My thoughts (David Zier):
The story about Jacob and Esau seems so typical of brothers. Back in Genesis 25, we read about Esau trading his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew. In those days, birthright meant something, as the first born son would receive the fathers blessing and double the inheritance, for just being the first born son. In our culture, birthright carries a different meaning, and we trade for other things, like the better lunches at school as kids, or stocks as adults.
In today’s twisty story, it’s interesting that Isaac is not sure who he is talking to and looks for proof he is talking to Esau. He is tricked and assumes incorrectly. I think to myself, “Should Isaac not give the birthright to Esau (its rightful recipient) because he had already given it away for a bowl of stew?” But, how was Isaac supposed to know this?
I have always wondered why Esau became so upset when he learned what Jacob had done, tricking his father. He already give away his birthright away before this happened. Perhaps the lesson here is about the mess we make in our own lives. We do things to each other that cause families distress and dysfunction. We do things that are hurtful, deceptive and mean. We can be in one of these situations right now where all in the family seems hopeless.
After this incident, Esau was ready to kill Jacob and Jacob had to flee. Jacob remained on the run for many years. The story of Jacob and Esau shows what happens when there is bad blood in the family.
My brother and I, and my brother and my parents, had difficulties for nearly two decades, even giving up on any kind of reconciliation. Too many secrets, to much time passing, and too many bad decisions. Was my brother ever coming back?
Does it have to remain that way?
In the midst of Esau and Jacob’s turmoil, Jacob recognized that God was with him, and he was able to turn to God. Great things were to come, but it was not always so easy, but they worked out. It is never too late to turn our hearts toward God so the messes in our lives can turn into something beautiful; something that can help us learn about ourselves, God’s grace, and Christ’s unending love.
In my situation, I was not quite sure what to do. One day I felt indifferent, the next hopeful, and the next I was seeking God’s guidance. I realized that I needed to keep the situation on my prayer list, and to keep that prayer alive. Then a few years ago something changed; something beautiful happened. I won’t say everything is perfect. But we are together once again, and growing.
If we recognize God’s presence in the midst of our messy situations, and turn to God’s guidance, and carry that in our heart, we would not create so many messes in the world, and we could begin to fix the ones we created. Gods grace shines through, even through our messes. Let’s see God in the middle of them!
Prayer for the day: God, I pray that I can draw nearer to you so that I can learn more about myself in the difficult times, difficult relationships, and difficult circumstances of life. I pray that I can allow myself to live in the love of Christ so that I can show that love to others. Amen.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.