Skip to main content

Jacob and Esau

I had what was, perhaps, a "duh" moment looking at Scripture this morning.  In my daily Bible reading plan, I'm reading the story of Jacob and Esau, and how Jacob conned Isaac out of his blessing.  Essentially, Jacob received the bulk of the estate, the wealth, instead of the firstborn, Esau.

Then Esau decided he's going kill Jacob. Now, until now, I've always read this, and I think heard it preached, that Esau is angry. That's why he's going to kill.  And that's part of his motivation.  There's another issue at stake, though, here.  The blessing that Isaac received was not just spiritual well-wishes or happy thoughts, but entailed with it the right to receive most of the estate.  Between that and the whole birthright-for-stew swap earlier, and Jacob gets basically all of Isaac's stuff and influence.

And who inherits this if Jacob is dead? At this time, Jacob has no wife and no heir.  His stuff would go….to his brother, Esau.  It's not just anger that's brought murder to the table, it's wealth. It's the response to the scheming: brute force to even the score.

Jacob then flees. Survives, and comes back later. In the meantime, due to Jacob's absence, Esau receives the material inherent in the inheritance. His threat of force satisfies his desire for the stuff.

For the next 20 years, the brothers are separated, the family destroyed.  Why? Scheming, greed, violence.  These attitudes destroy this family.

They still destroy families.  The modern family, especially here in America, sees this modeled on TV, in movies, and too often around their own dinner table.  It's not a good thing.  It's a bad thing.

Look at Jacob: he thought he could succeed through scheming, yet he didn't count on a violent response.

Look at Esau: he wasn't as bright, but thought strength would even the score.

Look at what happens: Isaac and Rebekah do not go the their graves in peace.

A few practical observations:

1. For the schemer: stop it, before you get hurt. Really. There are people in this world that cannot keep up with you, and they will resort to inappropriate means in response. 

2. For the violent: end it.  Seriously, there is no need for you to fall back to brute force to make your point.  People will respond to your violence, not your point.  Where does it end?

3. For the wiser: say something about it to the younger ones behind you.  Isaac and Rebekah had, seemingly, been aware of Jacob's tricky nature and Esau's physical prowess.  Did they ever instruct the boys to dial it back and to balance themselves? No.

One of the things I think we've lost in our society is this: a respect for our elders, a willingness to listen and thereby balance our own youthful impulses.  We watch Band of Brothers and think "I'd like to be a warrior like those men" rather than listening to them: not once do you hear Easy Company suggest wars and violence are good things. My recollection is that Maj. Winters and the others would have given anything for war to be unnecessary ever again, and in fact that was one of their hopes.

We need to listen, to learn, and to restore a willingness to hear the wisdom of the elders in our society.  Our generation is making a mess of things, and we're headed downhill in a hurry.

A question for you: Who are (were) the elder influences in your life?

Doug

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Curiosity and the Faithlife Study Bible

Good morning! Today I want to take a look at the NIV Faithlife Study Bible. Rather than spend the whole post on this particular Study Bible, I’m going to hit a couple of highlights and then draw you through a few questions that I think this format helps with.



First, the basics of the NIV Faithlife Study Bible (NIVFSB, please): the translation is the 2011 New International Version from Biblica. I’m not the biggest fan of that translation, but that’s for another day. It is a translation rather than a paraphrase, which is important for studying the Bible. Next, the NIVFSB is printed in color. Why does that matter? This version developed with Logos Bible Software’s technology and much of the “study” matter is transitioning from screen to typeface. The graphics, maps, timelines, and more work best with color. Finally, you’ve got the typical “below-the-line” running notes on the text. Most of these are explanations of context or highlights of parallels, drawing out the facts that we miss by …

Foolishness: 1 Corinthians 1

In Summary: 1 Corinthians opens with the standard greeting of a letter from the Apostle Paul. He tells who he is with (Sosthenes) and who he is writing to. In this case, that is the “church of God that is in Corinth.” He further specifies that this church is made up of those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be saints. 
He then expresses the blessing/greeting of “grace and peace” from God. From there, Paul reflects on his initial involvement with the Corinthian people and the beginning of the church. After that, though, there are problems to deal with and Paul is not hesitant to address them. He begins by addressing the division within the church. Apparently, the church had split into factions, some of which were drawn to various personalities who had led the church in times past. There is no firm evidence, or even a suggestion, that Paul, Cephas, Apollos, or anyone else had asked for a faction in their name. Further, the “I follow Christ” faction may not have been any le…