Friday, April 5, 2013

Looking ahead to future harmony

The story of Jacob and Esau includes ambition, greed, inheritance, and divided parental expectations. In Middle East culture, the firstborn son got the lion share of the family goods. With goods came authority. Being the firstborn brought great responsibilities to care for the family, but that son determined how the rest of his family lived.

Esau beat Jacob into the world by just a few minutes. From birth, Jacob grasped Esau's heel and wanted the privileges and rights of his older brother. Here's part of the story - how Jacob legally stole the inheritance:

One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry. Esau said to Jacob, "I'm starved! Give me some of that red stew."' (This is how Esau got his other name, Edom, which means 'red.')

"All right," Jacob replied, "but trade me your rights as the firstborn son."

"Look, I'm dying of starvation!" said Esau. "What good is my birthright to me now?"

But Jacob said, "First you must swear that your birthright is mine"' So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother, Jacob.

Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate the meal, then got up and left. He showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn. Genesis 25:29–34 NLT

Eventually Esau and Jacob's descendents became foes. They fought for land and power in later generations. The enmity of their forefathers became a wedge between neighbors and cousins.

What kind of a legacy are you building with your siblings and friends? Are you a heart friend? A selfish conniver? A peacemaker? A thorn in the family's side? How will later generations speak of you?

 Think of ways you could show love, forgiveness, and inclusion to those around you. We'd love your ideas!


1 comment:

  1. I've always been bothered by this story because somehow i could always relate it to the conflicts in the middle east right now (israel and neighboring countries).