Jacob was born with a destiny. So was I – so were you. But what does that mean? Is destiny the equivalent of predestination? Do I have any choice in the end result or is my “fate” set in stone?
According the the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, destiny is “1: something to which a person or thing is destined : fortune <wants to control his own destiny> 2: a predetermined course of events often held to be an irresistible power or agency.” Notice the statement “often held to be an irresistible power.” That does NOT mean that it MUST be irresistible – only that some people hold it to be so.
The concept of “irresistible” destiny is set in opposition to the truth of love and liberty. The highest form of love is to set one free. That is the work of our Savior, Jesus Christ:
John 8:32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. Hebrews 9:15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. (See also: Romans 8:2′; Galatians 5:1; Hebrews 2:15)
Our Father has not only sent His only begotten Son to die for us and set us free from sin (John 3:16), He also CREATED us free. We were created in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:26,27). To none of the other creatures did God say, “fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over… every living creature” (Genesis 1:28) It is impossible to do that unless we have free moral agency – the freedom to make our own choices – whether to obey or not. When Adam & Eve made the WRONG choice and sinned (Genesis 3:17) they proved that they (and all humans) had the freedom to choose.
God does not force us to make the choices that He knows are best. Revelation 2:21 is a good example… “And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.”
In the Bible, Paul dealt with destiny in his comments to the men of Athens (Acts 17:22-31). Paul spoke of the unknown god of the Athenians. In verse 26 he said, “From one man he [Jehovah God] made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.” That sounds like God created a situation in which a person has no choice.
Indeed, God HAS set some limits – such as the fact that we are not allowed to choose where we will be born. But in the next verse Paul clarified it… “God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” That statement makes it absolutely clear that MAN – not God – is the one making the CHOICE (whether or not to seek God).
I define destiny as the goal that God has designed for us to reach. Destiny is a goal that although God will assure that we have the opportunity, will not FORCE us to make the choices necessary to get there. My destiny is the place that God DESIRES for me – NOT some “fate” that will occur regardless of my actions.
Note: For more on the Biblical concept of destiny, check an earlier post here: https://chiefshepherd.com/2010/11/my-destiny/
That brings us to Jacob’s destiny. What was the “goal” that God wanted Jacob to reach?
The birth of Jacob is described in Genesis 25:19-28. Isaac’s wife Rebekah was barren but God allowed her to become pregnant.
Genesis 25:22 The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, “Why is this happening to me?” So she went to enquire of the LORD.That brings us to Jacob’s destiny. What was the “goal” that God wanted Jacob to reach?23 The LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.”
God designed that the younger twin (Jacob) would be part of the fulfillment of God’s covenant with Abraham (the grandfather of the twins). God told Abraham (Genesis 17:4-6, 16) that he would be the “father of many nations” and “kings of peoples will come from [your wife Sarah].”
The destiny that God designed for Jacob was that Jacob should become the patriarch of the nation Israel.