Nº 20 - January 20
Jacob wanted more than just his older brother’s birthright. He wanted the blessing that Esau was going to receive as well. “The blessing” was an honor that was passed from a father to a son when the father’s death was near. It was a formal, binding statement, and once it was given it could not be revoked. In it, the father would describe the son’s inheritance and explain his future role in the family. The blessing almost always passed the responsibility of family leadership on to the oldest son. Jacob desperately wanted this role, but unless he could somehow intervene, his father would give it to Esau. As Isaac aged, he grew blind. He realized it was time to give his final blessing to his oldest son. But first he had a request. He asked Esau to go hunting and prepare one last tasty pot of stew for him. Then he would give him his blessing. Rebekah overheard this conversation. She knew how much her younger son Jacob wanted this blessing, and she thought he deserved it. Besides, hadn’t God promised her that one day Jacob would be the family leader (see Genesis 25:23)? She came up with a plot to make it happen. She would cook some goat meat exactly the way Esau cooked his venison, then Jacob could take it to his father. Since Isaac could not see very well, he would mistakenly give the blessing to his younger son. So, while Esau was out hunting, and the goat was in the pot cooking, Jacob got dressed in some of his brother’s clothes. He smelled just like Esau did after a long day in the field. But Jacob’s smooth skin would certainly give him away if Isaac reached out to touch him during the blessing. So Rebekah covered his hands and neck with goatskins. When everything was ready, Jacob entered his father’s tent. At first, Isaac was skeptical. Was this really Esau who had just walked in? How could he have returned so quickly? The voice sounded more like Jacob’s, but the skin certainly felt like Esau’s. Was this really his older son? Jacob answered every question with a lie—even lying about God’s role in the process. Finally, after eating some of the counterfeit stew, Isaac blessed his son. The blessing included abundant rewards from the earth. It gave him authority over his whole family and many other nations as well. Except . . . it wasn’t Esau who received this blessing. It was Jacob. He had stolen Esau’s identity and robbed his blessing. Soon Esau arrived from hunting. He walked into his father’s tent with his tasty stew. Suddenly Isaac realized what had happened. He had been tricked. The blessing meant for Esau had been given to Jacob. Isaac trembled with anger, while Esau cried and begged for Isaac to bless him. Isaac could not undo what had already been done. He gave a very different blessing to his oldest son. He had already promised all the important things to Jacob.
Do you always choose to do what is right according to God’s standards, or are you more likely to do what works best for you at the moment—like Esau did with his birthright (see #19) and Jacob and Rebekah did with “the blessing”?
Does the end ever justify the means? Remember, God cares more about our character than our accomplishments.