Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing.” (Genesis 27:19 NIV)
Sadly deception is a common feature in everyday life. Some MPs have been caught cheating on expenses, lying about speeding tickets, or misleading parliament with their statements. Top executives have been found out embezzling funds from their company, and students have been discovered cheating on their exams. ‘Twas ever thus.’
In Genesis chapter 27, we see how Jacob took advantage of his father’s blindness, to deceive him into believing he was his older brother Esau in order to acquire the birthright. Jacob conspired with his mother and through treachery and deceit fooled Isaac into blessing him.
But ‘what goes round comes round.’ Jacob was sent to his uncle Laban to find a wife, and as in a romantic novel he met his cousin Rachel and fell in love at first sight. A marriage agreement was brokered with Laban: Jacob is to work for his uncle for seven years. I wonder how many men would be prepared to work for that long before they could marry the woman they fell in love with when they first saw her?
Jacob dutifully worked for the required period and expected to receive Rachel as his wife. But the deceiver is deceived. Rachel’s older, less attractive sister Leah was disguised and Jacob took her as his wife thinking she was Rachel. How ironic; Jacob, had disguised himself to deceive his older brother, was now deceived by an older sister who was disguised. The result was Jacob had to work for a further seven years before he could marry the woman he loved.
How often do we use deception to get the things we want, even things that are good and that God may want us to have? A ‘white lie’ here, an exaggeration there, followed by a half-truth leading to us disguising ourselves or the surrounding circumstances.
If the story of Jacob tells us anything it is that there is always a price to pay for deception. Jacob’s relationship with his brother was damaged and it led to him working twice as long for his true love. There are always negative consequences to a deceptive approach; they may be immediate, as with Jacob’s relationship with Esau, or they may come years later as with Jacob’s interaction with Laban. Perhaps that’s why the New Testament advises us to rid ourselves of all deceit
(1 Peter 2:1). Of course that’s easier said than done, which is why Peter points us to Jesus as the one who knew no deceit
(1 Peter 2:22). With him living in and through us we can live lives free from deception. Why not check him out and see that that’s no lie?
Father, forgive me for being deceitful in my words and in actions, establish truth in my life through Jesus Christ I pray,
Have a truthful week,