Have you ever been desperate enough to wear dirty underwear? How about staring into an empty coffee pot each morning? What about looking at the last empty wrapper of your chocolate stash? These are all the quirky, amusing “Desperate Housewife” type of stressors, but some of us have experienced true desperation born of real-life struggles. An eviction notice. A pink slip. An empty pillow beside us. These are the morally-numbing, heart-stopping, edge of darkness events that can lead to despair – the precursor to desperation. Wouldn't it be nice if an empty coffee pot and dirty underwear were the closest we ever came to distress? But chances are we'll all be tested at some point in life. So what would you do if life got desperate? How would you insure your safety? Protect your children? Here's how Isaac and the original desperate housewife reacted…
Gen. 27:1-4 – “When Isaac was old and his eyes were so weak that he could no longer see, he called for Esau his older son and said to him, 'My son.' 'Here I am,' he answered. Isaac said, 'I am now an old man and don't know the day of my death. Now then, get your weapons--your quiver and bow--and go out to the open country to hunt some wild game for me. Prepare me the kind of tasty food I like and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my blessing before I die.'” (emphasis added)
- Isaac made no secret of his preferential love for Esau, though his firstborn sold his birthright to Jacob years earlier for a measly bowl of stew. Now believing death is near, Isaac makes a desperate attempt to control HIS family and God's plan, returning the firstborn's blessing to Esau. Desperation causes us to grasp for illusions of control, but the truth is – Isaac lived for another 20-40 years and didn't even need to make such a declaration at this time.
- Rebekah and Isaac had “drawn straws” for their children years ago. Rebekah must have wondered what would become of her and Jacob if Isaac died and Esau gained the inheritance. There were no welfare programs for an elderly woman if Esau cast her aside. And what if her elder son provided for her but killed Jacob for cheating him out of his birthright years ago for the bowl of stew? We can manufacture desperation by the “what if” scenarios we create in our minds. Faith is giving God the “what ifs.”
- Notice Jacob didn't object on moral grounds, just on possible tactical and logistical foul-ups. It seems from this reply that he was okay with the plan as long as they didn't get caught. Desperation weakens our moral sense of responsibility and heightens our sense of self-preservation. Anything that heightens SELF weakens the Spirit that is seeking to expand Christ in us.