Why did God allow deception to be used in the blessing of Jacob. Was Jacob justified, in the eyes of God, to use deception for getting blessing from his father?
Reading the Old Testament from the New Testament perspective is difficult for Christians. In the Old Testament, it is not that God condones or agrees with everything that happens, even by people that he wants to use, like Jacob.
Jacob’s name means “Heel Grabber, or Deceiver.” He was given the name by his parents when he tried to come out of the womb first by grabbing the heel of his brother to pull him back in. But it has the idea of deception behind it.
And it fits Jacob for much of his life. He used deception to get ahead and get what he thought he should have. He didn’t count on trust in God until he met the angel of the Lord and wrestled with him. The only time he has bested is by his uncle Laban, marrying Leah, the older sister, before the one he wanted, Rachel.
Otherwise, Jacob steals the birthright from his older brother Esau when he will only make a suit for him if he will give him the birthright. Esau is so hungry that he agrees to the deal, disregarding the birthright of the firstborn.
Jacob used the hunger of his brother, his desire for immediate gratification, against him to get what he wanted. Later on, not only will he have the firstborn’s birthright, but through deception of his father Isaac, he will gain the elder son’s blessing.
Deception is the larger part of the story for Jacob until God changes his heart in wrestling with the angel of the Lord. But the larger story with Jacob is that God changed his heart. After he changed his name to Israel, “He fights with God,” Jacob became a much better representative for God.
God molded him from the character he thought he needed to get by and succeed to the kind of character he could use to build his nation of Israel off of. God didn’t agree with Jacob’s methods in the beginning, which is why he changed his character name.
Jacob wasn’t justified in the way that he deceived others to get what he wanted. But it’s good to know that the Bible does it show people that are so saintly that none of us think we ever have a shot at pleasing God. In fact, Jacob is not the only one that God changed and used in powerful ways. The whole Bible is full of people who needed God to change them.
So Jacob used his own means in the very beginning of his life to get what he wanted. But he quickly found out that he could not handle wrestling with God. Even though he fought with the angel of the Lord, his hip was displaced and he would remember it for the rest of his life, as it gave him a limp.
The truth of the Bible, and the gospel, is that God changes each of us so that we can know him and serve him. He works from the inside out to change our character and then our behavior. He is working his holy purposes in each of us.
All of us start in the red, far away from God. God gives each of us the opportunity to know him. And as he changes us, we can serve him in greater and more effective ways. He loves us enough to know us, but he doesn’t leave us where we are when he finds us. He is ever working on us to make us who he wants us to be.