A Stolen Blessing
Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.
On first reading, it may be hard to understand why Rebekah and Jacob would go to all the trouble to trick Esau out of Isaac’s blessing. Why not just ask Isaac for a blessing? Why risk the wrath of Esau for a nice thought and a prayer?
However, the blessing was more than a thought and a prayer. God made a covenant with Abraham, which was handed on to Isaac, then to be passed on to Esau, the eldest son. As we learned last week, God’s blessing came with an enormous weight of responsibility. Abraham nearly killed his own son to earn God’s trust so that he might bear such a blessing. God’s covenant was not to be taken lightly. Esau, the eldest, was next in line to bear the blessing and the responsibility, and was likely to be groomed his entire life to carry it. Jacob, on the other hand, was not readied as such, but had perfected the craft of trickery. By tricking Isaac out of the blessing, Jacob became the bearer of the responsibility and the recipient of God’s promises. Indeed, we will learn later that Jacob was given the name Israel, “the one who prevails with God” – a name that remains to this day – and the line of descendants to inherit God’s promises. Jacob learned in a dream that he would be the one to carry the blessing. Later he would wrestle with an angel and become entangled in a relationship with God that would last generations.
God’s blessing has been given, not only to Jacob and his family, but to us as well. What might it look like if we took God’s blessing as seriously as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? How might we become entangled in a relationship with God? How might we honor the enormity of the blessing and pass it on to all people?
Narrative Lectionary Text: Genesis 27:1-4, 15-23; 28:10-17
When Isaac was old and his eyes were dim so that he could not see, he called his elder son Esau and said to him, “My son”; and he answered, “Here I am.” He said, “See, I am old; I do not know the day of my death.Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field, and hunt game for me. Then prepare for me savory food, such as I like, and bring it to me to eat, so that I may bless you before I die.” Then Rebekah took the best garments of her elder son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them on her younger son Jacob; and she put the skins of the kids on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck. Then she handed the savory food, and the bread that she had prepared, to her son Jacob.
So he went in to his father, and said, “My father”; and he said, “Here I am; who are you, my son?” Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me; now sit up and eat of my game, so that you may bless me.” But Isaac said to his son, “How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son?” He answered, “Because the Lord your God granted me success.” Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come near, that I may feel you, my son, to know whether you are really my son Esau or not.” So Jacob went up to his father Isaac, who felt him and said, “The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” He did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s hands; so he blessed him.
Jacob left Beer-sheba and went toward Haran. He came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And the Lord stood beside him and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring; and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it!” And he was afraid, and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”