Parasha #6

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 Parashah #06: Tol’dot (History)

(Genesis 25:19 – 28:9)

Additional Readings:
Mal. 1:1-2:7; Rom. 9:6-16; Heb. 11:20; 12:14-17

Previous parashah recap We ended last week with the death of Abraham, the reunion of the 2 brothers, Isaac and Ishmael, for his funerals and we went in learning what the bible said about Ishmael and his descendants.

  • Rebecca was barren, she couldn’t conceive, therefore she turned to Isaac for him to pray for her to become pregnant. The word ‘prayed’ here also means supplicating, interceding, pleading So it was not just a basic, once off prayer.

  • Isaac was 40 years old when he prayed for Rebecca; and later on it says she gave birth to twins when Isaac was 60 years old, which means Isaac was praying/pleading for 19-20 years (a full luni-solar cycle)! So we see that not everything we pray for comes immediately. Like Isaac, sometimes we may find ourselves praying for quite some time before we receive. Sometimes the promise is already given in the spiritual, but the physical manifestation of that promise is delayed. So never give up on your prayers, keep in mind that it’s not a once off prayer and standing in faith, but pushing through to see the blessing realised (Mat. 7:7-8)

  • Part of Isaac’s test was to see if he would persist and push through to see the blessing manifest in the physical realm, and to inherit Abraham’s covenant made by standing on faith and trust in the Lord. God makes a covenant with men and it stands forever, BUT not everyone will partake of the covenant. We have to do our part in order to inherit and partake in the covenant. We see this happening throughout the bible, some follow through and partake of the blessings/covenant whilst others miss it.

  • Now if instead Isaac had gone into bitterness about either, he would not have gotten his reward. It would have either been twisted or not at all there. The Lord would have passed him by, implementing His plan throughout the next generation. So always be content with where you are at, that doesn’t mean you have to accept, but that you have to be content, knowing that where you are at is just a part of your journey, but it’s neither the journey itself nor the end of it. Keep your eyes on the prize.

  • Gen. 25:22 – Rebekah was blessed with twins. But right from the start, in the womb still, they were fighting. It became so bad that she wanted to die! So she prayed to the Lord to understand what was the go there.

  • Now God’s answer is very interesting: 2 nations, 2 rival peoples, 1 to serve the other. As put in Malachi 3:2-3 and then expounded in Romans 9:9-13 we are told that God loved Jacob and hated Esau. This is an example of how God elects people for certain purposes even before the creation of the earth. He already knows the path we will take (Eph. 1:4-6)

  • 2 Parasha ago we had Sarah and Hagar. Sarah representing the mother of nations through God’s promise according to the Spirit, Hagar representing the mother of nations through the works of the flesh, and therefore being cast away. The work of the spirit leads to life and the works of the flesh lead to death, strive, division etc. (Rom. 8:6, 13) and we see this at work in the lives of their sons just as we see it in the lives of Jacob and Esau.

  • Isaac waited 40 years for a wife (and his first sexual relationship at that), whereas Esau started to complain and he took multiple wives from the Hittites who were pagans and unbelievers. This caused strife amongst the family and is the reason why Abraham wanted wives to be taken from amongst his kinsmen in the first place.

  • Jacob on the other hand, waited patiently for a wife, just as Isaac did. This is something we should take note of. There are many people today, like Esau, who constantly complain about wanting a partner; this can lead one to rush into a relationship with the wrong kind of person, which then leads to strife. We need to be like Isaac and Jacob, focusing our attention on God whilst patiently waiting for Him to reveal the right time and person. This way we will receive the reward and desire of our heart and it will be blessed by God.

  • Esau liked to hunt. There was nothing wrong with hunting, but he foolishly put his own life in danger; he would come back exhausted to the point of death. Esau was a man of the flesh and did not value spiritual things as he was clearly willing to give up his birth right for some lentil soup with bread. Included in the birthright is the blessing going to the firstborn. Hence the fact that Rebekah, through trickery, got Jacob to disguise as Esau to get his blessing. The fact is that the blessing didn’t belong to Esau anymore for he had sold his birthright. And he himself didn’t understand that and started to cry and plead because he thought Jacob stole from him. And this is why Isaac gave him the blessing he did.

  • Gen. 25:27 – The word used to describe Jacob, that is quiet or plain, doesn’t render justice to the Hebrew word nor give the full account of Jacob’s character. The Hebrew word is tâm (tawm) meaning perfect, complete, wholesome, pious, morally innocent, having integrity, one who is morally and ethically pure (and also quiet, which is a good thing according to Proverbs). This is the same word as used in Mat. 5:48. So from this we understand that Jacob was moving with the Spirit and in obedience, at least to his parents to start with then, later on, to God whereas Esau was moving according to the flesh.

  • Gen. 27:38-40 – When Esau gets the dominion, when he gets into the position of being able to rule then he will not be in bondage to Jacob anymore. What do we have here?

  • Jam. 4:4; Rom. 8:1, 7 shows that you can be a believer yet still follow the flesh; just like Esau.

    God hated Esau because of his carnality, it’s only when he can come into a place of spirituality that he’ll be freed. This talks of the gentiles, leaving their carnal ways to come to Yeshua!

  • As we find Isaac was giving the blessings to Esau and Jacob, few notable things happened:

    1. Jacob didn’t get his line cursed through his deceptions and trickery, but he didn’t get the blessing intended for him in his lifetime either. Instead the next generation did. The blessing he truly got during his lifetime was the one given when he was sent to Laban (Gen. 28:1-4);

    2. Esau’s blessing is more a type of curse than a real blessing, but it doesn’t seem to have affected him much during his lifetime. On the other hand his descendants were affected by it. Esau showed is carnality and lack of understanding spiritual matters when he didn’t understand what it meant for him to have sold his birthright til his blessing was given to Jacob instead.

    3. This was actually because Rebekah, and Jacob by being obedient to her, tried to force to pass what God had said He would do. They should have waited on the Lord and trusted that He would do what He said He would. And all this stemmed from Isaac preferring Esau and trying to bless him, secretly, even after the word of the Lord had been given about what His plan was, and after Esau had sold his birthright, and therefore blessing to Jacob. The heart of obedience is to do what we are told to do, and not do what we are forbidden to do, not try to be God instead of God, nor try to trick Him!

  • Within Esau’s blessing he is told he would live by the sword; meaning he would have to fight for everything, and all that he gets would be achieved by his own strength. He would be cut off from God. He is also told that he would serve his brother. When you live by the spirit you are put in position of rulership and the one who lives by the flesh will always come second and be a follower only. The last part of the blessing is saying that when Esau is in a position to be in rulership, then he will not be in bondage to Jacob anymore. The spiritual aspect of this means that if Esau forgoes the flesh and decides to start moving in the spirit, the yoke can be broken. This is the same for all of us, there is still hope for us to claim the promises and inheritance if we choose to come out of the flesh and move in obedience to the spirit of God.

    In the KJV the word/phrase used in Gen. 27:40 is ‘when thou shalt have dominion’ (instead of ‘when you break loose’ in the CJB); so dominion in Hebrew means to wander restlessly, wander, roam, complain – in other words when you complain then you will break the yoke. What does this mean? The proper meaning was found when looking at the teachings of the Rabbis and Jews; they taught that when the sons of Jacob observe all the precepts and the law, they shall impose servitude upon the neck of Esau, but when they shall turn away from studying the law and neglecting the precepts of the Lord, Esau would break off the yoke of servitude from his own neck. When you look at that (1 kings onward) we see time and time again that the Edomites are able to rise only when Israel turns away from God and his laws.And this reflects our Christian walk in which there are 3 aspects:

    1. Walking after the flesh (Esau);

    2. Walking after the Spirit for personal gains and with our own strength and understanding (Jacob);

    3. Walking after the Spirit in obedience to God and relying on His directives and direction (Israel).

  • We can read in this story that it required hard testing for Jacob to become Israel, for in Laban he found his master in the use of deception, and that it doesn’t take much from being Israel to revert into Jacob’s ways. And when Jacob stops studying the Law and neglects the precepts of the Lord, then Esau is released in our life, the carnal man takes precedence and then beware the fall!

  • Looking at this reading through history we see that David was the one to impose the yoke on the Edomites, but they didn’t like it and towards the end of the reign of Solomon they started to rebel but couldn’t shake the yoke. It’s only when Israel started to move away from the Law (under Jehoram) that they successfully freed themselves. And when the Hebrews turned back to God they got captive again, to free themselves when Israel turned away again! They also always allied themselves with anyone who wanted to go to war, especially against the Hebrews. This, God condemned (Oba. 1:18) and the Edomites disappeared completely from history as a tribe, they got destroyed as a house and absorbed by other nations (specially the Arabic ones).

  • 2 nations would come from these sons – Out of Jacob would come Israel; out of Esau would come the ones who live by the flesh.

  • In Gen. 26:7 we see Isaac repeating the same mistake Abraham did (which became a family curse). He moved into fear instead of fulfilling the role of guardian over his wife. He feared his own life and therefore put her in a dangerous position as well as putting others in danger of receiving a curse if anyone had slept with her.

  • When there is a succession of inheritance there is always a fight against the devil who will test us in many different ways to hinder us from receiving the promises. The inheritance may be there for us, but we must fight for it and push through the hindrances and testings to prove ourselves worthy; to grab hold of it. One person may assert that authority and claim the inheritance, but with each generation, on both a physical and spiritual level, that authority will be contested and they will need to gain that authority for themselves in order to be found worthy of carrying on with the inheritance.

  • It’s quite interesting to note that we are told that the God we follow is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but we don’t learn much about Isaac. What we can gather is that he clearly was the head of a dysfunctional family, where the parents had favourites, where they plotted against one another, where the lack of communication was paramount (to the point that it’s only when Jacob was sent to get a wife in Canaan that Esau realised that his parents didn’t like his choice of wives).

    Also we can see that fear and distrust ruled there, for the same tests (starting with famine) bring the same responses that the previous generations. This said we can see that Isaac is not as assertive as Abraham, more a type of introvert, searching always for peaceful resolution of conflicts, even when he’s in the right. And has the story goes we find in him a strong belief that God will provide for him.

  • As a side note it’s important to realise the significance of the wells. They represent life, and as such are a stamp of ownership on a property, which explains why the Philistines were so intent on closing them, not only to force Isaac away but also to deny him the land.

  • Gen. 26:19 (CJB; LXX) – we have here a very important information in this Parasha, it explains what the living waters are! They are waters which never stop running, always pouring out. The spiritual ones from Yeshua pouring out in understanding, revelations, wisdom and knowledge to become Christlike and help others, to be rescued and discipled.

  • When it was time for Jacob to find a wife, he followed in the footsteps of Abraham and Isaac to find his wife from amongst the kinsmen.

  • Gen. 26:3-5; Gal. 3 – we are told that the covenant made between God and Moses was 430 years after the covenant made with Abraham. Most people in Christianity today believe Paul said not to follow the Law of Moses; but the Torah was given before Moses. Right here we are told that Abraham had all the promises because in faith he followed all of God’s instructions (Torah). Look at the story of Cain and Abel – Cain was broken down because he couldn’t follow the instructions of God. The first 5 books of the bible are the books of the law/Torah; not only the parts with Moses but also the parts concerning Abraham, Noah, Enoch and Adam. What did Moses do that was different from before? He put into writing what used to be the Oral Law; this meant that for the first time in history it was recorded. He didn’t make anything new, he simply put it in writing. The only thing different was that through him God put a specific order in place that wasn’t there before, which was the Levitical priesthood and codified all the sacrifices. When Paul said the law brings condemnation, he was talking about the law of Moses, the Levitical priesthood and the sacrifices. Every day the people had to go to the Levites to offer sacrifices for their sins; So every day they were reminded that they were sinners. When Jesus came, the law was not done away with, but the Levitical priesthood was removed and a royal priesthood was put in its place. We now offer spiritual sacrifices instead of physical sacrifices, and we live in faith instead of by the flesh. The Law cannot bring freedom; trust and faith in Christ brings freedom. Today, if we sin we ask Him for forgiveness and it is erased; under the Levitical law this was not possible, the sins were covered not erased. So the Law, or previous instructions still stand and we are judged according to them, according to what Moses has put on paper.

  • Joh. 5:45-47 – when its judgement time Jesus won’t be the one accusing us. God the father will bring the sentence, Jesus will be interceding for us and the law of Moses is what will accuse the people. Jesus has not come to remove the law as that would make us lawless people, and lawlessness comes from the anti-Christ spirit.

    In Mat. 7:23 (KJV) ‘iniquity’ means lawlessness, those who break the Law. According to Mat. 5:17-18 the Law will stand until heaven and earth pass away, and only then will the laws be written in our hearts… (Heb. 8; Jer. 30:31-33)

  • Everyone who got cursed through the first 5 books of the bible were cursed because they broke the Torah/instructions of God. If we are to become Christ-like, we have to follow in his footsteps. He made the Torah complete in him. This means the laws were written in His heart and it is our job to do the same and come to a place where we apply them to our lives and walk in them.

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