When her days to give birth were completed, behold, there were twins in her womb. The first came out red, all his body like a hairy cloak, so they called his name Esau. Afterward his brother came out with his hand holding Esau's heel, so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them. When the boys grew up, Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents. Genesis 25:24-27
About a dozen times in the Bible God is referred to as the “God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” We’ve met Abraham and Isaac. Today we meet Jacob. He’s kind of a big deal, but you may be surprised at his journey. His name means “heel grabber” if that gives you any hints.
Isaac grows into a young man. His mother (Sarah) dies and his father, Abraham, wants to make sure Isaac marries and continues the family line. He doesn’t want Isaac to take a wife from among the Canaanites (where they are currently living), but instead from his home country. Rebekah is the lucky bride to be. Abraham dies a happy man.
Rebekah becomes pregnant with twins, Esau and Jacob. Wrestling in the womb, God tells Rebekah that the older will serve the younger. As the firstborn, Esau had certain family rights to the greater inheritance (a double portion) and family blessing (this is a big deal…especially in this family rooted in God’s covenant promise!). But Jacob may have something to say about that…a heel is not the only thing Jacob will grab from his twin brother.
Esau comes home from the fields one day exhausted and hungry. Jacob says if Esau sells his birthright, he will give him some stew. Esau agrees. Must be some good stew!
Just like that, in a snap decision out of hunger and a devaluing of his much more valuable birthright, Esau trades it all to satisfy his immediate appetite.
Questions: Are you sometimes quick to make decisions that aren’t very wise…that satisfy in the short term, but have long term consequences? Do you often value the immediate over the eternal?
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