[May 19, 1931 – April 27, 2011]
Why did God look so favorably upon Jacob, a deceiver? We read in Isaiah: “I
dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and
humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of
the contrite ones” (Isaiah 57:15).
This passage describes a man who, like Jacob, is dejected, on the run, and God
is reviving him, blessing him, honoring him. Isaiah adds: “But to this man will
I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my
word” (Isaiah 66:2).
We know that humans consider the outward appearance, but God always looks at
the heart. We can see only Jacob’s covetousness, greed and manipulation. But
God saw beyond his flesh and into something within his heart — a contrite,
broken spirit. God knew that something in Jacob’s heart was willing to be
That is exactly what God is looking for in us. He looks for a broken, repentant
heart He can work on. He cannot do anything with an Esau type, who takes the
things of God for granted and weeps phony tears of repentance. Esau was sensual
and his heart was hard. He was like many Christians today, floating through life
with no purpose, wanting only to enjoy sensual pleasures along the way.
Jacob revered God’s Word. How do I know this? Think about it: Jacob must have
heard his father, Isaac, repeatedly tell the story of how God had made a
covenant with Jacob’s grandfather, Abraham. He heard of the time Isaac was laid
upon the altar to be slain, but when Abraham lifted the knife, God stopped him
and showed him a lamb to be used for the sacrifice. Finally, Jacob also heard
of the holy seed that was to come from the patriarchal lineage.
In addition to all this, Jacob’s mother probably reminded him of the dream God
had given her — that Jacob would be the holy seed. Jacob must have thrilled
at the thought that one day he would be the head of the clan, carrying the
torch of the lineage through which the Messiah would come!