Genesis 28:6-9 (New Living Translation)
6 Esau knew that his father, Isaac, had blessed Jacob and sent him to Paddan-aram to find a wife, and that he had warned Jacob, “You must not marry a Canaanite woman.” 7 He also knew that Jacob had obeyed his parents and gone to Paddan-aram. 8 It was now very clear to Esau that his father did not like the local Canaanite women. 9 So Esau visited his uncle Ishmael’s family and married one of Ishmael’s daughters, in addition to the wives he already had. His new wife’s name was Mahalath. She was the sister of Nebaioth and the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son.
I mean, what was he thinking?
This is where we go wrong so often in trying to please God. Esau observed that his dad didn’t want Esau’s brother to marry a Canaanite woman. And then he started assuming.
The question should have popped in his head: “Um, does that mean he doesn’t want me to marry a Canaanite woma? (Or is this just a Jacob Rule)?”
Now, assuming that this wasn’t just a Jacob Rule, wouldn’t it be reasonable to ask what his dad’s thinking was? Why he had the rule, for instance. Or what he wanted to happen instead.
Here’s the thing…
Instead of assuming what his dad was after, he could’ve…asked.
What a novel thought!
“I noticed you sent Jake away to get a wife from somewhere else. May I ask what your thinking is?”
And then his dad could’ve told him. And he would have avoided a whole lot of frustration.
There were two important things Esau didn’t know about his dad’s thinking:
- What he had against Jacob marrying a Canaanite woman.
- What he wanted Jacob to do instead.
If Esau had grasped these points, he would’ve understood that his dad would also be opposed to him marrying an Ishmaelite cousin. Better than that—knowing what his dad was against—he would have understood what his dad was for.
As I write this, I am 58 years old. As I look back over my experiences with the Father, I realize that, in far too many cases, my focus was on the things I thought God was against, rather than on the things God was for.
Rather than pursuing the Kingdom (Matthew 6:33), I was running from Hell.
Not that there is anything wrong with running from Hell (or the things that Hell produces), but when you realize what you’re doing is the wrong thing, and you’ve run from it, it’s time to take your eyes off that and put them where they belong: Jesus Christ, and all he offers.
I believe with all my heart that God speaks if we listen—and if we ask.
5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.