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and overconfidence

Genesis 25:19-23

Now Isaac pleaded with the LORD for his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD granted his plea, and Rebekah his wife conceived. But the children struggled together within her; and she said, “If all is well, why am I like this?” So she went to inquire of the LORD.

And the LORD said to her:

“Two nations are in your womb,
Two peoples shall be separated from your body;
One people shall be stronger than the other,
And the older shall serve the younger.”

Remember, the last part is the LORD answering the question, “If all is well, why am I like this?” The twins aren’t doing the usual twin thing in Rebekah’s womb; they’re really struggling. God tells her that they will become two nations; one will be stronger and the older child will “serve” the younger. They’re just the struggling kind.

The idea that the older shall serve the younger violates the normal order of things in that culture. The oldest son is assumed to be the principal heir. Esau will be born first, even if only by minutes, but he shall serve the younger.

God has this thing about overruling human traditions. The examples of non-firstborn greats in scripture are striking—Jacob, Joseph, David, etc.

God’s ways are not our ways.

We should always be open to second-guessing ourselves. The United States was birthed by the words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Yet, slavery wasn’t abolished nationwide until the 13th amendment was ratified in 1865, and women didn’t have universal suffrage until the 19th amendment was ratified in 1920.

Our sinful nature makes us overconfident, especially about our goodness. We tend to be sure we’re in the right even when we haven’t thought that much about something. This is an example of the classic idea, “You don’t know what you don’t know.”

CS Lewis illustrates this brilliantly with the behavior of Ransom, the main character in Out of the Silent Planet. He’s the hero, yet shows some amazing cluelessness—which the reader doesn’t even recognize until it’s pointed out. This is eye-opening and humbling. We would have done just as badly as he did.

Ask God to humble us and to open our eyes to errors we’ve never noticed before.

Pray that He will teach us to be less self-sure and more dependent on Him.

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These weekday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. Saturdays' by Matt Richardson. Subscribe here:

The weekly study guides, which include questions for discussion or meditation, are here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NASB stands for the New American Standard Bible. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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