In which it’s “inconceivable”

by Craig on July 29, 2011


It’s a simple story. Twins born to a scheming woman and a doormat of a husband. Each picks a favorite. One grows to be a gruff outdoor type, and not too quick on the uptake. The other grows up a homebody, a mama’s boy – and a little too smart for his own good.

The rules are lain down that the older one gets a blessing and a greater inheritance than the younger. The scheming mom and her prodigy trick the older, not so bright one, and then cruelly betray the father as he lies dying and his senses are leaving him. (Gen 25-27ish)

The story always bugged me – until yesterday, and this verse from Paul’s letter to the Romans:

…[It was] in order that God’s elective plan might continue, not by works but by his call–she was told, “The older shall serve the younger.” (ROM 9:12)

The older and undeserving child, Esau,
gave away his birthright on a whim,
to the younger, just as undeserving child, Jacob.

They switched glasses like Vizini in the Princess Bride.


You’ll smile a lot if you click this link to the scene.

I heart that movie (((smiles))) – classic.

Anyway this all led to this little chat with God…

Lord, from Your view of eternity,
you could see the two nations arising from the womb of Rebekah.
You would be the God of both at the start.
Both would be Jewish to begin with,
but later one would branch off and become Christianity,
and 500 years later the other would go the way of Islam.

And You knew this when two babies were struggling in a womb.
You knew it before then.
It’s beyond understanding how You know the myriad threads of the tapestry of history,
and the role of each of billions of lives in those threads.

Only a God of infinite wisdom…
could weave the tapestry…
while leaving the threads to choose their own weaving pattern.

To think on that can only lead to worship.

But the whole messed up affair was also a foreshadowing of what would happen more than 1000 years later…

as the Israelites…
the older child…
who had forgotten that the original Jew, Abraham, was saved by faith…
and not by obedience to any “law”…
and began a new way on their own…
getting to get to God, by way of “works of the law”…
a “law” to which was added a multitude of new “laws”…
and the twisting and disregard of the spirit of so many of the original “laws”…
gave away their birthright.

So the new way…
which is the original, and forgotten way of Abraham…
the way of grace bestowed by means of imperfect faith…
takes precedent over the law of Moses.
“The older shall serve the younger.”

“Works of the law” still have their place…
but Grace is the master of any and all “works”.

And now the horrid little story from Genesis makes sense.

and if you hearted this at all,
or if you think others might find it useful,
would you consider sharing it in one of the ways below?


{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Kim July 29, 2011 at 11:44 pm

My mind immediately went to Princess Bride when I read your title. Love it! :)

I really like how you pull this all together. And this?

Only a God of infinite wisdom…
could weave the tapestry…
while leaving the threads to choose their own weaving pattern.



Craig July 30, 2011 at 7:26 am

“I do not think that word means what you think it means” :-)

And it was Paul’s letter to the Romans that pulled it all together. How many times have I read that verse – and never really thought about it. But now as I’m running through and looking at all the instances of the word “works” in the New Testament I bump into this one and it’s my third – at least – kind of amazing discovery. So God gets all the credit for pulling it together – a little bit of extra credit on the side to Paul – and Vizini :)

Thank you for your really kind words, thank you. God bless and keep you.


Michelle July 31, 2011 at 5:58 am

“and the twisting and disregard of the spirit of so many of the original “laws”…gave away their birthright.”

You know, I’d never thought of that. I knew that they added by-laws and made it harder to be righteous, but never that they gave away their birthright. But it seems so clear now that you have explained it. Thank you.


Craig July 31, 2011 at 6:37 am

It truly is amazing that we can read these same words again and again and again in the Bible himand skip right over huge theological discoveries every day without even knowing it – until one day like Paul on the road to Damascus the scales drop off of the I and we can see. After 2000-5000 years there are no new “discoveries” – maybe just forgotten things, or new perspectives. A study of works yields this verse – this verse explains my 26-year-old question – for me and you maybe a “new discovery” but it’s been there all along. God bless you Michelle – and thank you, thank you as always


Debra July 31, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Message par excellence! I have shared this with FB friends.


Craig August 1, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Thank you Debra, when I get your thumbs up – well – that’s a special kind of thumbs up. And thank you for sharing it. God bless and keep you Debra – and thank you again.


A. August 1, 2011 at 10:39 am

thank you for helping more and more scales fall off. and I loved that movie!!!!!! :) Seriously, am thinking now of how I may be forfeiting my birthright today, here and now. Need to be aware.

thanks so much, Craig. Many hearts for what you do for all of us here.


Christina August 1, 2011 at 5:24 pm

That is the best movie, and the book it is based on, even better! Love it! Great post–it’s all about grace. Thank you for pointing the way.


Craig August 1, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Christina, I commented for the first time the other day on someone’s blog – I can’t remember right now whose it was – but on it was a guest post by you – just seeing it there made me smile. Just like seeing your comment today made me smile. Anyway… That really was the best movie ever. And I am so glad that just because I blog I have the answer to something that has bugged me for 26 years of my Christian life. I heart grace. I heart that you read. I heart that I get to read you. I heart that you commented. God bless and keep you and all of yours Christina!


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