Day 18

The Birth of Jacob and Esau

from the Genesis reading plan


Genesis 25:19-34, Genesis 26:1-35, Hebrews 12:14-17, James 3:13-18


Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Okay, but what if both are your brother? At this point in Genesis, the story is hitting a rough patch. God has delivered on His promises for offspring to Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah. As we meet the third generation of the promise to Abraham, it’s like we are entering the third full-round of Jenga; things are getting a little wobbly.

As heirs to the promise and the twin boys in Rebekah’s womb, Jacob and Esau are already at odds with one another, and Rebekah can sense it. As a model of wisdom, she goes to God for help. “And the LORD said to her: Two nations are in your womb; two peoples will come from you and be separated. One people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger” (Genesis 25:23). God tells her something that is both heart-breaking and heart-fortifying. Her sons will be at odds with each other, but this will not stop God’s promises; God will establish His holy people and keep His word, even though it will take the older brother serving the younger.

If the story of Abraham were solely in the hands of his family, the Bible might not have been nearly as long—maybe only be about half of Genesis. But the story is in God’s hands. Our stories are in God’s hands, too, so we must resist the urge to settle for the quick fixes in our own stories, like Esau did; he wanted a quick bite more than he wanted his long-lasting birthright.

The writer of Hebrews warns us to pursue holiness and to not treat the promises and provisions of God as if they’re something cheap, common, and easily consumable—something the equivalent of powdered donuts. We should treasure the promises of God and delight in the ways He is working in our lives.

The crucified and risen Lord Jesus bought this life for us; our lives are no longer our own, and as Scripture tells us, it is no longer you who live but Christ who lives in you (Galatians 2:20). If it were not for Christ, we would all go the way of Esau, trading down our joys and God’s best for us. As C.S. Lewis said, “We are far too easily pleased” with the things of this world. So protect your joy. Evaluate your loves. Count your many blessings, and remember what Christ has done for you.

Written by J.A. Medders

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