Sometimes God reveals our sins in the most unique ways.
Isaac and Rebekah were superstitious* about blessing their children. They believed their human blessing was binding even if it was given to the wrong son. (Genesis 27.)
So Jacob tricked Isaac into giving him Esau's blessing (Genesis 27:27-29). When the deception was revealed and Esau pleaded for a blessing, Isaac said, “I have made [Jacob] lord over you and have made all his relatives his servants, and I have sustained him with grain and new wine. So what can I possibly do for you, my son?” (v.37)
Isaac meant to bless Esau with everything good and give Jacob a worthless blessing, but he did the opposite. Had he been generous toward both sons, he'd have had no regrets.
In every situation of our lives--big and small--we should be asking this question: "Am I treating others as I want to be treated?" Doing otherwise is not only ungodly; it often backfires.
* God had already spoken to Rebekah when Esau and Jacob were born. "one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger" (Genesis 25:23), but she trusted Isaac's human blessing so much that she encouraged Jacob to deceive his father.
1. Why do you suppose we call Matthew 7:12 the "Golden Rule"?
Matthew 7:9-12: “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
2. How does the passage below go beyond the Golden Rule? Do you think Christians are called to a higher standard than others?
Philippians 2:3-4: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Please work through the study before reading these insights
1. Matthew 7:12 and the "Golden Rule"
It's interesting that the Golden Rule predates Christ's use of it in Matthew 7. Even in non-Christian cultures, there's an understanding that we should treat others as we wish to be treated. This is another proof of Romans 2:12-16 that says God's laws are written on all men's hearts.
But why is it called "Golden": It's generally understood that calling it "golden" means "as good as gold."
"The phrase began as "Golden Law" in the late 17th century in England, and gradually switched to Golden Rule. The use of the adjective golden does not reflect any direct connection to the element itself, but came about due to the connotation of gold as a superior item and something used to gauge the value of other things." (source)
2. Philippians 2:3-4
In almost every walk of life, Christians are called to a higher standard than those who have no understanding of God. When we think of others first, we aren't simply making relationships better--we're obeying God. And we know that when we obey God, the rewards are multifaceted. Even if we see nothing good come of our efforts here on earth, we know they matter to God.
This passage is especially meaningful in light of the emphasis our culture places on loving ourselves first and foremost. God's ways often collide with worldly philosophies.
copyright, 2014, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
All Scripture NIV unless otherwise noted.