, saying, Bring me venison, and make me savoury meat, that I may eat, and bless thee before the LORD before my death. Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to that which I command thee (Genesis 27:1-8).

What does deception and lying teach us? Do we think just because Jacob received his father’s blessing he wouldn’t suffer the consequences of his deception and lies that he told? 

Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive." -  Sir Walter Scott

Jacob’s deception and lying caused sever consequences in his life, something he would live with until his death. After Jacob deceived his father, he fled from the presence of Esau, his brother, in fear of his life for Esau wanted Jacob dead–––a consequence of lying and deception. Rebekah accepted responsibility for her wrong actions regarding Esau and Isaac sent Jacob away to Laban, her brother, in the land of Haran. Jacob would suffer another consequence from his deception, he would never see his mother again before her death.

When Jacob arrived in Haran he asked some shepherds if they knew a man called Laban, the son of Nahor? They said they knew him and then they pointed out Rachel, his daughter, coming to the well where shepherds and shepherdess watered their flocks. Jacob went to where the stone covered the well and rolled it away so that Rachel could water her sheep. Jacob kissed Rachel and wept for joy telling her that he was related to her father. Rachel ran home to tell her father about Jacob. (I’m not sure, but I think if I were Jacob, I would have told her who I was first before kissing her so as not to alarm her and she feel a need to strike a blow to my head). After hearing about his sister’s son, Laban ran to meet Jacob embracing him and kissing him and bringing him to his house. 

Laban had two daughters; the name of the older daughter was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah’s eyes were called tender or weak which probably means that they were a pale color rather than the dark sparkling eyes most common to their race. The pale colored eyes were most likely viewed as a blemish and therefore undesirable. Jacob’s heart was definitely towards Rachel and he was willing to work for seven years to provide a dowry to make her his wife. Unfortunately, Jacob, the deceiver, was about to be deceived himself. Local marriage customs of the land required that the older daughter be married first and then the younger daughter which Laban knew and then conspired to deceive Jacob. Fourteen years Jacob worked for Laban and ended up with two wives that would become jealous in childbearing competition causing tremendous sorrow. Rachel was barren and Leah, her sister, had already given birth to four sons. According to ancient Near Eastern culture, a woman that was barren was no better than a dead wife and became a severe embarrassment to her husband. The competition continued between the two sisters/wives and is demonstrated in the using of their handmaids as surrogate mothers, and the on going battle for their husband’s favor and attention.

Jacob’s life was filled with conflict due to his great deception. God had promised Rebekah that Jacob would have received the birthright, (Genesis 25:23) he didn’t have to scheme with his mother to commit this intolerable deception. Years later, Jacob would be deceived by his own sons when they made plans to murder their brother Joseph. They tried to cover-up the fruit of  their hate and envy by selling him to merchants passing by and telling their father that Joseph was dead, killed by a wild animal. Sorrow and grief accompanied Jacob but God, in His divine plan, made Joseph second in command, a ruler, in Egypt. During this time, there was a great famine in the land of Israel, and Jacob’s sons journeyed to Egypt to buy food. They were shocked and even afraid when they saw Joseph, their brother, whom they had sold into slavery, alive and in charge of the distribution of food. The sons of Jacob would have to tell their father that Joseph was alive and confess the crime committed against him so many years ago. What unnecessary grief they caused their father in their lying scheme and what unnecessary grief and sorrow we cause our Father when we pursue to deceive.

Thought: Can you see the web of deceit that Jacob first began to weave and the consequences of lying that played out in his life? Do we think that we are any different than Jacob in our plan to deceive or that we can get away with lying? Galatians 6:7 ~ Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Proverbs 12:22 ~ Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight. Ephesians 4:25 ~ Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. God’s work in this world is based on truth and we as believers are not fit instruments for the Lord to use–––if we are not truthful. 

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