While we’ve focused mainly on his interaction with his brother Esau, Jacob’s life shows that there is a lot we can learn about consequences….

  1. God has a plan, he doesn’t need our help to make it work.  When Jacob was born, it was revealed to Rebekah that he would be the leader of the family.  Instead of trusting God and letting this prophesy come to fruition on its own, the two of them scheme to force it.  The result?  Jacob has to flee his homeland to avoid the wrath of his brother.  One has to wonder how the story would have turned out if Jacob had been able to prosper at home with his father’s wealth rather than laboring for his uncle.
  2. Favoritism has long-lasting impact on the family.  The story of Jacob and Esau gets off to a bad start with the observation that Isaac and Rebekah each have a favorite child.  Nothing good comes of that arrangement.  Learning nothing from this experience, Jacob has the same scene play out later in his life when he favors the child of his chosen wife (Joseph) over his other children.  In that case we see envy and hatred lead Joseph’s brothers to want to kill him.
  3. You reap what you sow.  Jacob tricked his brother into giving him the rights of the first born and tricked his father into giving him the blessing.  It is not coincidence that Jacob’s uncle tricks him into marrying the older sister before he can marry the one he really wants.  Action…reaction.  Cause….effect.  Everything you do has a consequence, either now or later.  We see two direct consequences of Jacob’s trickery
    1. He’s separated from his family…and his family’s wealth.  Jacob’s father, Isaac, was the son of Abraham.  God had blessed Abraham abundantly.  Abraham had left everything to Isaac.  Jacob’s family was very wealthy.  However, because he fled from home with nothing he had no dowry to secure his wives.  This is why he had to work for his uncle.
    2. Jacob’s own blessing was delayed by over 14 years.  Jacob got Isaac’s blessing, but it was of little use to him when he had to run for his life.  Instead of growing into his blessing, he spent over 14 years of his life working for someone else.

How many of us are making bad choices trying to force a certain outcome?  How often do we use trickery and deceit (whether overtly or through gentle manipulation) to make things go our way?