Your Blowup Is God’s Setup
“Living an immoral life is like supergluing a bomb to your body that you have no way to disarm. You might be able to live in denial of the bomb but you’re going to find it very difficult to live in denial of the explosion.” Craig D. Lounsbrough
Anybody can build bombs. Maybe not the chemical kind, but definitely the emotional kind. Emotional bombs can be created when we sin. They can blow up our life and the lives of those around us, sometimes for generations. These explosions can create damage that is deeper and broader than a bundle of dynamite.
Consider these bomb components which are familiar to us.
Gossip and evil reports
Jacob, grandson of Abraham, was a pro at bomb building and yet, God still used him in world-changing ways. I think of it like a volleyball strategy. Jacob creates explosive situations with his brother,(stealing his birthright) his wives (marrying two sisters and only loving one of them) and his sons (favoring one of his twelve sons over all the others), like an unskilled volleyball player attempting a bump near the net.
Miraculously, God takes Jacob’s set-ups, spins them around and turns them into kill shots on Satan’s side of the net. In Genesis 28, the aftermath of Jacob’s explosion with Esau, he encounters God in one of the most famous apocalyptic moments in the Bible. When Jacob and his mother, Rebekah, conspired against Isaac, his father, and Jacob’s older brother Esau, to steal Esau’s birthright (a huge deal in ancient Hebrew culture), do you think mother and son understood that they built a bomb? A bomb that would blow up Isaac and Rebekah’s family?
In Genesis 27 we read about the trickery Rebekah and Jacob used to get Isaac, to bless him instead of Esau. During their planning stage, the two deceivers might tell you that the ends justified their means. The fact that Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of stew confirmed their belief that he didn’t treasure the things of God like his brother Jacob. Surely God did not want to build his special nation on the likes of Esau, did he? Turns out, God already told Rebekah and Isaac that Jacob would be the greater of the two brothers. (Genesis 25)
Nevertheless, Rebekah and Jacob decided they needed to help God along. I believe they were shocked by Esau’s rage (Genesis 27:41) and Isaac’s violent epileptic-like reaction. (Genesis 27:33) When this bomb detonated, there could be no more denial that Rebekah and Jacob messed up bigly. The original Hebrew in Genesis 27:33 says that Isaac shook with convulsions when he understood how he had been played.
In Genesis 25:23, God pre-determined for Esau to serve Jacob, even though Esau was the firstborn and should have received the firstborn blessing. Isaac convulsed because he tried to do an end run around God and bless Esau, instead of Jacob. His reward was to be tricked by his own wife and son. Mercy, there’s plenty of sin and blame to go around in this family.
Isaac should have submitted himself to God’s plan and chosen freely to give the blessing to Jacob. Rebekah and Jacob needed to trust God to use his own means to cause Isaac to give the blessing to the right son. Esau did show disdain for his birthright and only valued it when he realized all the material goods that came with it. Instead of humbling themselves and following God’s plan, everyone in this family built bombs. Then, all the bombs went “Boom.”
In Genesis 28 we read about the fallout from Jacob’s point of view. He’s on the run from a murderous brother. He’s left behind two aging, brokenhearted parents who are now separated from both their sons. Even when he briefly returns to his parents to receive blessing and instruction about his future wife, Isaac gives Jacob the Abrahamic blessing but scripture doesn’t record any words of love and affection between Isaac and Jacob. I believe Isaac was resigned to blessing his second son but not joyful about it. No happy send off for Jacob here.
On his way to his Uncle Laban’s house, where Jacob has been banished to avoid being murdered by his brother, Jacob encounters heaven come down to earth. Isn’t that just like our God? At probably the worst moment of Jacob’s life, lonely and isolated, God pulled back heaven’s curtain and spoke out loud to Jacob.
God allows Jacob a glimpse of the other realm of reality, lifting him temporarily out of his painful circumstances. God wanted to redeem all of Jacob’s conniving and its consequences to arrange this moment of revelation in the wilderness. Jacob’s blowup became God’s setup.
A beautiful ladder connecting heaven and earth appeared in a dream to Jacob. Above the ladder stood God himself who took this opportunity to speak to the runaway.
“I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants,” (Genesis 28:13) God continues on in verse 14 by giving the full Abrahamic blessing to Jacob and then finishes with this additional promise in verse 15.
“What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go.” Our loving Father foreshadows the same promise that Jesus will give to his disciples centuries later in Matthew 28:20. “And be sure of this; I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.” More than anything else, Jacob probably needed to hear that he was not alone.
Isn’t that what we need the most when we are standing in the ruins of a family, a business, our finances, or something else dear to us? We don’t need our noses rubbed in our failings or the failures of others. When a situation explodes, like Jacob’s family, I believe God gives us understanding about our role in the detonation quickly.
God wants us to own our sins and mistakes (not the same thing) but he doesn’t want us to set those as boundaries around the rest of our lives. In our shellshock, God understands that we need to know that he is near and has many more good plans for us.
He has hope for us.
He has provision for us.
He has guidance and protection for us.
From God’s perspective, your future with him is not contingent on whether you blew up your life or someone did it for you. It’s all just a setup for him to lead you into the next part of your destiny. We need to let go of this notion that some of us are operating on God’s plan B, C, D or even Z for our lives. That is not Biblical in any way. It presumes that God is surprised by the choices of man and then must scramble to make a new plan. Nonsense.
Does it seem to you that God changed his plan for Jacob’s life and his future descendants because of Jacob’s deception? No, he did not. What he did for Jacob he does for us. He is in no way bound by time, space, or circumstances.
Jacob recognized God’s presence in his life after a terrible sin and terrible consequences. He built up a memorial stone and anointed it to commemorate God’s redemption of his failure. He made a vow to God and became the first tither. (Genesis 28:18-22)
Are you in the midst of an explosion or trying to recover from one? Sometimes situations become slow, excruciating implosions; things just fall apart. That is just as painful as any explosion.
God is near. He may speak to you through dreams, visions, a quiet voice in your heart, signs, wonders, or any means he chooses to get you to look up at him instead of your circumstances. The more you humble yourself in the middle of the wreckage, the closer he comes to you.
He longs to lead you into the new things he is doing. Life can be sweet and purposeful again, just as it became for Jacob in Laban’s house.
When things blow up or fall apart in our lives, we need to follow Jacob’s example.
Get alone with God.
Recognize God’s presence in your life. He is always communicating with us but are we listening or paying attention?
Converse with him in prayer.
Reaffirm your commitment to him and his plans for you.
Remember, your blowups are God’s setups.