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May 2, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“But the children struggled together within her; and she said, ‘If it is so, why then am I this way?’ So she went to inquire of the Lord. The Lord said to her, ‘Two nations are in your womb; and two peoples will be separated from your body; and one people shall be stronger than the other; and the older shall serve the younger.’”—Genesis 25:22-23 (NASB)
Not everything turns out as we expect. An old Yiddish proverb warns, “Man makes plans, and God laughs.” Perhaps. But ultimately, God’s timing is perfect, and as the apostle Peter reminds us, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness . . . ” (2 Peter 3:9 NASB).
God’s promise to Abraham to make him a great nation with innumerable descendants extended to his son, Isaac. Isaac knew this promise and expectantly waited for his wife Rebekah to conceive. They both waited—not for a month or a year, but twenty years. Finally, God, in His perfect timing, answered their prayers.
Yet, for Rebekah, pregnancy wasn’t what she expected. So, she asked God, “Why is this happening?” His response was a prophetic picture of two nations and of two natures.
Not just two children were inside her, but two nations—one descending from Esau and the other from Jacob. Within these two children were two natures. The older, Esau, became a hunter; he was carnal by nature, profane, and more concerned with his own appetite than something as precious as his birthright (Genesis 25:27-32, Hebrews 12:16). The younger, Jacob, would be a peaceful man, setting his affections on things above.
And inside Rebekah, the bride of Isaac, these two nations, these two natures, raged.
We, as the Bride of Christ, have two natures raging inside us. The decision to follow Jesus comes with the expectation that we will no longer battle with our sinful nature when in all actuality we do. We ask, “Why is this happening?” The apostle Paul reminds us that even he struggled with sin, calling himself a “wretched man” (Romans 7:15, 18, 22-24). Until the day we pass from this world to the next, our sinful, carnal nature will strive against the spirit (Galatians 5:17). There is always something in this world that will appeal to the Esau in all of us.
Yet, God’s promises remind us to:
• Hold tight—because He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).
• Hold strong—because if we are in Christ, we are a new creation. The old has gone, the new is here (2 Corinthians 5:17).
• Hold fast—because the good work God has begun in us will be completed (Philippians 1:6).
Expect God to hold true to these promises. Partner with Him and set your affections on things above. God is not slow, but sure. Expect your old nature to ebb away and the new “shall be stronger than the other.”
DIG: In the Book of Romans Paul wrote, “Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit” (Romans 8:5 NLT). Couple that verse with Philippians 2:13 (NIV): “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose.”
DISCOVER: Based on those verses, what can you do and who can you go to in order to suppress your sinful nature? What does your will look like when you partner with God?
DO: Know that you are the Bride of Christ and you can overcome any inner battle through Christ who strengthens you.
Lisa Supp lives in Utah and has served within the CCFL Web and Prayer Ministry since 2011. She also volunteers as an editor on the CCFL Prayer Wall and is a writer on the Communications Team. Retired from teaching, Lisa and her husband Ron volunteer at their local Calvary Chapel and share a passion for Scripture, apologetics, and education.