- Any of various carnivorous mammals of the genus Mustela, having a long slender body, a long tail, short legs, and brownish fur that in many species turns white in winter.
- A person regarded as sneaky or treacherous.
I'm no naturalist, but perhaps the weasel gets his well-known reputation for skullduggery from his habit of stealing and eating eggs of other animals. Their name "Mustela" means 'one who carries off mice,' and the weasel is known as a fierce fighter who will attack animals many times its size, fighting ferociously. But when we say to someone "you little weasel" we are not giving out a compliment.
Which brings me to Jacob. (His story picks up in Genesis 25-35) Maybe you've heard of him by his more famous name "Israel." That's a great, godly name that means "one that prevails with God." But Jacob was his given name, something that meant "supplanter," "one who grabs by the heel." Literally, it was a reference to his birth as a twin, grabbing on to his brother's leg for a boost out of the womb. But apparently this kid lived up to his name, managing to swindle his own (older) brother out of his birthright. He disguises himself with a clever "arm wig" to fool his dad into blessing him, and with his mother's help executed to perfection his plan to steal the family "nest egg." Liar, cheat, manipulator, Weasel...That's our man Jacob.
See this is the thing I love about the Hebrew Bible. The characters there are wildly authentic. You can't make this stuff up--it feels too real. Too close for comfort, in fact, because when I watch Mr. Weasel closely, I confess I see myself. Take for instance this week. I am playing the game of LIFE with my kids, a Christmas present to the fam. My son (Lil' Weasel) has a recurring habit of cheating at games, which he sharpened to perfection through a series of bank "withdrawals" convenient "spins" of the dial that just happened to land him on "Collect $500,000" spaces. You know the drill. So in my best fatherly tones, I lectured him on the dangers and evils of cheating. Then about two thirds of the way through the game, I spin a "three" which should have landed me on a "Pay $20,000" spot, but noticing that my kids are distracted I stop at "two" which was a "Collect $200,000" spot. Isn't that convenient? I shocked myself by continuing on as if nothing had happened.
A momentary lapse? A silly child's game? I think not. I'm no naturalist, but I can spot a long-tailed weasel when I see him. I have this distressing tendency to skulk through life looking for the eggs left lying in a convenient spot, and well trained in the artifices necessary to give those eggs a new home. All my religious devotion can't mask that weasel musk. And when I read more of Jacob's story, I recognize how Mr. Weasel relates to his creator.
0 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear 21 so that I return safely to my father's house, then the LORD will be my God 22 and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God's house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth."
Jacob in the famous "Jacob's Ladder" scene realizes that the God of his father Abraham and Isaac is near him. He didn't realize it. He's a little spooked at first, but then he thinks, "Hey, maybe there's something in this for me." So he starts negotiations with Almighty God, to get him on Team Jacob. "Look, IF you will be with me, look after me, give me what I need, then I will cut you in on 10% of the action. Sign here, and here, and here." Awfully nice of Jacob to cut God in on his life.
I feel that way--immature faith, self centered deals with God for my aims, my goals, my "eggs." Mr. Weasel, signing God onto the journey as a guide and go-to guy. Immature faith, better than nothing, I suppose. But in need of growth for sure.
How does your faith grow? Do you find yourself making deals with God? Cheating children? (ok, that's probably just me) Are you in touch with your inner weasel?