Isaac has met Rebekah, got married at forty and is now hoping to have children. He prays because this doesn’t seem to be happening. It seems that Isaac had to go through a similar journey to his own father. GOD answers more quickly … although this does take two decades.
Whilst Rebekah is pregnant she discovers that she is carrying two babies. They seem to jostle inside her and so she inquires of the LORD and He speaks.
23 The Lord said to her,
“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger.”
Two nations – GOD had promised Abraham that he would be the father of a nation, yet here we hear about there being two nations. Would one be chosen and the other not?
Two peoples will be separated – It seems so …
When the babies are born, Isaac finds that he has has two sons. Two sons to bless, encourage, train, teach, envision … but Isaac favours the older son Esau, whilst his wife favours the younger, Jacob.
This must have affected the family dynamic. I know that as a parent I try not to favour one child above another, but that isn’t always what is perceived by the child. There was, however, a reason for Isaac to favour Esau. As oldest son, his birthright was an honour and gave him head of household status. He would ultimately inherit his father’s riches and a double portion of whatever was passed down. Rebekah, on the other hand, knew what GOD had said about her babies and so knew that Jacob would be the one to rule.
As the sons grew into young men and they had very different characters and lifestyles. Esau preferred to be out hunting while Jacob stayed home. They had two loves, two minds and two hearts. They were not similar despite the cliche being twins. They were opposites – stronger and weaker, older and younger, shortsighted and farsighted.
Esau then made a bad choice that would reveal their two differing beliefs and set them on two different paths. Having come home from hunting, he was hungry. His attitude was that he would die if he didn’t eat that very minute, he was famished (not starving). Since Jacob was cooking a lentil stew, Esau demanded to have some. Jacob, living up to his name a little (meaning – deceiver), told he he would sell the stew for the birthright. Esau agreed.
It makes me wonder how many of the choices and decisions we make while we are ‘famished’ are wise ones. I know supermarkets do much better if we shop when we are hungry because their trade goes up. What other decisions should be made on a ‘full stomach’, from a place of being satisfied? I think that the answer has to be all of them. It is very easy to react in the moment without consideration and thoughts of consequences.
If our appetites are not fulfilled we look elsewhere to be full. This applies spiritually too. How many times have you avoided a prayer meeting because you are tired? Watched a movie instead of having time with GOD? Chosen to be irritated rather than show compassion? The list goes on … I put my hand up to all of these. I have experienced that in other prayer meetings it was the best place for refreshing. I am conscious that reading my Bible (especially since I began journaling), praying and worshiping can take me on much better adventures. I am convinced that compassion is a gift that needs to be given freely. I know what I should do, but choose otherwise, for the quicker fix. Yet I am fully aware that the place of complete satisfaction can only be found in GOD. It can often take longer and requires more effort, (you could think of it as preparing a meal rather then going for take out like Esau did) but it always reaches all the places of hunger in the end.
It is true what it says in Luke 16:13.
13 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. [You cannot serve both God and money.]”
This verse is referring to money, but you could just as easily put anything and anyone in its place. (I am not saying you should hate and despise people – but to put them in the place of GOD would mean that you hate and despise GOD …) Esau served his hunger and his despising of the blessing rather than seeing and living in the incredible blessing of his status as favoured son.
I have a choice. What do I want to love and be devoted to? What do I need to hate and despise? I have been made with only one heart, one mind and one body, I cannot be two people and live divided.
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’” Matthew 22:37
So maybe some questions I will leave you with … Where are you famished? What choices are you making on ‘an empty stomach’? Where have you been double minded and double hearted? What blessing are you going after?