Jan 21 (Daily reading: Genesis 27-29) Without excusing the conduct of Rebekah and Jacob, we will look at the deeper meaning of what happened in today’s story. We read in Malachi 1:2-3, “‘Was Esau not Jacob’s brother?’ declares the LORD. ‘Yet I have loved Jacob, but I have hated Esau.’” We go back to Genesis 25:32-34. When Jacob bribed Esau to sell him his birthright for a bowl of stew, Esau said, “Look, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?” After eating, Esau “got up and went on his way.” The conclusion of this rather casual attitude toward his birthright was, “So Esau despised his birthright.”
Before Rebekah and Jacob’s plot to ensure that Jacob would receive the blessing of the firstborn, the matter had already been decided by Esau’s disdain for the special privileges of his birthright. This was the right to be recognized as the firstborn son and included authority over the family as well as the responsibility for their wellbeing. In the case of Abraham’s descendants, the firstborn would be named in the genealogy of the Messiah. It was a very big deal!
We know well enough from the total context of the Bible that God does not hate people. But He does hate the attitude that Esau demonstrated when he despised his birthright, and He hates it when He sees it in our lives. This attitude says that we do not need God; we can make it on our own. It says that our plans are more important than His plans for our lives. It’s when we sing “I did it my way,” and mean it in a spiritual sense. The opposite attitude was expressed by Paul when he said at Athens, “God…is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist” (Ac. 17:27-28). This attitude acknowledges, “For from Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen” (Rom. 11:36).