Have you ever seen a good drama movie or had drama in your own family where favoritism, deceitfulness, and jealously ran high? If not, today's devotion will display all this drama.
As you may recall, Genesis 27 is about parents, Isaac and Rebekah, and their twin boys, Jacob and Esau who are two complete opposites. Esau whose name means "hairy" is the older brother and is the skillful hunter. He is loved more by Isaac and is referred to as Edom which is why his descendants are called Edomites. Jacob on the other hand is loved more by Rebekah and comes across as fair, with smooth skin. His descendants become known as the Israelites. Furthermore, he is born grasping the heel of Esau, so he is given the name Jacob which means deceiver. In Hebrew culture, grasping the heel was a figurative way to express deception. We first see discord in the family when Jacob barters Esau out of his birthright. In the ancient world, the first-born son received a double portion of the family inheritance. This double portion conveyed that the eldest male child preserved the family lineage and held a position of honor, respect, authority, and financial security. For nothing more than a bowl of red stew, Esau eventually gives in to Jacob's demand and forsakes that which is rightfully his and hands the birthright over to Jacob.
Next, we see Jacob steal Esau's parental blessing. This blessing, spoken by the father, involved the transfer of family leadership to the first-born son. Isaac, blind and on his deathbed, desires to give his final blessing to Esau. However, Rebekah wanted Jacob to receive it and encouraged him to deceive Isaac by posing as Esau and eventually steals his father's blessing (5-10). Esau responds to this deception by promising to murder Jacob who then flees for his life to Haran. Additionally, Esau tries to get revenge or upsets his father by marrying outside of the family or the covenant.
What can we learn from this drama filled story:
1. Our Actions have consequences: After Jacob deceives his father for the parental blessing, he is afraid because Esau is still holding a grudge and planning on murdering him, so he separates from the family. While fleeing for his life for twenty years to a place of unfamiliarity, we see Jacob leaves the comfort of home and the riches of his father. Whatever Jacob had hoped for through stealing the birthright, turns out to be not what it was cracked up to be.
2. What you sow is what you Reap Gal 6:9. Jacob deceptive actions came back to haunt him in the form of his uncle Laban, who was an even greater deceiver than him. He deceived Jacob by giving him Leah in marriage instead of Rachel and forcing him to work 14 years instead of the previously agreed upon 7 years before eventually giving Rachel to him in marriage. Also, Laban cheated Jacob out of wages by changing his salary 10 times.
3. Favoritism is never good especially in the home or the church as it creates dysfunction and causes dissension when the "favored' child's flaws are overlooked. Let's "make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace," (Ephesians 4:3).
In closing, we must remember when we seek our own way, we pay a high price. Although Jacob learned the hard way, we must remember all things work together... (Romans 8:28) as he may not have gotten close to God had he not been fearing for his life. Jacob tussled with Esau, Laban, and God himself. Despite Jacob's shortcomings, God was with him. Likewise, he will do the same for you, so no matter if you have been on the run or away from God, today you can Draw close to Him and He will draw close to you (James 4:8)!