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People cheat for various reasons: to get what they want like sex or drugs; to get money or things money can buy; to win games or elections; to avoid pressure from parents or coaches; to be popular or powerful. Long ago, Jacob ignored God’s desire for honesty when he deceived his father, Isaac, so he could get his brother’s blessing. He had already tricked his older brother Esau out of his birthright. Then at his mother urging, he took part in the plot to gain his father’s deathbed blessing. Isaac had asked his firstborn son Esau to go get some wild game, fix it so he could eat it, and bless him. His mother, Rebekah overheard them talking and she plotted to deceive Isaac. She fixed her husband a meal of goat meat, put goat skin on Jacob’s arms and neck, gave him Esau’s outdoor smelling clothes to wear, and then sent him to his father. Isaac asked him how he got the game so quickly. Jacob lied and said God put it in his path. Jacob succeeded in deceiving his father. He got the blessing all right, but he paid a price for his deception. He caused a split between his brother and himself that never healed. God did not approve of this deception, but he tolerated it because of his purpose and promise to Abraham. Jacob would learn later what all cheaters eventually learn: We cannot mock God and get away with it. Our sin will catch up with us.

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