The Stolen Blessing
Open Your Bible
Genesis 27:1-46, Genesis 28:1-22, Psalm 121:5-8
This morning, I opened up Facebook to discover that a celebrity picked my friend’s book for her highly influential book club. Rather than experience a surge of excitement for my friend, I felt the sinking pull of sadness. I didn’t even pause for a moment to feel happy for my friend; instead, I rushed to despondency, dejection, defeat. One question screamed loudly, over and over again in my mind: Why not me?
People have plenty of conversations these days about the dangers of comparison, but I rarely hear the “j” word: jealousy. Jealousy is dirty. It’s dark and venomous and seeps into my consciousness like poison. In those moments, I’m not just wishing I had it better; I’m wishing that the other person had it worse. Yikes. I try to swallow the sadness—I leave a comment, I say congratulations—and I mean it… eventually. But my initial reaction isn’t charitable or kind.
My heart’s natural posture isn’t to hope for the blessing of others; it’s to hoard every good thing for myself. I have to keep that ugly truth in mind as I read today’s passage. I’m not all that different from Jacob. And if I had the chance to skew my future for the better, I might just put on some goatskins too.
The rivalry between these brothers, stoked by the favoritism in their parents, creates a toxic ripple effect that flows out for many generations. In yesterday’s reading, Jacob entrapped Esau, and Esau stupidly traded his birthright for a bowl of soup. In today’s passage, Jacob schemes with his mother Rebekah to steal even more from Esau: his father’s blessing. Words are powerful, but these aren’t just words. When Isaac speaks a blessing over Jacob, he’s passing along a divinely ordained covenant with Yahweh. He’s telling the family secret. He’s bringing Jacob into the Abrahamic covenant, and essentially saying, “Through your family, God will redeem the world.”
I have to wonder why Rebekah was so adamant that Jacob become the favored, blessed son. Maybe Esau was not that bright? We know he traded a huge inheritance for a bowl of soup. We’re told his wives were a thorn in Rebekah’s side. Maybe she saw that Esau’s poor choices could negatively impact the future. But no matter what her reason for favoring Jacob, her methods to secure his position were totally wrong. She offers no directness, no honesty. She initiates no difficult conversations. Her only tactics are manipulation and deceit.
The Bible is full of humans, not heroes. And yet, God still fulfills His promises to His people. Despite the fact that Jacob is a master manipulator, God continued to work out His plan through these sinful people, moving history ever closer toward a Savior who could save us from our jealousy, our deceptions, our fears.
Jesus lived a perfect life. He didn’t have to scheme to receive anything, because He created everything. And yet, for the joy set before Him—including an eternity spent with you and me—He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2; 1:3). And now, we have a brother in heaven. And He is the best brother, because He wants to share the gifts of His family with us (Romans 8:16–17). He hoards nothing.
Even when I am faithless, He is faithful. Even when I am jealous, He is there, ready to forgive and put salve on those self-inflicted wounds. Even when I scheme to build my own earthly kingdom, Jesus gently turns my eyes back to the city with eternal foundations—the one built by God, and shared with me (Revelation 21:7).