Day 10

Esau



Genesis 25:27-34, Genesis 26:34-35, Genesis 27:1-46, Genesis 28:1-5, Hebrews 12:14–17

BY Kaitlin Wernet

The early 2000s were a treasure trove of television game shows. If you don’t already know this by heart, let me explain. (And if you do, you are my kind of people and can pass “Go” to collect $200.)

While I’ve always had infinite admiration for Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune, and my brother claimed he bonded best with our father over Family Feud, it was a blonde British woman named Anne Robinson who really raised the bar for game shows. Host of The Weakest Link, (which came aired at 4 pm, just in time for my elementary-school self to hop off the school bus and grab a cheese stick), Anne was known for her no-nonsense TV personality, and I adored her for it.

On the show, a team of contestants would take turns answering trivia questions with the goal of getting the most correct answers within a specific amount of time. When time was up, the team voted on the weakest link (a.k.a., the worst player in the game). Then it was time for the most memorable part of the show, when Anne would announce the loser by addressing the individual by name and proclaiming, “You are the weakest link. Goodbye.”

It’s easy to treat the story of Jacob and Esau like another episode of The Weakest Link. Which brother is doing the right thing? Who deserves favoritism? Who does God love more?

First, we have Esau, who sells his birthright to Jacob for stew. Then, we have Jacob, who steals the blessing that was rightfully Esau’s. If I were the judge, I’d conclude that they were both at fault. They’re both weak links.

Esau’s story is much like ours; he gave in to his fleshly desires and lost the most valuable thing in his possession. But he was also hurt and wronged by his own flesh and blood, his brother Jacob. It’s the oldest and truest story we know: Our flesh chose sin, and our hearts chose betrayal. Pain is a constant in our stories. We are the weakest links. And yet, God didn’t say goodbye to us in our weakness—far from it, actually. He did the exact opposite: He sent His Son to reverse the curse by bearing the weight of our sin, a burden that had rightfully been placed on us.

These stories in Genesis, set just after creation story and the Fall, and long before the birth of our Savior, show us how deeply we need redemption. We cannot be trusted with things of value like birthrights, brothers, or blessings. An intervention is necessary, and thanks be to God, an intervention is coming. But first, we must take this opportunity to realize our humanity, grieve our sin, and repent. We cannot proclaim His strength without first admitting our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

“And make sure that there isn’t any immoral or irreverent person like Esau, who sold his birthright in exchange for a single meal. For you know that later, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, even though he sought it with tears, because he didn’t find any opportunity for repentance” (Hebrews 12:16–17).

Any average ruler (or game show, for that matter) would certainly have chosen for Esau, Jacob, you, and I to pack up our bags a very long time ago, at the onset of our failures. But because of Christ’s sacrifice, we are welcomed into eternity instead of turned away. What a prize indeed.

Post Comments (20)

20 thoughts on "Esau"

  1. Madison says:

    Thought I’d share some wisdom from a sermon that my pastor preached over this passage:
    We are all Rebekahs, assuming control of circumstances that are not ours to control.
    We are all Esaus, wondering what we’ve done wrong when the “not fair” moment comes our way.
    Praise the Lord we are all Jacobs, given the Father’s blessing when we’ve done nothing to deserve it.

  2. Kayla says:

    Hey Kaitlin! Thank you so much for your post! The only thing I wanna correct is that the host for “The Weakest Link” had red hair, which I thought was pretty ironic because Edom is Hebrew for “red”. Haha! Thank you again for this sweet devotional.

  3. Denise Barnes Woodward says:

    I equally love your wisdom. I am curious if you or anyone else knows why only one blessing could be given? Or why Jacobs deceitfulness didn’t negate his Blessing? Obviously, there is a bigger picture here of God’s plan and foretelling of his redemption…but was just curious from a historical/cultural perspective on the blessing.

    1. Allison Grayson says:

      I had the same question especially when Esau was pleading for another blessing. Would love to get some insight!

  4. Ashley Thomas says:

    It’s so easy to play the judge and jury while reading about Esau, Jacob, Rebekah and Isaac. It’s easy for us to see all the wrongdoing, the deceitfulness, the blatant hurt… Yet I am well aware God sees this same picture while looking at my life. We don’t often realize the error of our ways until that time has passed, and it’s too late. Thank goodness for Jesus! He paid the price for all my mistakes- past, present and future. God has given me mercy no matter how much I don’t deserve it.

  5. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I love that even though Jacob sinned, God still gave Jacob the promise he had given to his ancestor Abraham.

  6. Afua Tobigah says:

    The grace of God is so abundant. The trend in noticing is that humans are sinful including me, the heroes of the Bible and the people criticize in my heart. Our God is good and he would use us in spite of. I would keep praying to God so the Holy Spirit helps me along the journey. And I have to offer the same grace to people. There is none perfect. Jesus love is perfect

  7. Karen Lockwood says:

    People have responded to Tina, but I can’t see her comments. I’m not sure why I can’t see them, but I really enjoy everyone’s comments.

  8. Mari V says:

    Beautiful the mess we are, the honest cries of breaking hearts, Are better than a hallelujah sometimes – Amy Grant

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