Updated: Sep 4, 2022
Peace & Blessings Beloved,
TGBTG for allowing us to see another day. I pray all is well with you and yours, and that your week has been fruitful & blessed thus far.
In the seventh post of our new Humble Servant Blog Series, Stories of the Bible, we're going to review God's Blessing to Jacob, which can be found in the book of Genesis, starting with chapter 25, beginning at verse 1.
Jacob and Esau were twin brothers born to Isaac and Rebekah. The Bible tells us that even before Jacob and Esau got out of the womb, it was clear that there would be problems, which was a foreshadowing of their troubled relationship. Rebekah felt the babies jostling each other within her (Genesis 25:22) and when she asked God was what happening, His answer was that her sons would be the founders of two separate nations (Genesis 25:23). Not only that, but one of the sons would be stronger, and while one would be older, he would serve the younger one (Genesis 25:23).
The competition between the two brothers continued even when Jacob and Esau were coming out of the womb: Esau came out first, but Jacob came out a moment later, grabbing his brother’s heel (Genesis 25:24). Because Esau was born first he became legal heir to the family birthright which included, among other things, being heir to the Covenant between God and Abraham. This birthright was a link in the line of descent through which the Promised Messiah was to come (Numbers 24:17-19). What was also clear from the moment of birth was that the boys would look very different. Esau was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment (Genesis 25:24).
In contrast with Esau who was a skillful hunter and his father's favorite, Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents (Genesis 25:27), and his mother's favorite (Genesis 25:28). The Hebrew word for plain is the same word translated in other Scripture as perfect, upright, undefiled. So the word plain refers to Jacob's character as a man of God. God records His highest praise and blessing for Jacob: The LORD hath chosen Jacob unto Himself (Psalm 135:4).
Jacob also showed that he wasn’t above taking advantage of situations to get ahead of his brother. One day Esau came from the field, and he was faint: And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me . . . with that same red pottage (stew); for I am faint (Genesis 25:29-30). Knowing the character of his brother, Jacob replied: Sell me this day thy birthright (25:31). Esau had no interest in spiritual things so he agreed, saying: I am at the point (about) to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? (25:32-34). Esau could not have been at the point to die by missing one meal but he revealed how worthless he considered the birthright.
When Isaac was close to death it became time to give Esau his blessings. Isaac asked Esau to go hunt for a special meal after which he would pass the blessing. Urged on by Rebekah, Jacob put on a disguise that made his skin feel hairy like Esau’s and went to Isaac posing as his brother. Isaac was initially confused since this man talked like Jacob (Genesis 27:21-23) but decided to believe the evidence of his hands. He then blessed Jacob, a blessing that promised a number of things: Abundant food from the land (Genesis 27:28), dominance over other people (Genesis 27:29a), dominance over his brothers and deference from his mother’s family (Genesis 27:29b), that whoever cursed him would be cursed, that whoever blessed him would be blessed (Genesis 27:29c).
Esau came shortly afterward, and it quickly became clear what Jacob had done. Isaac told him that he could not bless him, and when Esau demanded something and wept, Isaac said the following:
Your dwelling will be away from the earth’s richness, away from the dew of heaven above. You will live the sword and you will serve your brother. But then you will grow restless, you will throw his yoke off your neck (Genesis 27:39-40).
Esau was enraged and plotted to kill Jacob sometime after their father had passed away (Genesis 27:41). Fortunately for Jacob, Rebekah learned about his plans and convinced Isaac to send Jacob away on the pretense of finding a wife among her people.
During the next few years, Jacob had a wide variety of strange experiences. Early on, he had visions in his sleep, of a ladder leading to heaven (Genesis 28:10-22). When he reached his mother’s country he met his uncle Laban and worked for Laban for seven years to marry Laban’s daughter Rachel. Due to some trickery on Laban’s part, Jacob married Rachel’s sister Leah first and had to work another seven years to get Rachel (Genesis 29:15-30). After Rachel had her first son, Joseph, Jacob planned to return home, but Laban convinced him to stick around longer. Jacob finally left when it became clear Laban’s sons resented him (Genesis 31:1-2). Taking the herds and servants he had acquired, his two wives, and the 11 sons he had between those wives, Jacob traveled back home to face Esau.
After leaving Laban, Jacob sent messengers to Edom, where Esau had settled. His messengers came back with the news that Esau was coming to meet Jacob…and bringing 400 men with him. Worried this was an army coming to kill him, Jacob sent out a gift of livestock to Esau and cautiously began moving toward a place where they could meet.
After his party had crossed the Jabbok River, Jacob sent his family and possessions ahead and spent a night alone. A man appeared, they wrestled, and Jacob refused to let go until after the man had blessed him. The man replied that Jacob was wrestling with God himself (Genesis 32:24-32).
The next day, Jacob returned to his party, and saw Esau arriving. He then moved Leah and her children to the front of his group, Rachel and Joseph to the back, and approached Esau in a humble pose (Genesis 33:1-3). Jacob approach bowing and moving slowly, but Esau ran to him and embraced him. They wept, and Esau asked about the animals Jacob had sent, protesting that he didn’t need a gift (33:4-9). On Jacob’s insistence, he took the gift and returned home (Genesis 33:10-12). Jacob traveled further into Canaan and bought some land that he settled on, naming it Elohe Israel (33:18-20).
Both Jacob and Esau were fathers of nations. God changed Jacob's name to Israel (Genesis 32:28), and he became the father of the 12 tribes of Israel. Esau's descendants were the Edomites (Genesis 36). Edom was a nation that plagued Israel in later years and was finally judged by God (Obadiah 1:1-21).
The writer of Hebrews referred to Esau as a profane (godless) person; one who will put physical desires over spiritual blessings (Hebrews 12:15-17). Before their births, God knew that Esau's descendants would become enemies of Israel for generations to come and He knew Jacob was a man of integrity. He had preordained that Jacob would be in the lineage of Jesus. Both Old and New Testaments use the story of Jacob and Esau to illustrate God's calling and election. God chose the younger Jacob to carry on the Abrahamic Covenant, while Esau was providentially excluded from the Messianic line (Malachi 1:2-3; Romans 9:11-14).
Jacob and Esau literally were fighting each other from before they could remember. One of them cheated the other in a massive way, and it looked for a while as if revenge was going to settle their rivalry permanently. Instead, Esau forgave Jacob and they reconnected.
Likewise, in our case, we should always repent of our wrongdoings, forgive anyone who has wronged us, and work toward reconciliation.
May we establish, nurture, and grow a sincere love for the word of God, and study it lovingly & faithfully.
I pray you receive this with the love intended, and apply it to wisdom.
Love you much.
Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Blessed!
P.S- If you have not given your life to Jesus Christ, I implore you to take the time to do so right now. Use John 3:16 & Romans 10:9-10 as a foundation for making your confession of faith. And use Ephesians 2:1-10 to provide proper context for your salvation.