The Fake Cable Wire
So when Esau saw that the Canaanite women did not please Isaac his father, Esau went to Ishmael and took as his wife, besides the wives he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son. Genesis 28:8
Twenty-some years ago, we bought a house and were in the process of moving in when we discovered something odd. There was a cable wire sticking out of floor along the wall in a place that looked like a good spot for a TV. Upon further inspection though, it was simply a short piece of cable wire that someone had cut and stuck there to make it appear as if there was a cable hookup. It wasn’t a big deal to us – we never did put a TV in that living room – but it was concerning. What other flaws did they try to conceal? Who does that?
I’ve done something similar though. In my addiction, I lived in constant shame, so I tried to do enough good deeds to fool others. If everyone thought I was a good guy, I felt better about myself. And I certainly did do good things, but it was all just that a sham, as I had this entire secret life that I hid from everyone. Like lipstick on a pig however, the pretty facade didn’t change what was underneath. It just concealed it from the world for a little while.
Esau attempted this in today’s passage. His life up to that point had followed his impulsive appetite. But then he saw how his parents blessed Jacob for taking a wife from their own people. Esau had previously married not one, but two foreign women, which greatly displeased his parents. So, to manipulate their opinion of him, Esau married a cousin. Maybe Isaac and Rebekah were appeased, but this didn’t mean Esau had changed. The text is clear that he only did it for his own self-advancement. The marriage was a sham, like that fake cable wire, perpetrated to fool his parents.
Many of us have found ourselves here. We believe in God, and we call ourselves Christians. Deep down though, we know that our lives don’t really display any behaviors that we’d call radical obedience to Christ. We don’t daily abandon our will to follow him and anyone can see that our lives don’t look much different than those who don’t claim to follow Christ. So, we redefine what it means to be Christian. We dress up on Sunday morning and we go to church, singing worship songs, hoping that one hour covers up six days of living for ourselves. Like lipstick on a pig, and like that false cable wire though, our masquerade doesn’t fool God.