Jacob and Esau had the same father, Isaac, and they both heard a word that was frequently used in the family dialogue. That word was “bless.” When God sums up the life of Abraham in Genesis 24:1, He says, “ …the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things.” Like their grandfather, their father, Isaac is spoken of as a man blessed by God, Genesis 25:11. Jacob and Esau grew up in a home where the blessing of God brought fruitfulness in their physical labours, Genesis 26:3,12,24. It also brought peace to Isaac’s relationship with a pagan prince, whose subjects recognized that Isaac was blessed of God, Genesis 26:28-29.
What Abraham and Isaac, by faith, claimed and lived, the grandsons, Jacob and Esau, fought over. With arrogance and pride Esau desired to be blessed, Genesis 27:30-41, but hated Jacob because he received Isaac’s blessing, Genesis 27:40. Jacob, on the other hand, passionately desired a relationship with the God who blesses. “And he said I will not let thee go except thou bless me.” Genesis 28:26
Our Christian world consists of many who want God to bless our effort, vocations, church fellowships, dreams for life and service for God. Too often we are like Esau and want the blessing on our own terms, in our own time and really care nothing for a relationship with God that brings submission to His Word. Ravi Zacharias quotes C. S. Lewis who, speaking of his own conversion, said, “I thought I had come to a place, I found out I had come to a Person.” The apostle Paul writes, “Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus”.
May we, like Jacob, believe the promises of God and practise the presence of God in our lives. This is the only way to live our lives and finally face death. Experiencing a failing body, Jacob is seen at death leaning on his staff, leaving a blessing for his grandchildren and worshipping his God who had blessed his life, Hebrews 11:21.
“Contentment is not determined by what a person has but by what his or her relationship is to Jesus Christ.” Harold J. Berry
Post by: John Hoag, NBBI Chancellor
This article appears in the October 2012 Open Bible Bulletin.