Day 19

The Stolen Blessing

from the Genesis reading plan


Genesis 27:1-46, Genesis 28:1-22, Psalm 121:5-8

BY Claire Gibson

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).

Post Comments (37)

37 thoughts on "The Stolen Blessing"

  1. 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..?

  2. 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….

  3. 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. ❤️

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. Kristen says:

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

  8. 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..❤

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