February 07, 2011


Genesis 25:27-34

He said … “Quick, let me have some of that red stew!” … Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.”
Gen. 25:30-31


The tension between Jacob and Esau grew that eerie day when Jacob somehow talked his brother out of his favored position in the family inheritance. Everyone knew that the older brother received the largest share of the father’s wealth. But that didn’t slow Jacob.

It was a long shot, but Jacob had nothing to lose by offering his deal.

“What are you cooking?” Esau asked as he stumbled in, famished from a long day of hunting. “That smells great—I need some now!”

“Sure, I’ll give you some—in trade,” Jacob replied. Then he made his proposal.

Esau apparently figured, “Well, what good is an inheritance when you’re about to die of hunger?”

So he agreed to the foolish trade and wolfed down his stew. Then Esau got up and left. And in this way he “despised his birthright.”

So it was that Jacob set the stage for a lifetime of manipulating and deceiving others. He often used his wits to try to make things go his way.

Jacob wasn’t the only one who had to stay a step or two ahead of the people in his life. Some of us have been racing that way for years. But God’s grace can get us off the treadmill.

God, sometimes we seem to make progress, only to discover later that we have made problems for ourselves. Help us to follow your way, not ours. Amen.

About the author — Ron Vanderwell

Ron Vanderwell recently became the senior pastor of New Life Church in New Lenox, Illinois. He has been a pastor for 22 years, serving as a church planter for the previous 12 years at The Gathering in Sacramento, California, and before that as a pastor in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ron and his wife, Deb, have three sons: John, Adam, and Jake. Ron shares more of his reflections on “squinting” for God in his blog at www.squintforgod.com.

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