You Little Thief, You!
I comforted myself that it wasn’t really a lie. It was a slight exaggeration! That’s all, and my intentions were good after all. It was all to make a point and to ultimately do good! Of course, all that justification came tumbling down when I was confronted with my “exaggeration.” By the way, have I ever told you I hate the taste of crow?
One of the most powerful rivers of wisdom in the Orthodox faith is the wisdom of sobriety of soul. It is in learning how to be sober in my life that sets me free to be humble and to be honest in love. And it is in being enslaved to the intoxication of pride and fear that causes me to either “embellish” my accomplishments, to medicate my fear of insignificance or arrogance, or to diminish another around me through comparison, all in an effort to protect my own fragile ego! But the Faith invites me to freedom by a sober life!
For a perfect example of the consequences of a lack of this sobriety, look at our Lesson today in Genesis 27:1-41. Here’s just a portion of the passage:
As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, when Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, Esau his brother came in from his hunting. He also prepared savory food, and brought it to his father. And he said to his father, “Let my father arise, and eat of his son’s game, that you may bless me.” His father Isaac said to him, “Who are you?” He answered, “I am your son, your first-born, Esau.” Then Isaac trembled violently, and said, “Who was it then that hunted game and brought it to me, and I ate it all before you came, and I have blessed him? – Yes, and he shall be blessed.” When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, “Bless me, even me also, O my father!” But he said, “Your brother came with guile, and he has taken away your blessing.” Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright; and behold, now he has taken away my blessing.” Then he said, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?” Isaac answered Esau, “Behold, I have made him your lord, and all his brothers I have given to him for servants, and with grain and wine I have sustained him. What then can I do for you, my son?” Esau said to his father, “Have you but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father.” And Esau lifted up his voice and wept. Then Isaac his father answered him: “Behold, away from the fatness of the earth shall your dwelling be, and away from the dew of heaven on high. By your sword you shall live, and you shall serve your brother; but when you break loose you shall break his yoke from your neck.” Now Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him, and Esau said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are approaching; then I will kill my brother Jacob.”
Jacob was the twin brother of Esau, only moments younger than his “older” brother. Jacob was his mother’s favorite and Esau was Isaac’s favorite. The boys were the poster children for sibling rivalry! As they grew, Jacob was the “artist” and Esau was the “manly hunter.” As Isaac, their father, was approaching his death, he was going to give the family blessing to his “oldest” son and that meant that this son would be the head of the family! To make a long story short, Jacob lied to his ailing father by pretending to be Esaus and stole the blessing from his brother! By the way, Jacob would be plagued by his weakness of lying his whole life!
The freedom from the intoxication of fear and pride makes my life much more like the life of God. You see, God has nothing to prove. God isn’t in danger of losing His place or having anything stolen from Him. God is completely free and humble and this is the kind of life He desires for us so that we will enjoy being with Him. But our fallen world encourages us to “defend” ourselves and “watch out for number one.” We are gripped by a society that rewards selfish ambition and punishes those who humbly choose to be free from the pressures of this distorted world.
Today, are you free to be humbly honest? Can you trust that, ultimately, God is enough for you and He will direct your path? The only way to build that kind of sober life is by first rejecting the temptations of intoxication by fear and pride and then embrace a Purposeful Orthodox lifestyle that will sober you up!
P.S. As we approach Holy Week, this microcosm of the wise rhythm of an Orthodox lifestyle invites us to a rigorous freedom of slavery to sobriety! Don’t miss this chance to be Orthodox on Purpose! And don’t forget to share these devotionals with family and friends. Please ask them to go to FaithEncouraged.org and sign up for the audio and written devotionals! Thanks.