Isaac was now old and had become blind. He sent for his older son Esau and said to him, “Son!” “Yes,” he answered. Isaac said, “You see that I am old and may die soon. Take your bow and arrows, go out into the country, and kill an animal for me. Cook me some of that tasty food that I like, and bring it to me. After I have eaten it, I will give you my final blessing before I die.”
While Isaac was talking to Esau, Rebecca was listening. So when Esau went out to hunt, she said to Jacob, “I have just heard your father say to Esau, ‘Bring me an animal and cook it for me. After I have eaten it, I will give you my blessing in the presence of the Lord before I die.’ Now, son,” Rebecca continued, “listen to me and do what I say. Go to the flock and pick out two fat young goats, so that I can cook them and make some of that food your father likes so much. You can take it to him to eat, and he will give you his blessing before he dies.”
But Jacob said to his mother, “You know that Esau is a hairy man, but I have smooth skin. Perhaps my father will touch me and find out that I am deceiving him; in this way, I will bring a curse on myself instead of a blessing.”
His mother answered, “Let any curse against you fall on me, my son; just do as I say, and go and get the goats for me.” So he went to get them and brought them to her, and she cooked the kind of food that his father liked. Then she took Esau’s best clothes, which she kept in the house, and put them on Jacob. She put the skins of the goats on his arms and on the hairless part of his neck. She handed him the tasty food, along with the bread she had baked.
Just be you!
This passage makes me feel really uncomfortable. At its heart is the plan to deceive Isaac and make sure that Jacob receives Isaac’s final blessing in place of Esau, whom Isaac had asked for.
Rebekah knew that she was doing wrong because she even told Jacob that any curse will fall on her, and not him. She really was desperate for Jacob to get this blessing in place of Esau. It feels competitive.
Modern day society feels endlessly competitive. Everything is both instant and disposable. Trying to keep up with trends is both exhausting and expensive, and we are often judged on which of these we have (or not).
I have two children – a three year old and a five year old. Already, I can see how much of their lives are spent in competition with each other. Despite them being very different characters, they want the same things, not because they actually really want it, but because if they don’t have it, then the other is favored.
The thing I find myself telling them most often is that they are different people and like different things, and so having the same things does not make sense.
I see one of the most important things that we can do as a parents is teach our children to be comfortable in their own skin – the media dictates perfection and drives competitiveness and I wonder had Jacob and Rebekah not been driven by these things in this story how much better it would have been for Jacob.
We know that Jacob struggles after this encounter– and maybe out of guilt over this situation he spends a night wrestling with God.
How different could his life have been if he had been secure enough to let Esau have the blessing, knowing that God maybe had different plans for him?
However, do we do this ourselves?
How often do we pray to God and then take our own direction in situations.
Sometimes it is about having the courage to let go of others expectations of us and be ourselves.
When all the technology and media and other fads have gone – there are constants left – ourselves and God.
We don’t need to compete – because God is not interested in the rest. Just you.
We thank you for who we are right now,
and we pray for the journey that we will take with you as we
pray and seek you in our everyday lives.
Rather than just saying it,
let us spend a few minutes today contemplating your love and its meaning to us
and see how we are transformed by it.
In your name, we pray
Lee Battle is an ordinand at the Northern College in Manchester.