Esau’s Lost Blessing1
As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, when Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of his father Isaac, his brother Esau came in from his hunting. He also prepared savory food, and brought it to his father. And he said to his father, “Let my father sit up and eat of his son’s game, so that you may bless me.” His father Isaac said to him, “Who are you?” He answered, “I am your firstborn son, Esau.” Then Isaac trembled violently, and said, “Who was it then that hunted game and brought it to me, and I ate it all before you came, and I have blessed him?—yes, and blessed he shall be!” When Esau heard his father’s words, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, “Bless me, me also, father!” But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully, and he has taken away your blessing.” Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright; and look, now he has taken away my blessing.” Then he said, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?” Isaac answered Esau, “I have already made him your lord, and I have given him all his brothers as servants, and with grain and wine I have sustained him. What then can I do for you, my son?” Esau said to his father, “Have you only one blessing, father? Bless me, me also, father!” And Esau lifted up his voice and wept.
Then his father Isaac answered him:
“See, away from the fatness of the earth shall your home be,
and away from the dew of heaven on high.
By your sword you shall live,
and you shall serve your brother;
but when you break loose,
you shall break his yoke from your neck.”
Jacob Escapes Esau’s Fury
Now Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him, and Esau said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are approaching; then I will kill my brother Jacob.” But the words of her elder son Esau were told to Rebekah; so she sent and called her younger son Jacob and said to him, “Your brother Esau is consoling himself by planning to kill you. Now therefore, my son, obey my voice; flee at once to my brother Laban in Haran, and stay with him a while, until your brother’s fury turns away— until your brother’s anger against you turns away, and he forgets what you have done to him; then I will send, and bring you back from there. Why should I lose both of you in one day?”
Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I am weary of my life because of the Hittite women. If Jacob marries one of the Hittite women such as these, one of the women of the land, what good will my life be to me?”
The Guilt of Humankind
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse; for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools; and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
God spoke creation into existence and breathed life into humanity, and the entire universe, from the distant stars, to the tiny atoms that construct us all continue to breathe with Him. There is a movement of expanding and contracting that creates movement, causes growth, and exhibits the signs of life.
Trees sprout and grow leaves in the spring and drop them in the fall (pine cones for the evergreens). Eggs are guarded and protected, fed when the baby birds hatch, but eventually pushed out of their nests. Even water itself collects in pools, the disperses as it evaporates into the air… collects in the air again, and the disperses as the clouds pour out raindrops. it is everywhere and in everything. That does not make it comfortable though. We live in the paradox that it is “not good for man to be alone”, but that he will leave his mother and father to seek a wife, because the role of parents holding a family together only works for a time. After that it becomes a hindrance to growth – for both parents and children.
The injustice of Esau’s stolen blessing looks like a question of inheritance and property, but it goes much deeper into relationships. In rural, agricultural-based communities, it is important to have children, to help with the farmwork. However, it is important to not have too many children, because a farm that can support one family of five in one generation would get divided three ways, making it unlikely to be able to support 3 families of five. The number of mouths to feed grows exponentially, but the land amount stays the same. This was where the traditions of giving the oldest child the greatest share of the inheritance started. It keeps the land in the family, and frees the younger children up to go acquire new land or to move and take other jobs entirely.
The appropriation of land itself has caused numerous family conflicts which sometimes have become outright wars. However, in the case of Jacob and Esau, there was one more important factor that came with the land: the care of mom and dad. When parents became too old to care for themselves and others, it was the responsibility of the oldest to care for them, because they stayed on the land. The younger son would be sent away to find their fortune elsewhere. This is where Rebekah comes in. She did not want to let go of her Jacob and be stuck with Esau and Isaac for the rest of her life. So she had Jacob trick Isaac into getting the first blessing (and with it, the right to stay home). Perhaps she reasoned that Esau would fare better out in the wilderness than Jacob would. Regardless of her reasoning, scripture tells us that Jacob was her favorite, so I expect her motives were not entirely pure.
Jacob ended up leaving anyway, for quite a few years. Our attempts to hold on too tightly to people and things that are meant to be released almost always backfires on us. Love involves trusting someone enough to let them go in the hopes that they will eventually come back.
God demonstrates that to us in that we all stray away from Him. He pursues us and rescues us, but He does not lock us in our room. We have the freedom to leave any time we please. He shows his love for us in the very fact that He allows us to sin against Him in the first place. How much greater than is His love for us that welcomes us back home again.
What relationships do you need to break loose from?
What relationships do you need to return to?
- (Heb 12:17)↩