Esau and Jacob
Esau is a sad character. A son of Isaac….the first born, destined to have the birth-right.
(The birth-right was not only the double portion of the possessions Isaac had……which every first born should receive……but the covenant blessing. It spoke of the fact that the Messiah would come through his line.)
Yet, he cared nothing for that part of his first-born privileges. He cared for what would show that he was above Jacob.
Esau and Jacob were twins…but were entirely different. There was a struggle with each other, for preeminence, even in the womb.
Genesis 25:22 “And the children struggled together within her;…..And she went to inquire of the Lord.”
Esau loved being over his twin brother, practically more than any thing else.
Genesis 25:24-26 “And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.
And the first came out red, all over like a hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.
And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel, and his name was called Jacob:….”
But Jacob was also struggling….for preeminence….
…..so the difference was what they wanted.
Esau was a “cunning hunter”….a man of the field. (Genesis 25:27).
He cared for sport….
…..not planting….like his father.
He wanted to be out on his own….not held down by flocks and herds….like Abraham, his grandfather.
The boys divided their family…..their jealousy causing a problem between Isaac and Rebekah.
Isaac loved Esau best…..but only because of the venison he brought to him to eat….it was his favorite.
(A sad commentary of the older life of the promised son. How easy it is to let our spiritual life slide, when we are given everything, like Isaac was!)
Jacob was Rebekah’s favorite…..he was a gardener….and a herdsman. He loved the camp where his grandfather and mother lived (Hebrews 11:9)….and he usually stated close.
Though they are twins…..they are enemies…..sad, but true.
Again I say…..they both struggle for the preeminence……but the difference is in what they are struggling for….
And the thing which brings their desires to the forefront……is food.
Genesis 25:29-34 “And Jacob sod pottage (lentils): and Esau came from the field, and he was faint:
And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with the same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name was called Edom.
And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.
And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?
And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.
Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.”
The Words in scripture are very telling…..
Jacob is not seen in a good light here….he is sneaky, trying to get the birthright without waiting on God.
But Esau is worse:
He sells his best things….for what? A moments satisfaction!
But then (and to me this is the worst of it), he eats, drinks….and goes on his way….
….his conscience does not even seem to bother him…..that he just treated the best of gifts, with so little value…..
…..he is not seen repenting…or moaning over his sin….
(Now, I say this is the worst….for I have failed….badly….but I always feel bad….stricken in heart… troubled till I confess it)
Neither Isaac or Rebekah, like Esau’s life style. It is pretty much….what he wants, he does…without seeking God’s blessing, or theirs.
He takes a wife of the Canaanites, which grieves both of them….for they are godless and idolatrous.
Later Jacob tricks Isaac into officially blessing him, with the covenant blessing….because he dressed up like Esau…like I said, he is sneaky.
Furious, Esau says he will kill Jacob when Isaac dies….
(You would think now would be the time for Isaac to stand up and speak of God’s will (Hebrews 11:20)……but though he recognizes that Jacob was suppose to get the covenant blessing…..he only emphasizes that he could not take back his word.)
To save Jacob,….Jacob is sent on a journey, back to Rebekah’s family, for a wife.
Now, in all of this, God seems to be silent. Neither informing, or correcting.
(God is often silent when we, ourselves are not seeking Him.
Abraham was a man of altars…five times in scripture Abraham is said to build an altar……but Isaac is said to have built only one.)
Neither do they seem to inquire as how to raise the boys…or correct their faults.
Again, a sad commentary on how life can get away from us….if we are not diligently seeking God’s Word and direction day by day….for ourselves and our family.)
But now God is going to speak. And get Jacob’s attention.
Jacob, by himself, has left the camp of his youth, and set out on a hazardous journey….which would get him the wife he went for….but at a price of almost twenty years of service.
But on the way, God speaks to him…..Jacob is the schemer……but,…who wanted the birth-right….who wanted the Messiah to come from his line….the greatest blessing.
Genesis 28:12-13,15 “And he dreamed, and a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.
And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou lies, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;
And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.”
This is a promise that Jacob will need….and will use especially when he is brought back into the land…….when he is brought face to face with Esau again.
You will notice, that it is never said that God speaks to Esau….
….Esau has chosen his way….a way which does not want God…..only the worldly blessings.
So, that is what he ends up with……wealth….but without personal knowledge of God.
A life, lived…..with lots of things…..but without true meaning in the purpose of God.
After his time of serving Laban, Rebekah’s brother for his wives……Jacob again hears God.
Genesis 31:3 “And the Lord said unto Jacob, return unto the land of thy father’s, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.”
So Jacob returns to the land given Abraham and Isaac and himself from God….but is afraid to meet Esau.
Jacob and Esau meet, but not as Jacob imagines…..for God has seen to Esau, and he does not kill him, but is glad to see him…..telling Jacob all that he owns.
Then he tries to get Jacob to follow him home…..but Jacob excuses himself….and goes another way….not trusting Esau.
Later Isaac dies, and after Esau and Jacob bury him together….they separate….never to work together, or be together…..for they have chosen separate paths….Jacob with God,…though with many failures….
…and Esau to the worldly treasures….all ending in death.
(If you read Genesis 36, you will see his offspring. Taking titles, and seeking wealth, in Mount Seir, which God gave them.
Later when the children of Israel came to claim their inheritance, the children of Esau would not let them come through their land (Numbers 20:17-21)
…..how sad that they still wanted to show superiority over Jacob’s children….which shows how jealousy and envy are easily passed to our children.
The final judgement for Esau’s children came…..hundreds of years later….with the same jealousy and strife….they joined Israel’s enemies and cut off an escape for some of the people of Judah, when Nebuchadnezzar carried Jerusalem into captivity….
Obadiah 3, 13-14, 10 “The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitations is high (Mt. Seir); that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground?
Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity, yea, thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity;
Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress.
For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off forever.”)
Jacob (the Lord changes his name to Israel)…..goes on through many failures and losses to be the third patriarch…..adding his name to the line of the Christ….
…and at the end this is what he is looking toward.
Genesis 49:10, 18 “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh (Christ Jesus) come; and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be.
I have waited for Thy salvation, O Lord.”
He tells his children to bury him in the burial place Abraham bought (for at the time he was in Egypt)…..where Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, and Leah lay….in the land that God gave them….looking forward to the promise of God….though it were years off.
The way we go…..the journey we take….the people we meet…..all comes down to the choice we make.
It all comes down to what we want…..
…..do we want God in our lives…..are we “building altars” and having communion with God….the God Who will not leave us until He does all that He has spoken to us….
Or are we seeking to settle down in this world….to get our blessings here?
Jesus said, “Follow Me”……and in order to follow Him, we must “leave” everything (our jealousies, personal strife, our relationships)…..including ourselves……in His hands:
Matthew 10:37-39 “He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me.
He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it.”
What are we choosing?