The Battle Continues
In our last post, we explored the birth of Esau and Jacob and how dysfunctional the family was. Even during her pregnancy, we are told a battle waged within the womb of Rebekah. At birth, Jacob the second born reached out grabbing the heal of his older brother as if to pull him back into the womb.
Rebekah had prayed wanting to understand the reason this war seemed to be waging inside her. God heard her prayers explaining that the two, both brothers, would become fathers of different nations and that Esau the oldest would serve his younger brother Jacob.
Jacob being his mother’s favorite seems to have grown up with the idea that he, the younger brother, should receive the birthright and thus by way of inheritance become the stronger. Yet, according to the Patriarchal system the younger son or sons were to serve their older brother who would received the birthright from his father.
Jacob had no intention keeping Patriarchal tradition, he fully intended that at the proper time he would have his father instill the birthright upon him and not his brother Esau.
We get this idea from Genesis chapter 25 verses 29 – 34. This is the story of how Jacob tricked, perhaps a better term is to say he stole his brother’s birthright for a bowl of stew. Verse 30 states: “And Esau said to Jacob, ‘Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.’ Therefore his (Esau’s) name was called Edom.”
Jacob responds in verse 31 by saying: “Sell me your birthright as of this day.”
The spiritual and financial implications of what is being asked by Jacob of Esau are huge. The temptation of appetite, the desire of what was before him verses later reward took a back seat. Esau made perhaps the most critical decision he ever made had to make. He seemed not to care, trading the future for the present.
Don’t we sometimes throw away the promise of a good thing in the future for the pleasure that is before us today? Not sure about you, but I have certainly done this in the past. By God’s grace and love, hopefully neither you or I will give away the promise of future reward because of appetite for those things immediately before me.
Esau, thinking his hunger had brought him near the point of death and carelessly threw his birthright away swearing to his brother that he would forsake his birthright.
Verse 34 says: “And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he (Esau) ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.”
I can hear many of you saying: “What has this to do with the book of Obadiah?” It’s a fair question and one that deserves an answer. Obadiah answers the age-old question first asked by Cain of God. “Am I my brother’s keeper” (see Genesis 4:9)?
The story of Jacob and Esau in Genesis sets the stage for why this prophecy was given in Obadiah. What surprised me is the prophecy in Obadiah sets the stage for Christ’s telling of the true story of the Good Samarian found Luke chapter 10 verses 30-37.
In our next post, we will dig a little deeper into the family life of Jacob and Esau further setting the stage for events to come.