|Isaac blesses Jacob Victors, Jan|
|Jacob's Dream. de Ribera, Jusepe|
|Jacob Fights the Angel Rembrandt|
|Jacob Blessing His Children. Rembrandt|
There is so much to say about Jacob: family drama; sin and deceit; love, heartbreak, sorrow and betrayal. But the stories in Genesis are about God forever keeping his promises, even to (frankly) horrible people. And God keeps his promise to Jacob, to Israel, to his Bride.
I have never really liked Jacob. David was a sinner, but at least he was manly. He wasn't a mamma's boy, he waited on God's timing to take his rightful throne, he was loyal and honest (usually). I believe David when he repents, but I don't trust Jacob when he prays "I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness you have shown to your servant..." (Gen 32:10). I just think, "Yeah, right, you're just scared Esau is going to destroy you. Wimp."
Until I read an article by a Lutheran pastor arguing Esau was not necessarily damned from eternity (an article I'm still trying to track down), and heard Pr. Nathan Dudley on Issues, Etc., I always had a Reformed understanding of the story of Jacob and Esau (without knowing it). "Esau I hated" just because he was predestined not to receive the inheritance, was elected to damnation, and "Jacob I loved" just because he was elected to salvation. I have never held Reformed views on election, but I accepted that interpretation without thinking too much about it, and its full implications. It was a "hard passage" that seemed to support Reformed theology.
So back to David vs. Jacob. Remember when Nathan says to David "You are the man!" (You can read the whole story here)? Well, God, through his Word in Genesis, is pointing to Jacob and saying to me "You are that man!" After I just wrinkled my nose and expressed my disgust at Jacob's sliminess. The Lutheran interpretation of Jacob and Esau as types of the Church and Christ is brilliant (and so obvious once pointed out). Of course, for all of Jacob's grossness, God still chooses to bless the world through him.
It helps me to frame the saint or OT character of the day in Christ and his work before I begin our "Saint Time" with the little ones. "In the Home" includes mom and dad meditating on the commemoration or feast, too, before talking to the little ones (or bigger ones) about who we are celebrating and why.
We will focus on the story of Jacob and Esau and God giving the birthright to Jacob, in spite of Jacob's sin. We will make lentil soup, color a coloring page, and make some play-doh soup bowls or popsicle stick ladders.
I found Olney Hymns: In Three Parts by Newton and Cowper, which includes hymns inspired by Genesis passages. We're not going to try to sing any of these, but here are a few lovely lines:
"Lo! He saw a ladder rear'd
Reaching to the heavenly throne,
At the top the Lord appear'd,
Spake and claim'd him for his own"
(As Jacob demands a blessing from the Lord....)
"No--I must maintain my hold,
'Tis thy goodness makes me bold;
I can no denial take,
When I plead for Jesus' sake."
The bits on Jacob are found on page 29.