And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, How hast thou broken forth? this breach be upon thee: therefore his name was called Pharez. (Genesis 38:29, KJV)
It's so interesting coming across Genesis 38:29 after watching T.D. Jake's "Rightfully Mine" sermon on YouTube just four days ago. He preached about Jacob and Esau. Historically speaking, the first born child received the birthright from their parents. But in the case of Jacob and Esau, Jacob was the younger of the two. Yet, he received the birthright.
We know the story of how Jacob tricked his father, Isaac, into blessing him instead of Esau. Jacob also swindled Esau's birthright away from him with a bowl of soup. Esau was hungry to the point of near death, so a bowl of soup appeared a little more appetizing than his birthright at that time. It seemed odd that God would bless Jacob even after he and his mother, Rachel, conned and schemed Esau out of his blessing and birthright. And then, here goes God showing me another biblical account of conning and scheming.
Twins Pharez and Zarah were conceived upon deception. Their mother, Tamar, tricked Judah (her father-in-law) into sleeping with her. She was a two-timed widow waiting to be given away to her third suitor, Judah's third son. However, Judah reneged on his promise and left Tamar a widow.
So, Tamar took matters into her own hands. She dressed as a harlot, slept with Judah, and became pregnant with her twin boys Pharez and Zarah. At the time of her delivery, Zarah stuck out his little arm first. The midwife wrapped a scarlet thread around Zarah's wrist to indicate birthright privileges. However, in a swift turn of events, Zarah drew back his hand and Pharez came out the birth canal first.
The midwife was astonished. She wondered how he was able to maneuver into first place when he was already counted as second. Thus, the baby boy was named Pharez which means "breakthrough" "burst forth" or "breach".
Now, what are we as readers of the Word to make of this? We see two scenarios in which scheming resulted in blessings... are we then to scheme and plot our way into blessings?
Of course not. Let's use basic wisdom here. We are not to lie like Jacob did. And we are not to fornicate like Tamar did. So then, why would God place these two examples here? What are we to learn from it?
Well, I'll share with you the two things I gathered from it so far. Oh, and check out that T.D. Jakes video too. It was awesome! But here are my two lessons from the two twisted scenarios:
God's plan will never fail, even if we misstep.
In Genesis 25:23, God informed Rachel that the elder of her twins would serve the younger. When Rachel delivered Jacob and Esau, they fought in the womb to be the first out the birth canal. Esau came first with Jacob literally hanging on to Esau's heel.
Now, since God had already told Rachel that the first would serve the last, it was unnecessary for her or Jacob to con Esau out of his birthright and blessing. God doesn't need our help in getting His will done. He's perfectly capable of doing it Himself. However, even if we misstep and try to accomplish His will the wrong way, His plan will always stand. Our missteps will never foil the plan of God.
2. No one can count you as second if you are meant to be first.
In both cases, the last ended up being the first. Jacob was the last born but God blessed him with firstborn privileges. Pharez was counted by the midwife as last born, but he ended up being first. The midwife even donned his twin brother as first with a scarlet thread... but her counting Pharez second meant nothing because God intended him to be first.
Please bear in mind that the world may count you as second best, but God can still crown you first. With God at your side, you can burst forth as first just like Pharez. You can breach into the #1 spot when everyone else has counted you out. You can witness a breakthrough that'll leave the world puzzled just as Tamar's midwife was left confused. Deuteronomy 28:13 states the following:
And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the Lord thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them
You see, second place just isn't fitting for God's children. Verse 12 of the same chapter says that God will open up "good treasure" to us and bless the work of our hands. He said that He would open up the heavens to rain on our land. God wants us in first place. He wants us to prosper!
Although God desires us to be first, first place should not be our ranking if we don't "hearken unto the commandments of the Lord thy God". Yes, God was incredibly gracious to bless both Jacob and Tamar despite their conning ways. However, let's not test God on His grace... we may not be so lucky (blessed).
I know this article is about 1st place; yet, I must mention 2nd place momentarily. Esau was in 2nd place. But if you read Genesis 36:7, we see that Jacob and Esau's combined possessions were too much for the land that they owned. So, Esau lived in one area and Jacob relocated to another area. Another example of a 2nd place winner is Ishmael. Ishmael was a "misstep". He only existed because Sarah and Abraham tried to incorrectly fulfill God's will. Yet, God still greatly blessed Ishmael as well (Genesis 17:20).
I mention 2nd place winners because the reality is that everyone isn't called to be a Jacob. Everyone won't be an Isaac. But even if we are an Esau, a Zarah, or an Ishmael, God can still bless us! 2nd place isn't so bad after all. Shoot, even last place is alright as long as we are placed next to God. Any placement with God is a grand placement indeed. As Psalms 84:10 states, "I'd rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness."
When we put everything into context, 1st place is all about walking with God. It's about how Christ put us first when He died on the cross for us. So regardless of whether we are a Jacob or an Esau, a Pharez or a Zarah, we are in 1st place whenever we allow ourselves to rest in the bosom of God. So, let's do all we can to get to first place, the right place, which is next to Christ. We can achieve 1st place the right way by allowing God into our lives by way of prayer, supplication, and meditating on the Word of God.
Alrighty, guys. That's it for this week. Have a wonderful day! But please remember, if the world counts you as 2nd place, kindly remind them that there's been a breach! God placed you 1st.