Summary: God will still fulfill his promises, even in the middle of difficulty
How many of you have ever eaten at a Hard Rock Cafe? They can be found all over the world - in 59 countries, actually -- and it used to be popular to collect t-shirts from as many locations as possible. At one point I had a shirt from Beijing, China; Sydney, Australia; Paris, France; Rome, Italy; Gatlinburg, Tennessee; and Orlando, Florida thanks to trips that either myself or a member of my family had taken. The Hard Rock Cafe doesn’t just specialize in countries that are hot tourist destinations, either -- they have restaurants in Kazakhstan, Malta, Vietnam, Kuwait, Egypt, and other less travelled world destinations.
What makes the Hard Rock Cafe special isn’t the food, though it is good, but the atmosphere and the decor. The Seminole Tribe of Florida, the current owners of the Hard Rock Cafe, have over 77,000 pieces of rock and roll memorabilia, and are the owners of the largest private collection in the world. They have guitars from great names like Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton, and Jon Bon Jovi; stage costumes worn by the Beatles, and even original recordings of entire albums hanging on the walls of each and every restaurant. This collection is what makes eating a hamburger at the Hard Rock Cafe different than eating a hamburger at any other restaurant.
Some cities also have a Hard Rock Hotel, which expands the idea of the original restaurant and adds a several-hundred-room hotel to the property as an added form of income for the company. The Hard Rock Hotel is much smaller than the restaurant, though, with only a handful of hotels in less than 20 countries.
Tonight I want to talk about a different hard rock hotel -- perhaps the very first one ever. Turn to Genesis chapter 28. Chapter 28 starts with Jacob standing in front of his father, Isaac, preparing to go find a wife. But a lot has happened before they got to this point. Remember, Jacob and Esau were twins. Esau, the oldest, was Isaac’s favorite; but Jacob was Rebekah’s favorite. Jacob has already bought his brother’s birthright for a bowl of lentil stew, then lied to his father Isaac about it. After this point Esau held a grudge against Jacob, even though he’s the one who sold his birthright in the first place! Esau became a bit of a rebel in the family after this, and even married a woman from Canaan -- something that his father was specifically against. At the very last verse in chapter 27 we see Rebekah playing her sons against each other even more. “Then Rebekah said to Isaac, ‘I’m disgusted with living because of these Hittite women. If Jacob takes a wife from among the women of this land, from Hittite women like these, my life will not be worth living.’”
This is a classic example of manipulation, right? “If this happens, then my life won’t be worth living!” Rebekah was a classic drama queen who was very good at convincing her husband to do what she wanted. And, of course, he goes right along with it, doesn’t he? Chapter 28, verses 1-9: