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Damage Control

Our struggle with sin never stops hurting.

Genesis 27:41–45

So Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father blessed him, and Esau said in his heart, “The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then I will kill my brother Jacob.”

And the words of Esau her older son were told to Rebekah. So she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said to him, “Surely your brother Esau comforts himself concerning you by intending to kill you. Now therefore, my son, obey my voice: arise, flee to my brother Laban in Haran. And stay with him a few days, until your brother’s fury turns away, until your brother’s anger turns away from you, and he forgets what you have done to him; then I will send and bring you from there. Why should I be bereaved also of you both in one day?”

Good job Rebekah. Your plan worked flawlessly. How’s that working out for you, eh?

So, we’re back to her saying to Jacob, “Obey my voice.” This time it’s all about damage control. Her “success” now threatens to ruin everything. For the zillionth time, do not try to help the LORD keep His promises! He’s God, for heaven’s sake (pun intended). He doesn’t need your help.

This lesson keeps repeating because it needs to be repeated. All this history is needed to teach people who are just as stupid as Rebekah. That’s you and me, bub.

Just think for a moment about the magnitude of this stupidity. Rebekah believes absolutely in the power of Isaac’s blessing—but the LORD’s prophesy spoken directly to her? Not so much.

The Bible spends thousands of pages detailing the nature of sin. This is where Christian doctrine kicks all other psychological theories to the curb. You can’t explain these nutty behaviors with a psychological model based on selfishness, or evolution, or whatever theory is popular this month. Only sin explains it.

For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. … O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! — Romans 7:15, 24–25a

One of the great errors we make is thinking that we’ve arrived. Specifically, many Christians are under the impression that their conversion has cured them of this terrible condition called sin. The church tries to correct this error by teaching, “Justification is not sanctification.”

That’s true, but “memorizing correct doctrine is not learning correct doctrine” either. We “know” that our sinful nature is still present, but we don’t really see it in the mirror. We pay lip service to our struggle with sin but aren’t truly depressed by it. In our heart of hearts, we’re too comfortable with our progress.

This is the great challenge in walking with Christ—to know the total forgiveness of the gospel, yet still be driven nuts by our battle with sin. We need to suffer the anguish Paul describes in Romans 7.

It’s supposed to hurt.

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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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