“One of the most difficult things to do in life is to trust God.” Have you ever heard anyone say that, or have you ever thought it yourself? Everything in us wants to take matters into our own hands and make something happen. Waiting on God and trusting Him to come through takes a healthy faith.
We can actually learn a lot (both negatively and positively) from observing the life of Jacob. Jacob was born in the 19th Century Before Christ. Jacob’s name means “puller of the heel” as he was born holding onto his twin brother’s foot. Since this Hebrew word also means “supplant” or “deal craftily,” we get the expression, “Are you pulling my leg?” to mean, “Are you deceiving me?”
Jacob definitely lived up to his name. For instance, when Esau came in from hunting he was so hungry that he was willing to trade his right to a double portion of inheritance to Jacob for a bowl of his stew. Jacob took advantage of his brother’s misfortune and made him give up his birthright.
Easton Bible Dictionary explains, “The birthright secured to him who possessed it (1) superior rank in his family (Gen. 49:3); (2) a double portion of the paternal inheritance (Deut. 21:17); (3) the priestly office in the family (Num. 8:17–19); and (4) the promise of the Seed in which all nations of the earth were to be blessed (Gen. 22:18).”2
By God’s sovereign election, He had already determined that Jacob was to receive the birthright. Before the twins were born God determined the “older shall serve the younger” (Genesis 25:23). When Isaac was old and blind he determined, against God’s will, to give the blessing to his older son, Esau. When Rebekah heard what Isaac intended to do she hatched a scheme to deceive Isaac into giving Jacob the blessing. By deceiving his father and defrauding his brother, Jacob was forced to leave his home and travel to Haran where he was deceived by his Uncle Laban time after time (Genesis 31:7). The deceiver became the deceived.
One of the great lessons we can glean from the life of Jacob is learning to trust the Lord. BUT HOW DO WE DO THIS?
- Trust God With Your Whole Heart.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5–6).
Here’s how to do this: Trust the Lord with an undivided, unwavering faith—in other words, trust Him completely. If you lack faith, ask God to give you more. Genuinely believe God has all things under His control and He has good things planned for you. When you doubt God’s power or His goodness your tendency is to take matters into your own hands. It is important to trust that God knows better than you do what you actually need. Don’t put your weight on (lean on) your own thinking, intuition or hunches. Determine to do God’s will and honor Him in everything you do—even the small things. The Lord will bring His plan to fruition…and it will be “immeasurably more than all you ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).
- Faith Is Trusting When You Can’t See.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
- We Live By Faith Not By Sight.
“For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
- We Trust By Remembering God’s Sacrificial Love.
“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
Back to Jacob: I wonder what would have happened if, instead of taking matters into his own hands to deceive his father into blessing him, he had sat back and waited for God to act on his behalf. I do not believe that Isaac would have blessed Esau. The Lord had already decreed that the “older will serve the younger” so it was guaranteed that Jacob was going to receive the blessing. If he had not deceived his brother, Jacob could have lived safely in his homeland and been with his mother in her later years. Instead he fled from his brother and never saw his mother again.
There are times when I take matters into my own hands to try to “help God” with whatever I think I want or need. Whenever I have done this I always mess it up. If instead I will rest in the Lord and trust Him to cause His sovereign plan to unfold I will save myself much trouble and heartache.
Onward learning to trust,