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. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Melissa Graves says:

    Praise God, we are all His favorite!

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

  8. Churchmouse says:

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

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