Genesis is quite an interesting book – in that it is the first book of the Bible and holds some many intriguing stories of early mankind adds to its uniqueness. If I was writing the Bible, there are definitely certain stories I would leave out – frankly they are very embarrassing. Yet Our Heavenly Father has seen fit to expose mankind for who he really is – both the good and the bad. The stories of failure to honor God is one thing, but the way humanity treats each other is appalling. Looking back we find that jealousy caused Cain to kill his brother, then play games with God about the very act he did. “Am I my brothers keeper?” It reminds me of the many times that I was caught doing some sort of mischievous act and got caught, needless to say I tried to lie and finagle my way out of doing anything wrong – it didn’t work for me and it still doesn’t work with God! In our reading this week we are confronted with the repeated sins/rebellion from previous generations. Like it or not our children learn to do our wrongs, rather than our rights. Early on we find that Isaac lies about Rebekah being his wife because he is afraid of being killed by none other than the same Abimelech that Abraham lied to about Sarah. Technically Abraham was right when he said Sarah was his sister [half-sister], but Isaac just plain lied. I wondered what King Abimelech thought about the Hebrews and their lying? Just as Abraham listened to Sarah and took and had a child by Hagar, and all the problems that caused, we find that Isaac is very passive in his position as husband and father. Rebekah is the strong one in the family. Isaac seems to be only interested in satisfying his appetite for venison stew! The deceit that is evident between Isaac and Rebekah shows up in the lives of Esau and Jacob. Obviously each parent is guilty of favoritism. Isaac loves Esau, probably a burly type of man; whereas Rebekah loves Jacob, a definite “Mamma’s boy.” Sad part about the Esau/Jacob saga is that these men were 40 years old! I know that Jacob is a trickster, but where did he learn this? He isn’t innocent, but his mother sure is an accomplice. It is her suggestion after hearing the plans of Isaac to bless Esau [which was right] to put into motion her plan to get “Her boy” blessed instead. I know that God was in this from the point that Jacob was the choice for Israelite nation to come; but the way it was done is outright wrong. Jacob lies over and over, he fears being caught, and Rebekah says she will take the blame. I really can’t help think that Isaac knew what was going on, but rather than resist, he goes along with it. Talk about your dysfunctional family! When the ploy is accomplished, here comes Esau – the brunt of the plan. I wondered about Isaac a lot, he acted like he was going to die within a few months, Isaac lived another 80 years! Did he not regard his privileged place in the plan of God very high? Could Esau have gotten his character trait from this ambivalence? [Hebrews 12:16] Well, Esau is coming after Jacob to kill him, quick Isaac send Jacob to my brother – Bethuel! Rebekah lost both boys on the same day. She never saw her beloved Jacob again. When Jacob gets to Haran, he runs into Laban – long story for a future time, but Rebekah and Laban are two peas in a pod! On the way, Jacob who is just as lost and Esau has an encounter with God – Bethel becomes a prominent place in the future, God extends the promises made to Abraham and Isaac to Jacob – then we get a “Let’s Make a Deal” remark from Jacob – “If you will ______” then you will be My God. Why is it we are like this even today – we try to bargain with God? God is obviously with Jacob, he winds up with 12 children from four women and is subjected to the “tricks” of his uncle Laban. Jacob has not met his match in Laban, this next week we will see that the cycle of lies, deception and trickery continues in the first family of Israel. The moral of the stories is this – bad parenting results in continued cycle of rebellious prodigal children – true then true today!