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Genesis 25:19-28, The Birth of Esau and Jacob

Rivalries

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.

Rebekah and Isaac were married a long time before Rebekah conceived a child. Isaac had prayed for a child, and finally, after twenty years of marriage, Rebekah conceived twins. The two fought within her from conception, and never stopped fighting. Rebekah and Isaac had wanted babies, and now that they were here, it seemed they were destined to bring pain, not only to Rebekah and Isaac, but as warring nations competing against each other.

As a parent, I cannot imagine the pain of raising kids that can't stand each other. My own kids are 21, 18, and 13, and they love each other very much. Yes, it's weird. But they do. They look out for each other, spend time together, and miss each other when they are not together. It's one of my greatest joys watching my kids interact with compassion, kindness, and love.

Esau and Jacob's rivalry drove a wedge not only between them, but also between Isaac and Rebekah. Isaac love the one who hunted game. Rebekah loved the one that was thoughtful. How can any family survive when any member takes sides against another? Healthy families celebrate their differences rather than use those differences as fuel for the fight. Healthy families disagree on topics, but agree on how to behave toward each other (with respect). Healthy families have a balance of togetherness and separateness. Healthy families are autonomous and interdependent. What kind of family do you have? What could you do to move even more toward relational health in your family?

Narrative Lectionary Text: Genesis 25:19-28

These are the descendants of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah, daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, sister of Laban the Aramean. Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord granted his prayer, and his wife Rebekah conceived. The children struggled together within her; and she said, “If it is to be this way, why do I live?” So she went to inquire of the Lord. And the Lord said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples born of you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the elder shall serve the younger.” When her time to give birth was at hand, there were twins in her womb. The first came out red, all his body like a hairy mantle; so they named him Esau. Afterward his brother came out, with his hand gripping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them. When the boys grew up, Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, living in tents. Isaac loved Esau, because he was fond of game; but Rebekah loved Jacob.