“In the first season of the popular TV show 24, Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) is a federal agent charged with protecting a presidential candidate from an assassination plot. He was given that responsibility because in the uncertain world of espionage he possesses that rare character trait of integrity.
In the show’s first episode, Jack’s integrity is already put to the test. Because he turned in other federal agents for bribery, some of his own comrades have turned against him. In particular, Jack’s immediate boss has come down hard on him and tried to persuade Jack not to be so honest in his job. Jack has an explosive confrontation with his boss and will not budge on this point. Just after the confrontation, Jack bristles with intensity as he explains his actions to his closest partner.
‘You can look the other way once, and it’s no big deal, except it makes it easier for you to compromise the next time. And pretty soon, that’s all you’re doing, compromising, because that’s how you think things are done. You know those guys I blew the whistle on? You think they were the bad guys? They weren’t the bad guys. They were just like you and me, except they compromised once.’”
Elapsed Time: 00:31:45 to 00:32:30; Season 1, Disc 1, Episode 1
Content: Rated TV-14
Source: 24 (Fox Entertainment, 2001); created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran.
Staying home with our children
When Judy and I were dating, we talked about a lot of things concerning our future
One of the things we talked about was children
How many children
What kind of education we wanted them to have
We both agreed that we wanted Judy to stay home with our children for a certain period of time
This was something that we did not want to compromise on
So, when Judy was expecting our first child we starting putting all of her income into savings and lived off my income to prepare for that transition
Teaching at the Children’s Ministry Institute for Child Evangelism Fellowship
I had the great privilege of teaching several courses at the Children’s Ministry Institute, including raising personal and ministry finances
Each of the students had to create a personal budget
There were certain things we encouraged them to consider in their personal budgets
One of the exercises with that process was to list everything out and then begin to prioritize each budget item
We also had them determine what items were non-negotiable (Christian schooling for their children; a newer vehicle especially for single women; actual steak or tube steaks)
Based on what was non-negotiable, they had to make adjustments to the other budget items that were negotiable
There were certain things that each individual or couple had determined were items they could not compromise on
Every one of us has probably been in similar situations where we have had to determine what we are willing to compromise on and what we are unwilling to compromise on
We have all had to make decisions about what is negotiable and non-negotiable when it comes to finances, our children, and many other items
As we saw in Genesis 24, Abraham made it clear to his servant chief servant that he was not willing to compromise on a wife for Isaac. She had to come from his own people in Haran. We will see today that Isaac and Rebekah are feeling the same way about Jacob and his future wife. They had experienced grief through Esau’s choice of two Hittite wives (Gen. 26:34-35). Esau had compromised his standards, but Isaac and Rebekah did not want that to happen with Jacob. The author of Genesis wants us to understand today that . . .
BIG IDEA – Compromise kills faith.
GOD (Genesis 27:46-28:9)
Concern (v. 27:46)
We already know how Isaac and Rebekah felt about Esau marrying two Hittite women
Genesis 26:34-35, When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite. They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah.
Potentially the grief that Isaac and Rebekah felt over the two Hittite wives was based on women’s religious beliefs and practices
“The word for dismay or disgust (qûṣ) is rare, and on one significant occurrence it describes Yahweh’s attitude to Canaanite religious practices (Lev. 20:23). This suggests that Rebekah feels a religious revulsion, which the story’s listeners are encouraged to share.” [Goldingay, Baker Commentary on the Old Testament, Pentateuch, Genesis, 440]
Leviticus 20:23, You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them.
“These things” included sacrificing their children to Molech, turning to mediums and spiritists, cursing of parents, committing adultery, sleeping with family members and/or in-laws, men sleeping with men and women sleeping with women (homosexuality), marrying both a mother and daughter at the same time, and sexual relations with an animal
These are consider detestable to the Lord
“The detestable acts listed here were very common in the pagan nations of Canaan; their religions were rampant with sex goddesses, temple prostitution, and other gross sins. The Canaanites’ immoral religious practices reflected a decadent culture that tended to corrupt whoever came in contact with it.” [NIV Life Application Bible, footnote for Leviticus 20:10-21]
Compromise kills faith.
So, it is probable that Rebekah is disgusted by the immoral religious practices of Esau’s two Hittite wives
Life not worth living
She is convinced that life would not be worth living if Jacob married a Hittite woman
This is why she is petitioning Isaac and expressing her concern to him
She knows that he shares her feelings about Esau’s two wives
This is her way of “helping” Isaac to do what she wants, in order to spare Jacob’s life
So, Isaac called for Jacob
Command (vv. 28:1-5)
We’re told that Isaac called for Jacob and blessed him and gave him a command
The command is explained first and then the blessing
Imagine what may have been going through Jacob’s mind as he is summoned to his father’s tent – was his father going to scold him for being deceptive?
Command (vv. 1-2)
Isaac explains to Jacob that he is not to marry a Canaanite woman
Canaanites was a broad term for the various nations that lived in the Promised Land at this time
The Hittites were one of those nations
Go to Paddan Aram (Northwest Mesopotamia)
When you get there go to your grandfather’s house, Bethuel
You will find your uncle Laban and his family there
Take one of his daughter’s as your wife
Isaac immediately transitions from the command to the blessing
Blessing (vv. 3-4)
We see that Isaac does not even mention the deception of Jacob
“Not only did Isaac speak kindly to his son, but also he gave him an extra blessing as he left to go on his journey to Haran.” [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Pentateuch, 123]
Isaac asks that El-Shaddai would make Jacob fruitful, so that he would have a large number of descendants
“The rhyming combination of “be fruitful” (pārâ) and “increase” (rābâ) reflects creation’s blessing (1:22, 28; 8:17; 9:1, 7) and the divine intention for the Abraham family (17:6, 20), finding its partial achievement in the populous community of Israel (Exod 1:7; Lev 26:9).” [Mathews, The New American Commentary, Volume 1B, Genesis 11:27-50:26, 440]
Isaac’s blessing was that Jacob’s descendants would become a community of peoples
Waltke explains that this is a fresh expression of the promise given to Abraham in Genesis 17:6, I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you [Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary, 383]
God will fulfill His promise to Abraham through Jacob
Isaac’s blessing then turns to the promise given to Abraham about the Promised Land
Isaac was asking El-Shaddai to give Jacob and his descendants the blessing given to Abraham
The blessing is that they would take possession of the land where they were currently living
Isaac recognized again that they were living in the Promised Land as aliens
Isaac sends Jacob on his way
Obedience (v. 5)
We see that Jacob obeys his father and goes to Paddan Aram
He goes directly to Laban, his uncle, and brother of Rebekah, his mother
PRINCIPLE #1 – God is pleased when we obey.
God is sovereign and knows what is best for us
He knew that it was best for Jacob to return to Paddan Aram to avoid being killed by Esau and to avoid marrying a Hittite woman who could potentially corrupt him into detestable religious worship and practices
God was pleased that Jacob obeyed his father, so that the covenant carrier line would remain pure
God is pleased when we obey
Obeying our parents
Jacob was an adult when his father commanded him not to marry a Canaanite woman and to go to Paddan Aram to find a wife
Jacob obeyed his father, even as an adult
Exodus 20:12, “Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”
Deuteronomy 5:16, “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”
Ephesians 6:2, “Honor your father and mother” – which is the first commandment with a promise – “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
Honoring our father and mother is a lifelong commandment from the Lord
When we are still living at home, as children under the care and guidance of our parents, we are to obey them, as long as what they are asking us to do does not break God’s Word or the laws of the land
As children, obedience to our parents is important
Ephesians 6:1, Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right
Notice that our obedience is, in the Lord
We obey our parents, because it pleases the Lord
#1 – My Next Step Today Is To: Honor my father and mother. (how can you do that today, this week, this month, etc.?)
#2 – My Next Step Today Is To: Obey my parents, in the Lord, so that God will be pleased. (children, how can you do that today, this week, this month?)
God is pleased when we obey Him
Isaac’s obedience benefited him in two ways: it saved his physical and spiritual life
“Jacob flees from two threats in his flight to Paddan Aram: persecution and accommodation. The physical threat from his brother may have seemed most obviously harmful, but the threat of accommodating the Canaanite lifestyle was just as grave a danger. Accommodation is as great a threat as persecution to the community of faith.” [Waltke, 385]
Too often, we as followers of Christ are in the world and of the world, instead of being in the world, but not of the world
John 17:14-16, I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it
What does it look like to not be of this world?
Romans 12:2, Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will
Ephesians 4:22-24, You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness
1 Thessalonians 4:1, Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more (Paul goes on the tell them to be sanctified)
We are fine with dating someone who is not a follower of Christ (we believe we can save them)
We allow ourselves to indulge in the same things that the world does and think that it will not affect us (foul language, becoming drunk, using marijuana, being intimate before marriage, looking at pornography, lying, gossiping, cheating, stealing, etc.)
Indulging in the things of the world shows that we are still conforming to the pattern of this world – we have not been transformed
#3 – My Next Step Today Is To: Ask the Lord to protect me from the evil one and to help me be transformed, so I can please Him.
God is pleased when we obey Him
Jacob pleased the Lord by obeying his father’s command
Isaac and Rebekah knew the danger of allowing Jacob to marry a Canaanite woman, so they sent him to Paddan Aram
Esau heard about Isaac calling for Jacob and blessing him
Compromise (vv. 28:6-9)
Esau was informed about the meeting between Isaac and Jacob
He was told about the blessing for Jacob’s descendants to be numerous and that God would give Jacob the Promised Land
He was also told about the command not to marry a Canaanite woman, but to get a wife from his uncle Laban’s family
He also heard that Jacob had been obedient to his father and mother and had gone to Paddan Aram
We are not told why Esau did not realize it sooner, but he realized it now
His parents were not pleased with the two Canaanite women he had married
He went to Ishmael’s family and married his daughter Mahalath (makh-al-ath’/mac-hail-ath’)
We are not told why her sister Nebaioth (neb-aw-yoth’/nev-a-ah’/nev-aw-yoth’) is mentioned
Esau obviously thought that marrying a woman within the line of Abraham would help to appease his parents
Esau is once again proving why he is unfit to be the covenant carrier
His decision to marry Mahalath is based on pleasing his parents instead of pleasing God (spiritual or religious interests)
“. . . Ishmael had been separated from the house of Abraham and family of promise by the appointment of God;” [Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 180]
“Esau has no idea of spiritual realities. All that he is concerned about is to please his parents, and if possible to win back the blessing. This again shows the real character of the man and the utter absence of any spiritual reality actuating his life. Esau is one of those who, as it has been truly and accurately said, tries to do what God’s people do in the vain hope that somehow or other it will pleasing to God.” [Griffith Thomas cited by Gangel & Bramer, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Genesis, 234]
Esau continued to compromise instead of pursuing the things of God
Compromise kills faith
The same is true for us when we compromise
PRINCIPLE #2 – God’s desire is for us to pursue spiritual things.
He does not want us to compromise our faith in order to please human beings
His desire is that we seek dating relationships with those who are followers of Jesus Christ
His desire is that we pursue a transformed and renewed mind and attitudes
His desire is that we stop indulging in the things of this world and seek purity and righteousness through His Son
#4 – My Next Step Today Is To: Pursue spiritual things instead of the things of this world.
How can you honor your father and mother today?
Do you need to return to obeying your parents in the Lord?
Do you need God’s protection and help to be transformed, so you can please Him?
What worldly things do you need to sacrifice in order to pursue spiritual things?
We need to lift each other up in prayer and hold each other accountable to a transformed life that is pleasing to God
We need to spur one another on to love and good deeds – spiritual things (Hebrews 10:24)
“Joseph Stowell tells of a conversation he had with a pastor in the former Soviet Union.
‘Stalin's reign was the worst time,’ said the pastor. ‘I had two KGB agents come to me and say, ‘We'll take care of you. You stay the pastor of that church, but once a week give us a report on every one of these Christians. Work for us.’
‘I can't do that to God, and I can't do that to this flock,’ he replied.
So they sent him to a prison camp in Siberia. He endured the forced labor and the cold for ten years. But he did find other Christians in the camp, and God used these believers to fulfill his purposes.
‘I was a carpenter building towns for Stalin,’ said the pastor. ‘We'd go out in sixty-mile radiuses, and there we would fellowship together. Today there are hundreds of churches in Siberia as a result of these small prisoner fellowship groups.’
When men refuse to compromise, they may lose much, but through them God will fulfill his higher eternal purpose.”
Source: Joseph Stowell, president of Moody Bible Institute. Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 1.