Summer Devotional and Sermon Series
Week 8/Heroes: Jacob
In the readings for today, we meet the twin brothers, Jacob and Esau, who were born to Isaac and Rebekah. It is interesting to note that the name Esau is believed to mean “hairy” and the name Jacob means “supplanter.” These meanings will play a role in the story of these two brothers as we will see.
Esau is the older of the two and as the older, is the rightful recipient of the blessing and birthright bestowed by his father. Receiving the birthright meant that the firstborn would become the head of the family and would have charge of the family property. It would be his responsibility to see to the welfare of the younger sons, the widow and any unmarried daughters. The blessing reserved for the eldest would place him in a special covenant relationship with the Lord. It was actually considered to be an oral contract as binding as a written one.
Esau could be described as somewhat impulsive and impatient…he could not see beyond his immediate needs. He was hungry and that is all that mattered at that moment. Jacob, living up to his name, took advantage of Esau’s moment of weakness and as a result, Esau bartered away his place of honor as the firstborn in order to fill his stomach. His focus was on the here and now and not on what he was losing.
Aren’t we all like Esau at times? Putting our immediate wants before anything else? It is easy to become focused on the here and now when we are bombarded with messages such as “ if it feels good ..do it” or “just do it.” We can lose sight of the ultimate prize as our focal point is what we want now. Just watch the news and you will hear stories about men and women who trade off years and years of good work for a fleeting moment of pleasure. Government leaders who give in to the lure of money and bribery after years of resisting. Corporate leaders choose their own financial gain at the expense of others simply because they are in a position to do so.
Esau serves as an example of how important it is that we don’t get so busy doing life our own way. Just as he made a poor decision with little thought of the consequences, we are capable of doing the same thing when we don’t seek God’s will along the way. God doesn’t want to be an afterthought…His desire is to be our all in all. When we abide in Christ and seek His will daily, we won’t live a life of regret. We will fulfill the purpose He has for us, whatever that may be. We may get sidetracked from time to time but as we continue to turn to Him, He will see that we finish well. Philippians 3: 13-14 reminds us of what our focal point should be “ But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”