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

BY Claire Gibson

When I was seven years old, my family went to Disney World. At the time, we lived in Virginia, which meant that in order to get to Space Mountain, we had to drive from the D.C. area all the way to Orlando. To survive an eleven-hour drive with three daughters under the age of fourteen, my parents came up with a plan. They told us that when we got to Disney World, we would all get $50 as spending money, but that any misbehavior during the drive would lead to a deduction from that amount. And so the drive began.

A few hours later, their plan had backfired. Rather than sitting quietly, trying to maintain our $50 allowances, my sisters and I had devised a game of our own, in which we attempted to provoke one another into losing more and more of their allowance. Anytime one of us misbehaved, my mother would take out her notepad where she was keeping track of deductions. While one sister sulked, the other two would pull down an imaginary lotto-lever and shout “cha-ching!”

We weren’t all that nice to one another. But our misbehavior pales in comparison to the sibling rivalry recounted in the story of Jacob and Esau, twin brothers who came out of the womb as enemies. And their parents were no help. From the beginning, Isaac and Rebekah chose favorites, and that favoritism only stoked the enmity between these brothers.

At stake in this passage is Esau’s birthright, the inheritance he stood to receive as the firstborn of his family. Knowing the value of that inheritance, Jacob plotted against his older brother, as if land and money were a finite resource. Meanwhile, Esau didn’t place adequate value on his birthright. He was “immoral and irreverent,” selling “his birthright in exchange for one meal” (Hebrews 12:16). Know this: favoritism and strife is not God’s plan. In fact, the Mosaic Law will later forbid a father from favoring a younger son merely because he comes from a preferred wife (Deuteronomy 21:15–17). But for now, we see that Jacob uses the means at his disposal to manipulate his way into wealth.

God is not interested in breaking up families over dollars and cents. Perhaps the greatest problem with Jacob and Esau’s behavior is that they both forgot God’s character. They forgot that the same God who blessed Isaac also blessed Ishmael. God never runs out of goodness. He does not “dock” us for misbehavior, nor will He look favorably upon those who provoke others into deceit. God’s goodness exists equally for His dearly loved children. We know this, because Jesus calls us His friends (John 15:!5).

Jesus, the most favored Son of all, gave us the right to become His brothers and sisters, His co-heirs to the kingdom (Romans 8:17). He is willing to share the blessing. He knows there is more than enough blessing to go around.

Post Comments (28)

28 thoughts on "The Birth of Jacob and Esau"

  1. Makenzie Ploetz says:

    “God never runs out of Goodness.” Be still my heart. This is so true, and so often we don’t realize it. My Grandpa passed away a week ago, and while my heart hurts that he is no longer here with me, I know that he is cancer free, healed and standing next to Jesus because “God never runs out of Goodness.”

    1. Erin Kennedy says:

      Yes! Even as we mourn, God is good.

  2. Allison Sherwood says:

    This is why parents should never have favorites! Haha

  3. Mari V says:

    God never runs out of goodness! I love this! Just as I said (I think yesterday or the day before). God is good all the time. And all the time God is good. Even though sometimes we might not see it at that very moment when facing the unknown.
    I know that I know that my Jesus loves me and He’s with me.

  4. Maura says:

    So thankful we are all God’s favorites. That His love is for all of us. Choosing worship with you Angie. So amazing the joy that is our strength. Lean in sisters to the Love that never fails. Our Lord’s arms are wide open.

  5. Jessica Nicolas says:

    This is beautiful, thank you!

  6. Churchmouse says:

    Dysfunctional families are nothing new. Sibling rivalry – also nothing new. The fact that God puts up with all the bad decisions is what’s truly remarkable. He simply refuses to give up on family, His family. And He refuses to have favorites. Each one of us is His favorite. Each one worth dying for.

    1. Nancy Singleton says:

      Well said! Where our love may be limited by pride & prejudice, God continues to show us His perfect, unconditional love!

    2. Diana Rigdon says:


  7. Angie says:

    I teach my students that every time they learn something new, their brain gets a new wrinkle. I tell them I want them to be the wrinkliest brained people in the school. One year a boy had a light bulb moment and said, “Oh, now I get it, you got so many wrinkles on your brain that they started overflowing to your face!” He meant it as a compliment and with a smile, I took it as such.
    I also tell them that every time they make a mistake, it takes 3 times of doing the same thing correctly to erase the memory of the mistake. It is like our brain draws a line when something is done or happens. That line can be deepened or darkened depending on the emotions that are tied to it in our minds. It doesn’t matter if the mark is good or bad, the attitude we chose will either intensify or erase it. (There are medical terms to explain it, it is real.)
    Isaac, Rebekah, Esau, and Jacob were drawing deep/dark lines all over in the journey called life. They spent a lot of time trying to get what they wanted, instead of simply holding out open arms to each other.
    Right now, on my journey, I am deciding to take words said as a compliment.
    Right now, on my journey, I am holding my arms open, ready to embrace the slightest movement towards restoration.
    Right now, on this journey I want to erase the dark painful lines I have sometimes chosen to rehearse, and replace them with the colors, contours, and curves of the Father.
    May all my new wrinkles pour out, for all to see, and the respond be worship to the only One deserving.
    I chose worship.

    1. Lindsey Bailey says:

      This is a beautiful picture you have painted. I will definitely remember it. You must be a wonderful teacher. Thank you for sharing!

      1. Nancy Singleton says:

        I totally agree!!

    2. Allison Gehman says:

      Thanks for sharing! I’m going to borrow that to go with my growth mindset lessons! ❤️

  8. Tina says:

    I have 4 grandchildren at the 18 year old, a 12 year old, an 11 year ol and a 16 month old little person!

    They are all my favourites..!

    The 18 year old because he was the first and the eye opener to the wonders of granny-dom! My 12 year old because he is that laid back, you’d have trouble finding him in a sardine tin!! My 11 year old granddaughter, oh my goodness, she is my favourite sassy, unique, awesome being I know! The baby, the baby is my favourite, because she is the baby right now, but the unconditional love, and trusting, with arms up on sight may have something to do with it!

    Each of them precious in their own right…❤

    I am sorry that Esau and Jacob had to go through that.. fighting from within the womb and beyond because of what one would or one would not inherit. I guess value was put more on the inheritance, than a relationship or a bond that twins might have!
    Thankfully, my grandchildren, I hope, have non of that, to fight over, I mean our relationship is so so absolutely based on love.. as Peter and John said to the man at the Beautiful gate, “I have no money, but I give you what I have, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth..” my heart is full to overflowing with love, (the love I receive from the Lord, the love that encompasses forgiveness, mercy, grace, love that has me believing that God sees me from the inside out and still gives) enough for each of them, and those to come!

    Jesus, the most favored Son of all, gave us the right to become His brothers and sisters, His co-heirs to the kingdom (Romans 8:17). He is willing to share the blessing. He knows there is more than enough blessing to go around…. If I have ALL that, and I know that I do, deep deep in my soul, why wouldn’t I want to share, afterall, there is an eternity full, waiting…


    Happy Thursday folks.. with love and hope-filled, for a God blessed day for each of you lovelies! ❤

    1. Diana Rigdon says:


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