The Scandal of Generosity

In Genesis chapter 27 we see Jacob, the younger of Isaac’s two twin sons, acting like the con artist he was. He posed as his older brother Esau in order to deceive his blind, dying father into giving him the portion of the inheritance that should have belonged to his brother. And in case he was found out, he had an exit strategy in place where his mother would take all the blame. Scandalous! Selfish!
It’s curious, though, that Jacob even wanted the inheritance. Sure, his brother Esau would have received twice as much after their father Isaac died, but Isaac was an exceedingly wealthy man, so Jacob’s portion would have been plenty.

So what was Jacob really after? Observe how Isaac unwittingly blessed Jacob:

Ah, the smell of my son
is like the smell of a field
that the LORD has blessed.
May God give you heaven’s dew
and earth’s richness—
an abundance of grain and
new wine.
May nations serve you
and peoples bow down to you.
Be lord over your brothers,
and may the sons of your
mother bow down to you.
May those who curse you be cursed
and those who bless you be
blessed. (Genesis 27:27-29)

Did you hear that? The music, the rhythm, the melody? This is no mere handoff of property to the next-in-line; this is Isaac’s song of delight in his beloved son, Esau! And though Jacob’s scheme worked, I imagine that midway through Isaac’s rapturous chorus, Jacob must have thought, “If only he loved me like that...”

Let’s recap. The father delights in the older son, the rightful heir. The younger, resentful son dresses in the elder’s robes so he can approach the father. The father, being blind to the true identity of this younger son, blesses him as he would the elder and the poor older son is left with a curse.

Sound familiar? This is the gospel message! God is the father, Jesus is the older brother, and we are the younger brother. But while Isaac blesses Jacob because he is deceived, God knows exactly who we are and delights to love us anyway. And this is only possible because Jesus, unlike Esau, willingly forgoes his blessing and takes on the curse that was the punishment for our sin. Which means that we can now hear the Father’s tender love song. How scandalous! But, oh, how generous!

Jacob sought an unconditional love and when he couldn’t attain it, he lied, stole and cheated to fill the gaping hole in his heart. But now, through Jesus, we can be ushered into the arms of a loving Father, in whom we can find all our satisfaction and delight.

And if we truly understand that everything we need can be found in Him and Him alone, we can be generous to others not only with our money, resources and time, but also with our forgiveness, compassion, gentleness, care and love. All because of the scandalous love of a generous Savior. Or perhaps, because of the generous love of a scandalous Savior. (article contributed by Daniel Lee, East Side Community Groups Associate)

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Articles in this Issue

New City Catechism
New City Catechism Team
Mentoring Info Session for HFNY
Why Sidewalks, Plazas, & Bike Lanes Matter to God
Amilee Watkins
Sharing God’s Mercy Through Food
Sorena Shin Harmanson
Hope for New York Celebrating 20 Years
Downtown to Begin Worship Services October 21st
John Lin
City to City Sunday: Introducing the International Intensive Class of 2012