This Bible story is one of the classics, and I am happy to revisit it because when I was younger, I had no clue what the moral of the story could be. Genesis 27 features Isaac, now old and blind, his wife Rebekah, and his two sons Esau and Jacob. In his old age, Isaac realizes that his death is drawing nearer every passing day, so he instructs his eldest son Esau to go out and hunt some wild game to prepare for him in exchange for his blessing. As Esau goes out to hunt, Rebekah, having heard all this, instructs Jacob to fetch two young goats to make just the way his father likes it. She then proceeds to dress Jacob in Esau’s clothing and adorned the open parts of his skin with goatskins so that he can receive Esau’s blessing from Isaac.
Their plan ends up working as Jacob receives Esau’s blessing, and I remember thinking as a kid, “Well, that just doesn’t seem fair.” I had all sorts of questions fill my mind, and I was so distracted by this that I neglected the second part of the story as a kid. When Esau returns and learns that his blessing has been stolen, he does not respond in a very loving manner. He makes plans to kill Jacob! Rebekah learns of this and warns Jacob, telling him that he must flee until Esau’s anger subsides and he forgets what happened in the first place. The chapter comes to an end with Rebekah setting Jacob’s escape plan in action.
After some reflection, it’s no wonder I didn’t understand the moral of the chapter as a kid because it’s something we’re told all the time but doesn’t really click until you’re older and more experienced. This part of the Esau and Jacob story teaches us that our actions have consequences. Here, Jacob receives all the blessings from his father and is set up to live a successful life, but once his brother found out what he did, Jacob had to leave behind everyone he loved and all he owned to go somewhere unfamiliar to save his life. All the deception was for naught as Jacob had to give up his peaceful life at home to live in strange new lands with only the clothes on his back and supplies to get there. As we go throughout life, it is easy to forget that every little thing we do has consequences. They may be seen immediately afterward or they may even show up way down the line, but as a family of believers, we must hold one another accountable to ensure that our actions produce consequences that are pleasing to God and the life that he wants us to live.
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- Why do you think Rebekah wanted Jacob to receive Isaac’s blessing instead of Esau? What would you have done in Jacob’s position if Rebekah proposed this idea to you?
- Was Esau’s reaction justified or overboard? How do you think this reaction will impact Jacob and Esau’s relationship moving forward?
- Was there ever a time when you recognized the consequences of your actions? What did you learn from this experience? How did it impact similar situations later on?
Tomorrow we will be reading Genesis 37