I am definitely a people pleaser—too much so, sometimes. If I do something that disappoints, I will do most anything in my power to smooth over the issue and set it right.
My problem, however, is that while I generally do listen to the Lord when he tells me I’ve done wrong, my ears quickly close after that. I’ll stop what the Lord impresses upon me to stop, but I use my own wisdom to replace it with a different behavior. And that is not pleasing to God.
An example? I’ve been struggling with yelling at my children too much. And God has convicted me that I need to stop. So, with His power, I am getting better about it.
But I forgot a very important step in this process. I let the Lord lead me in what to stop doing, but NOT in how I am to replace that bad behavior. So I ignore what used to make me scream. Or I get sarcastic. And my situation isn’t much better.
This reminded me of Esau, and the mess he made of his life. Esau, if you recall, was the (firstborn) twin brother of Jacob and the son of Isaac and Rebecca. He was his father’s favorite, but definitely got the proverbial short end of the stick. He lost his birthright and blessing to his brother’s trickery.
At age forty, he took two wives—both of them Hittites. The Hittites had many Gods, and this, of course, brought that influence into his family. These wives “were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah,” Esau’s parents.
Some time passed. I’d venture to guess that Rebecca and Isaac didn’t keep quiet with their son about their displeasure. But he didn’t really hear it until his brother was sent to find a wife from among their parents’ family. (See Genesis 27:46-28:5)
Now Esau learned that Isaac had blessed Jacob and had sent him to Paddan Aram to take a wife from there, and that when he blessed him he commanded him, "Do not marry a Canaanite woman," and that Jacob had obeyed his father and mother and had gone to Paddan Aram. Esau then realized how displeasing the Canaanite women were to his father Isaac; Genesis 28:6-8 (NIV)
Yup – he finally got the message. He knew what he shouldn’t have done. BUT, he didn’t seek any further information. He simply came to his own conclusion, and followed through without consulting his parents about what was best—much less his God.
so he went to Ishmael and married Mahalath, the sister of Nebaioth and daughter of Ishmael son of Abraham, in addition to the wives he already had. Genesis 28:9
Ishmael was no better than the Caananites—another clan who worshipped many Gods. Yet, Ishmael WAS Isaac’s step-brother. To Esau, it probably sounded like the perfect solution.
But to Esau’s father—and the Lord—it wasn’t.
Remember, there is more to following God than just stopping what He asks You to stop. You must continue to seek Him for every step of your journey. Don’t trust your own judgment without consulting the Father Himself. Trust Him, not your instincts.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6