Thursday, November 27, 2014

Parashat Vayetzei ("and he went out") Genesis 28:10-32:3

Parashat Vayetzei ("and he went out")   Genesis 28:10-32:3

I want to begin with a passage from the previous parashah.   In Genesis 27:28 “Isaac blesses Jacob with ‘Therefore may God give you of the dew of heaven, of the fatness of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine.”   Several verses later, after discovering Jacob’s deception, Isaac blesses Esau with ‘Behold, your dwelling shall be of the fatness of the earth, And of the dew of heaven from above” (verse 39).  Notice the same blessing in reverse.  

So it is in this parasha that we learn the significance of the blessings.  It focuses purely on the trials, efforts and frustrations of Jacob.    Being tricked into 14 years hard labour for love, marrying the wrong girl, so many children from the wrong girl(s), father in law issues, fleeing for his life and wrestling with the Almighty HIMSELF.

So where is the dew from heaven?  Exactly!    Dew from heaven is living in faith.  You don’t know what or if it’s coming but when it does, it brings life and sweetness and beauty.  And only when the dew has nourished and refreshed the earth does it produce a harvest of promise.   That was Jacob’s blessing.   A life of learning, development and faith; even battling God and surviving.  

The outcome? Jacob’s name was changed to Israel and just about everybody in history knows about Israel – love or hate it.  But Israel has an eternal promise.. wow.
Now let’s contrast this with Esau… who?   Esau was blessed with the ‘fat of the earth” and then the ‘dew of heaven’.

It’s interesting that in chapter 33 it appears that Esau had a pretty awesome life.  He doesn’t even want anything from Jacob because he has so much……  but where is his eternal promise?  Was his life truly “blessed”?

As followers of Yeshua, we can often get confused with what God considers ‘blessed’.  Is it driving a Porsche or is it life building trials that produce an eternal harvest?  

We read in the Talmud that "According to the pain, is the reward" (Avot 5:22).  When we consider the barren misery of Rachel, Sarah and Rebekah and yet how they birthed a wonderful promise, it does appear that God will allow very hard difficulty and trials to occur in the lives of those he favours.  Let’s not forget how Leah was ‘unloved’, and yet Leah was more fruitful than the other wives of Jacob. Maybe it is so that God would hear their prayers and reward them for their faith. 

In this consideration, we could read Psalm 118:21 as, "I thank you that you have “afflicted” (answered) me (עֲנִיתָנִי  anitani) and have become my salvation."  And also, "It was good that I was “burning/branding” – (afflicted) (עֻנֵּיתִי  uneiti), that I might learn your decrees" (Psalm 119:71).  Sometimes our affliction IS our answer and will result in an eternal reward.


Jon Eaton

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