My name is Jacob. I have a twin brother, Esau, who is a few minutes older. Before we were born, God told our mother Rebekah that the older would serve the younger. This means that the younger son, I, Jacob, would some day be the boss over the older son, Esau. I always remember this, even though I think my father has forgotten it. My father only wants to spend time with Esau, not me. He likes it that Esau is a hunter.
It wasn’t too long ago that I got Esau to sell me his birthright for a bowl of lentil stew. That’s right, he was so hungry that he traded me the right to become the leader of the family instead of him, one day. In exchange, he got lentil stew. But he was so hungry that it looked like a good deal to him at the time.
My father continues to want to spend time with Esau, not me. Today Mother comes to me and says she overhead Father talking to Esau. She says Father is planning to give Esau the oldest son’s blessing secretly later on today, just as soon as Esau goes hunting, kills a deer, and makes his favorite deer stew for him. This makes me sad.
It also upsets my mother. The Lord had told her the older son would serve the younger. That means the Lord’s plan for my life is that I will get the blessing, not Esau. And why is Father planning to do the blessing secretly? It should be done in front of everyone. It should be done according to what God said. Mother doesn’t know what to do.
She decides we have to do something. We can’t let Esau get the blessing of the oldest son, when God said it would go to me. She tells me to go out to the flock, choose two goats, and she will make some delicious goat stew. She wants me to pretend to be Esau in order to get the blessing. This makes me very nervous, the idea of lying to my father. But I decide to do it because of the prophecy. God said I would lead the family, right? So this must be the right choice.
“Mother, “ I say, “what if Father touches me? I don’t feel like Esau, or sound like Esau, or smell like Esau.” I don’t look like him either, but that won’t matter now because, you see, Father is blind from old age.
“You can wear Esau’s clothes, “ she says, “so you will smell like Esau. And take these animal skins to put on your arms. Then you will feel hairy like Esau.”
So she makes the stew, and I bring it to my father. He eats it and likes it. I tell him I am Esau. He doesn’t believe that at first, but he sniffs the air. Apparently the clothes I am wearing of Esau’s smell enough like Esau. And he touches my arm. Apparently the skins I am wearing feel enough like Esau. And so he blesses me with words of power. He says that I will lead the family in the future. And I leave.
Soon I hear Esau come back with his deer stew. I hear Esau talking loudly, and then weeping loudly. Father knows now that it wasn’t Esau that he blessed. Father knows that I took the blessing by lying about who I was. And Esau knows too. Esau says he wants to kill me someday.
I am hiding in my mother’s tent and feeling very, very bad about this whole thing. I should have trusted God to take care of the problem. He’s big. He can do anything. He doesn’t need help from me. I didn’t need to lie.
Since I did lie, it’s going to be tough for me. There is always trouble and sadness when we sin. I should have known better. I have to leave my home, maybe for a long time. Mother feels very bad too. She is sending me to stay with her brother who lives in a faraway place. I will have to walk there all alone, through the desert many weeks where there may be robbers.
I am walking and walking, and finally I am lying down to rest, all alone under the stars, my head pillowed on a rock. I am sad and lonely.
I have a dream. A ladder reaches from where I am all the way up to heaven. I see angels going up and down on the ladder, and I see the Lord at the top of it. I am trembling because I am afraid. The Lord, the Holy One of Israel, is looking right at me, a sinner.
He says, “Do not be afraid. I am with you. I am your friend, and I will keep you safe wherever you go.”
He fills me with his peace. I know now that I can walk through the desert in safety because I rest in the palm of God’s hand.
(photo credit: http://alsaigh.deviantart.com/art/Sad-Man-85906408)