Observations on Esau

Posted: December 27, 2012 in Faith

Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has cheated me these two times. He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing.” — Genesis 27:36

This verse leapt out at me today. How often do we blame others for our own foolishness? Esau isn’t entirely honest here, with himself or his father. Okay, here in chapter 27 Jacob very clearly did cheat Esau out of his blessing. (There are so many lessons on what not to do and failures in faith and lack of trust in God throughout this chapter.) But I don’t think Jacob took away Esau’s birthright in the same way.

That story is told just a couple chapters earlier in Genesis 25:29-34. Esau comes home after an unproductive day of hunting. He’s hungry. He asks Jacob for some stew. Jacob agrees to give him some in exchange for his birthright. Esau sells his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew. Verse 34 says, “Thus Esau despised his birthright”.

Yea, Jacob was being a jackass, but he didn’t trick his brother here. Esau says in verse 32, ““I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” I think he’s exaggerating here, as we all do, to express how hungry he feels. Even so, it would be incredibly foolish for me to trade my inheritance (if there were any) to my sister in exchange for a Double-Double with fries and a coke.

No, Jacob didn’t take away Esau’s birthright. Esau despised it and sold it for a meal. Yea, the second time around Jacob stole the blessing. But Esau ought to have owned up to his own failures. I guess the lesson I took from this was to make sure I get the log out of my own eye when I feel I’ve been wronged. I need to spend more time in reflection and mediation, to listen to the Holy Spirit reveal to me what I’ve yet to give over to His control. In short, I need to focus.

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