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vs. Grace

Genesis 26:34–35 (ESV)

When Esau was forty years old, he took Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite to be his wife, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and they made life bitter for Isaac and Rebekah.

Esau continues to distance himself from his family and from God. Surely, he’s aware of how Abraham didn’t want Isaac to marry one of the locals and how his servant was supernaturally blessed in finding Esau’s mom for Isaac. Even though he’s his dad’s favorite, he bucks family tradition and marries two Hittite women. The Bible emphasizes that this pains his parents. Everything’s going off the rails with Esau, and it even looks like that’s what he wants. What’s going on here?

This is a perfect portrait of how sin spirals out of control. Esau didn’t take his birthright seriously and sold it for a bowl of stew. What seemed unimportant to him at the time will prove to be a bitter pill to swallow. He blew off all things having to do with the LORD, and he’s not going to wake up for a long time.

This is like kids who get involved in the occult, thinking it’s all fun and games. By the time they realize it’s not all fun and games, they’re in so deep that suicide is a real danger.

We all know what’s coming for Esau. Jacob and Rebekah are about to conspire to steal his blessing. It’s easy to take the attitude, “Yeah, baby. Paybacks!”

Praise the LORD that He doesn’t take that attitude with us.

Learning grace is a never ending, never complete, task for a Christian. People ruin their lives. Our task, as bearers of the gospel, is to help them.

This doesn’t mean denying their mistakes—forgiveness is not acquittal—but it can mean loving people who are hard to love. We all cheer when the bad guy in a movie takes it in the shorts. That makes sense for fictional characters, but not for real ones.

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” — Matthew 5:43–45a

This is a tough lesson to learn—and even tougher to practice. Great challenges require something special, and loving difficult people definitely qualifies. Still, we’re all called to not shrink from these challenges. Never, ever, think that anything is beyond where God might take you.

If loving your enemies sounds ridiculous or even impossible, good. That’s one of the keys to sanctification. But know this—trying harder is not how this works. Only God can take you to this level. Prayer is the only way.

That’s the point. It’s impossible. God gets all the glory.

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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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