Aug. 7, 2015

Genesis 27:8-11 (NIV)
Now, my son, listen carefully and do what I tell you: Go out to the flock and bring me two choice young goats, so I can prepare some tasty food for your father, just the way he likes it. 10 Then take it to your father to eat, so that he may give you his blessing before he dies.”
11 Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, “But my brother Esau is a hairy man while I have smooth skin.
Genesis 27:15-19 (NIV)
15 Then Rebekah took the best clothes of Esau her older son, which she had in the house, and put them on her younger son Jacob. 16 She also covered his hands and the smooth part of his neck with the goatskins. 17 Then she handed to her son Jacob the tasty food and the bread she had made.18 He went to his father and said, “My father.” “Yes, my son,” he answered. “Who is it?”19 Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing.”

Genesis 27:35(NIV)
35 But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully and took your blessing.”

When I was a girl, my summer vacation consisted of long hot days chopping cotton. When school was out for the summer, most of the kids that I knew were swimming, going to summer camps, traveling and doing other more adventurous things.  Well that was not the case for those of us that were blessed, to grow up on a farm.  Please know that I am not complaining. I enjoyed my country upbringing, and now that I am older, I definitely see the value in this lifestyle. It was the chores that I did not care for. We had to rise early and work until after dark doing some kind of farm chore.

At an early age, my two brothers and I were taught to chop cotton and we probably spent 95% of our summer in the cotton fields. To say that we did not like it is truly an understatement. We detested it! Our days were super long and very hot and sweaty. Unfortunately, the weeds never stopped growing. As we chopped, we would pray for rain.  It never dawned on us that the rain we were praying for would make the weeds grow that much faster. We only knew that if it rained we could leave the fields. The three of us would have conversations about how much we would love to be doing something else, anything but chopping cotton.  Sometimes as we talked and shared our dreams, we would talk about what we were going to do when we grew up. All of this was in an effort to mentally escape the torture of the fields.

One particular summer, when I was around the age of eleven my dad dropped us off at a field that was approximately six miles from our home.   We were in the field for just a few hours when out of nowhere a bumblebee came and swooped down and stung one of my brothers.  A year or so before this happened, my dad had told us about a friend of his that died when they were kids. His friend was around the age of twelve and he too had been stung by a bee.  I conveniently used this story that my dad had told us to incite fear in my brothers. I told them that we should leave the field immediately because of the bee sting and this was a good reason to pack up and head home. I convinced my brother that he could die just like our dad’s friend did. He hesitated, thinking of the potential consequences that awaited us if we left the field early. I really believe in my heart that my brother did not think he would die from the bee sting. If the truth were known, he probably was just as excited to leave the field as I was, and this sounded like a fairly good reason to leave.

The three of us finally came to an agreement to leave the field and head home. We walked along the long dirt road that led to the main paved road. This was in the days before cell phones. When we had walked approximately a mile, we saw a man driving a tractor that worked for my dad occasionally. He stopped and asked us where we were going. When we told him our reason for leaving the field he cracked up with laughter because he knew our dad, and he knew, “that dog wouldn’t hunt”. With a big, grin on his face, he said, ” You just think you have been stung, wait until your dad hears this story”. He assured us that daddy was going to sting us,  just like that bee had stung my brother.

His laughter and comments made us a little afraid but we were committed to our goal, which was to leave that dreadful cotton field and have a nice day of rest at home.

During the summer months, my mother taught Summer School at the local elementary school. The school was about four miles down the road on our way home.  We decided to stop there and share our news with her and possibly seek a little pity from her, at least more than we had received from the gentleman driving the tractor.  Needless to say, when she saw us in the school covered with dirt and dust from head to toe she was a bit curious as to why we were there. Her first words were, “why did you all leave the field?” We shared our story with her in dramatic fashion of course. To our surprise, there was no pity from her or if it was, we certainly didn’t see it that day. She only said, ” you all know when your dad gets home you are going to be in trouble, don’t you?”  Although afraid, knowing that we had abandoned the chores that our dad had left for us to do, we had a unified front and we continued our little march home.

When we finally arrived home, we were so glad to be there that it almost seemed like we had made the right decision.  However, when my dad got home, things quickly took a turn when he asked us how many rows of cotton that we each had chopped that day.

The words how many, always amazed me.  Each row was a quarter of a mile long, and we were each chopping our own row. One would think, is it really possible to chop more than one in a day? I assure you, we found out many times over that, it was possible to chop several in a day, and it was not just possible it was expected.  Things got even worse when my brother announced that I had told him that he could die if he continued to stay in the heat after the bee sting. I must tell you that my dad is, and always has been a very reasonable man and a very compassionate man. Had my brother really been terribly I’ll my dad would have been more understanding, but he knew his children, he also had heard us talk about those cotton fields in a not so favorable manner, and he saw right through this little story. He knew our reason for leaving the field had nothing to do with the bee sting and everything to do with wanting to have a day totally free of chopping cotton.

Daddy announced to us that because of our disobedience we would each received a spanking. He also announced that I would receive more licks because I was the oldest and I knew better than to mislead my brothers.  The three of us remember this story and the dreadful spanking that inspired us to be obedient to this day.  When we are all together at family gatherings this story almost always comes up. My brother, although old enough himself to have known better at the time, likes to refer to it as the day that I tricked him out of the cotton field. Needless to say we never left another cotton field before we were suppose to.

I learned several things from the bumblebee and the cotton field experience that can be applied also to our spiritual lives as well.

1. Obedience is better than sacrifice.
2. There are always consequences for doing wrong.
3. When we deceive others through a lie or manipulation of any sort, we offend God and we bring hurt to all involved.
3. We should never use someone else’s misfortune or weakness as an opportunity to have our way or to take advantage of them. Our motives must always be examined and must always be pure.
5. We are responsible for the example we set before others.
6 .We should always assume responsibility when we have done wrong.

When we deceive others through a lie or manipulation of any sort, we offend God and we bring hurt to all involved. We should never use someone else’s misfortune or weakness as an opportunity to have our way or to take advantage of them. Our motives must always be examined and must always be pure.

1 Samuel 15:22 (NIV)
22 But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord?  To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

Galatians 6:7 (NIV)
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.  A man reaps what he sows.



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