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).

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37 thoughts on "The Stolen Blessing"

  1. Casey Evans says:

    Well written Claire, so true. I find it hard to understand why the blessing gets to go through to people who used trickery etc – but I guess it’s based on what God had said to Rebekah originally.

  2. Hannah Messerly says:

    Jesus hoards nothing.

    I’ll be praying over and chewing on that phrase for awhile. Thank you for such good thoughts, and for sharing them with us!

  3. Jacquelynn Rose says:

    In Genesis 25:23 (I think that’s the scripture) The Lord tells Rebekah that the older will serve the younger. I think that’s why she took matters into her own hands by trying to make sure Jacob got the blessing. She should have (we should as well) trust in God to do what he said he will do and not try to force his hand. Sarah did the same thing when she offered Hagar to Abraham. I think it’s another example of “not by might or strength but by the spirit of the Lord.”

  4. Melissa Mcronney says:

    Amen…powerful

  5. Teresa says:

    Claire, your honesty reflects the truth for all of us. I applaud your boldness! The admission made me giggle, eh nervously, because of how easy and smooth is it to classify what we really think as “comparison” when the cold hard true word is jealously, not so easy and not so smooth. Thank you. I thoroughly enjoy your reflections because you dig down to find genuine, then you serve it.

  6. PW says:

    I enjoy these devotionals and the comments, but this is my first time to join in. I think we need to remember what God told Rebekah in chapter 25: “And the Lord said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.””
    ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭25:23‬ ‭ESV‬‬
    Rebekah knew that God had chosen Jacob, but Isaac seems to have been too stubborn to accept it.

  7. Anastasia says:

    Very interesting perspective by Julie Huffman! I often wondered why God didn’t reprimand Rebekah or Jacob for their actions. Thanks for sharing!

  8. ADB says:

    Good morning Nanak! I’m reading this a day late. I hope you have a wonderful birthday and feel your Heavenly Father’s deep love for you!

  9. Jessica Nicolas says:

    I’m so glad Gid continues to work with us even as sinful humans. His love is faithful and neverending. Hallelujah!

  10. Angi Morrison says:

    I am definitely trying to be better about celebrating others’ successes and not being jealous and wish these things for myself. Definitely stepped on my toes!

  11. Ashley Thomas says:

    I grew up very poor, and jealousy ruled my early life. It was nearly all I felt, even towards family, like my cousins. All I could see was what I did not have. Now that I’m in my late 30s, I see how blessed I am. I thank God daily for the life that I have, even though it isn’t picture perfect. Certainly, I do occasionally get jealous or envious still, but it doesn’t rule my thoughts.

  12. Traci Gendron says:

    I have had this on my wall for years. “When we face struggles, we often wonder, Why? Years from now, though we may realize that it was those struggles that taught us something we could not have otherwise learned—that there was a purpose in our pain.” 2corinthians 1:5 We share in the many sufferings of Christ. In the same way, much comfort comes to us through Christ.

    Today’s reading you realize to trust God & not scheme or force things.

  13. Jennifer Anapol says:

    This devotional reminds me today that God is in control. We don’t need to scheme and manipulate our situations to make a certain outcome happen. There have been so many times in my life when I have just left things alone and God has worked it out naturally in his own timing. May we be patient to listen and be aware of God’s perfect timing.

  14. Anja Etwal-Nielsen says:

    Thank you, Claire for you commentary. I love them all, but this one indeed I need today. It will really help me move forward in some difficult areas in my life at the moment.

  15. Erika Estrada says:

    Hey ladies, I am still trying to figure all this out. I have been in Christ now for almost 10 years. And I am just getting started. Sometimes I feel like I am understanding the Word wrong but than I get on here and bam! It was exactly as how my heart ❤️ interpreted. Thank you ladies!!

  16. Julie Huffman says:

    I look at this as Rebekkah, right or wrong, was making sure that God’s will was being followed. Her husband was literally and figuratively too blind to see Esau for what he really was.

    Jacob, didn’t immediately join Rebekkah in her plan of deception. He even questioned her about the plan working, and had to be told twice to follow her commands.

    Let’s look at Esau and Jacob:

    Esau was a hunter. Jacob was a tent dweller. He is described as being quiet or plain. However, if you do a bit of research the word “quiet” is used elsewhere to mean blameless, undefiled. It is the same word to describe Job as being blameless, as is Noah.

    Esau cared very little for his heritage. He wanted instant gratification. He could have easily prepared something for himself. I seriously doubt he was so exhausted that he couldn’t get up and get himself a bowl of food–or that he was even “starving” (how many times do we say those very words we we have missed only one meal? Jacob did not coerce him. He did not manhandle him. He saw an opportunity and took it. It was Esau’s fault for not having a bit of self-control.

    (The Bible does not condemn or say anything negative about Jacob gaining Esau’s birthright. In fact, it says that “Esau despised his birthright.”

    When Esau was forty years old, he took two Hittites to be his wives, and “they made life bitter for Isaac and Rebekah.” Then he later married a daughter of Ishmael, knowing how it went against Isaac.

    (Jacob on the other hand obeyed Isaac’s command to marry within the family.)

    Esau plays the victim card when he claimed that Jacob had cheated him out of his birthright. Jacob didn’t cheat him at all! Esau very willingly gave up his birthright because again, “he despised it.”

    God does not condemn Jacob, nor does he give consequences to Rebekkah, as he did Sarah when she took matters into her own hands.

    The Jewish people regarded Esau as being godless (Hebrews 12:16)

    What about Jacob’s name? It has been said that it means deceiver or cheat. When Esau came out of the womb what was distinguishing about him? He was hairy! And so he was named Hairy! What about Jacob? He was hanging on to his brother’s heel. So he was named heel grabber! It was Esau who turned heel grabber into the name “cheater.” Jacob had not been referred to being a cheater until then. It’s like Esau throwing his temper saying, “You’ve always been after me, Jacob, ever since you grabbed my heal at birth.”

    Esau wasn’t even upset that he gave up his birthright, presumably because he always thought he’d get the inheritance. It wasn’t until he lost his inheritance that Esau all of a sudden declared that he had been swindled.

    Because of Esau and his declaration that his brother is a cheater Jacob’s name has been tarnished for years and years. No doubt this would please Esau greatly.

  17. Nancy Singleton says:

    I had the bittersweet joy of spending each of my parents last moments on this earth with them: singing hymns, speaking words of love & scripture, of our shared faith in the Lord & our eternal security. Though they each expressed regrets for shortcomings, it became a time of shared forgiveness, as I also confessed my own shortcomings, & yet praise for the time we’d had to make amends & share our faith walks. It was truly a time of blessing, for which I remain grateful. Thank you Lord!

  18. Mari V says:

    ❤️

  19. Gina says:

    Thanks for writing this Claire. I always wondered why my initial reaction it’s not the one that I want others to see. The good one always comes a few minutes after.

    It doesn’t take long, but there’s most always a few minutes of Darkness first. It is that deep secret part of me that I don’t want anyone else to see. And as much as I’m trying to be a better person all the time, that does not take away that initial action. It just usually means I can overcome it a little quicker if I work on it.

    I like reading this because I can definitely see is not just me. There’s nothing wrong with me, other than the fact that I’m a fallen human being needing God’s grace and mercy. So thank you for being so honest!

  20. Allison Sherwood says:

    I know that – despite my best efforts – I fall short from being the “better person” or the “more mature” person in situations. I love how the devotional ended; it reminded me that every mistake I make, intentionally or not, I have a friend who is there to encourage and help me! Amen!

  21. Sharon, Jersey Girl says:

    Claire, thank you for opening your heart and being so absolutely honest! I often think that I am the only one who thinks such jealous, comparison thoughts. I hate that they come, but the truth is – they do, more often than I’d like. I immediately confess them to my Heavenly Father but still feel so bad and guilty that I thought them to begin with. I must remind myself that God is still and always will, be working in me to make me the person He wants me to be. It comes with much remolding and reshaping on the Potter’s wheel. Almost daily I pray these two verses: Psalm 19:14 – “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and Redeemer.” and Proverbs 4:23 – “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Praying that today I will be reminded of this devotional, and that my words, my thinking, and my heart will be pleasing to Him.

  22. NanaK says:

    As I read our verses and devotion this morning, along with all of the heart-felt responses from all of you–my dear SRT Sisters, I realize that I am still holding on to the many hurts from preferential treatment to my three older siblings throughout my life. I managed to carry those insecurities with me and they have been evident in so many ways. My birthday is tomorrow and I will be 59 (YIKES!), and my prayer is that I will truly be able to release the past and fully accept that no matter what–I AM A BELOVED CHILD OF GOD, and ultimately that is all that really matters! I pray that I will fully open my heart to receive the UNCONDITIONAL love that my Heavenly Father, Abba, always has for me.

  23. Melissa Graves says:

    Praise God, we are all His favorite!

  24. Nadine Hall says:

    Rachel did have a reason for preferring Jacob. When she inquired about her hard pregnancy, God told her “two nations are in your womb…and the older WILL SERVE the younger.” It was definitely wrong to deceive; I don’t know why she didn’t tell Isaac what God had said. Maybe she had, but Isaac so preferred Esau that he wouldn’t listen. Whatever the situation was like, we can see that what God has promised is always accomplished, and he often uses sinful human people and their sinful behavior to bring about His divine will and way.

    1. Nancy Singleton says:

      Yes! I had the same thought!

  25. Mikki says:

    God bless you Tina! You brought tears to my eyes with your beautiful story!

    Lord, I have had too many moments of jealousy and comparison as Claire describes above. Help me replace those emotions with love and selflessness.

    Happy Friday ladies! God Bless!

  26. Churchmouse says:

    Psalm 139:1-6. Praying we all feel His hand of blessing each and every day. Rejoicing in these verses, this Truth.

  27. Tina says:

    Churchmouse, your words in response, so so true.. whatever monetary blessing or legacy, ie buildings, cars, material stuff.. for a while they may fill a whole or gap.. but the truth is, we do not take these things with us when the time comes, but what we leave behind, from the heart.. lives on beyond the receiver, in their memories and to the next..a heart led legacy has more of an impact that any material legacy could..

    So indeed, what kind of legacy am I leaving my family? What kind of heart felt and heart borne legacydo I entrust my people with each day..?

  28. Robin says:

    Claire, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your honesty! I woke this morning to discouragement of my self-centered Kingdom, but as I was reading this devotion the Holy Spirit made the words jump off the page right into my heart! It was life changing, because God heard my prayer before my feet hit the ground this morning and he used your honesty to speak to my own wounded heart! Jealousy also started in my heart as a young girl when my brother was the favored one, and this morning again through your devotion He revealed why. Thank you so much for being brave and allowing our Lord to use your honesty to comfort another, I will never be the same again….

  29. Churchmouse says:

    Ahh Tina, the image of you all gathered around your Mum, loving her (and her, you) til her last earthly breath is a beautiful one. Mine is not the same. I was not present at the passing of either of my parents. My mother died suddenly so I was not there. Not was I at the pressing of my dad – I honored his request not to sit at his bedside and watch him die. I don’t visit their grave site very often. I prefer to go by places they frequented for those locations are where memories of them remain most vivid. My parents raised five sons and three daughters and yes, there was favoritism and that contributed to disunity amongst the eight of us. My parents did the best they could but there’s a lingering disconnect between some of the siblings. Understanding my parents’ backgrounds provided insight. I share all of this to say that it has made me think often of the gift of legacy. We will all leave something behind. There may be tangible things listed in a will but there will be intangible things as well. Those are the things I’m more concerned about. Am I leaving a legacy of faith first and foremost? Am I leaving a legacy of love and kindness? Am I leaving a legacy of loving the Word of God and living it out? I do not know how or when I will leave this earth but I pray what I leave behind reaches far beyond my bedside. Just as your mum, Tina, left a legacy of love that extends through you all the way across the ocean to here. Blessing flowing forth far beyond immediate family to people in places we could not imagine. Streams of living water. May we each commit to starting the ripple effect right where we are today.

    1. Nancy Singleton says:

      Amen!

    2. Natalia Wiginton says:

      That’s powerful Churchmouse! Thanks for sharing these words. ❤️

  30. Angie says:

    We are all so different. Esau was a hunter-gatherer, Jacob a more genteel-around the house/office sort of guy.
    I have 2 wonderful, very different sisters. As we have become older adults we have talked about memories, amazed that the exact same experience, is viewed so differently by each of us.
    I read the account of Jacob, Esau, birthrights and blessings, and I rest in the truth that God is in control, He has a plan. Nothing can happen without His allowing it.
    I look back at my growing up years and acknowledge we had times of jealousy over blessings my parents gave one sister or the other. But God, has works them out for our good, as we trust Him. As we lean into Him. As we draw nearer. There were times I wanted an easier route growing up. Today, in humble praise I dwell thankfully in the Shelter of the Almighty and thank Him that His Shadow has covered me. I thank Him for his hand in my life and pray that moments will not be wasted in comparing His blessings towards me or others, but that instead I will rest in His perfect Love. I am so very blessed to be His.

  31. Brenda DiCicco says:

    I very much needed to hear this today. I needed to hear that God is in control and will take care of me and will forgive me for the times I try to be the master of my own destiny. Thank you claire.

  32. Blessed Beth says:

    OH Tina we all needed to hear your words as we have all had those feelings. Yes we are so blessed to be unconditionally and equally loved by our Lord and Savior. What an amazing truth to take with us this day!

  33. Kristen says:

    Wow! Thanks for sharing, Tina. In God, we are children of the King!

  34. Tina says:

    I am the eldest of 7 children.
    Having been (without foundation I might add) secretly in conflict with my sisters about favouritism best part of my life, When the call came that we were losing mum, she’d had a heart attack, and was in a coma, I travelled for 4 hours to get to be with her in her last moments, to be able to say goodbye.
    That has to be the longest 4 hours of my life..!
    I couldn’t concentrate, I kept thinking that my siblings that lived closer would get to say goodbye and I wouldn’t. ( jealousy, and it hadn’t even happened yet!!!)

    I got to the hospital to find 5 of my siblings in mums cubicle with their children and dad.. I offered to pray, to which they all said yes..I pray for the remaining sister, travelling from Italy to get there in time, I prayed for peace of heart for us all as we witnessed our mother/grandmother transition from earth to eternity..
    My sister arrived in time to spend a couple of hours before mums last breathe..
    I tell you this why…?

    We numbered 28 around mums bed, the nurse had told us that the hearing was the last to go, so all wanting to say thank you for her input, her love, her presence in our lives.. all hugging, all touching some part of her..
    Then came the blessing..

    MUM HAD TEARS ROLLING DOWN HER FACE..

    For each of us, that she was leaving, she cried, she cried not because she was leaving the ones that I believed were her favourites, she cried for all of us those there and those that couldn’t make it..she was loving us one last time, a mothers/grandmothers love!

    An absolute blessing, not just for one but for all!

    So very thankful for that blessing, given by God to put to rest those thoughts of not being in favour..

    Thank you lord God, that you have no favourites, that we each mean the same to you.. BELOVED CHILD OF GOD.. no matter who, what or where we been..your unconditional love means just that…UNCONDITIONAL.
    Thank you God.. with a heart filled with joy, I say thank you. Thank you in Jesus’s name.. Amen..

    Happy Friday oh BLESSED child of God.. sending love across the pond..❤