Grace and peace to you, from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Last week, we heard the story of Abraham and Isaac. And this week, we hear the story of Isaac and his twin sons, Esau and Jacob. But some of the juicer parts are left out! Like when Rebekah convinces her son, Jacob, to steal the blessing meant for his brother. We also skip over the story of how Esau plans to kill his brother. Rebekah warns Jacob about his brother’s plans. So he runs away to live with his uncle as he travels. Jacob ends up in the wilderness.
Jacob and Esau were twins, but very different from each other. Esau was born first, but Jacob hung on to his brother’s foot and was born seconds after Esau. They were fighting even on the day they were born! And their parents didn’t help. Isaac loved Esau best, and Rebekah loved Jacob. Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field; while Jacob was a quiet man, living in tents. So, there was endless conflict between the two boys. “Dad loves me best!” “O yeah, well, Mom loves me best!”
When Jacob steals his brother’s blessing, the blessing that was to go to the older son, Esau vows to kill him! But why? The blessing Jacob stole was the blessing of the eldest son of the family. With that blessing came a larger inheritance and the responsibility and authority to lead the family when his father died. Jacob is looking for power over his brother! But because of Esau’s threats, Jacob has to flee to his mom’s family, far away from home. That’s when we pick up the story of Jacob in the wilderness.
Jacob stops in the middle of nowhere to rest. He uses a rock for a pillow. And lying there, Jacob has a dream. God speaks to Jacob, giving him the same promises God had given to Abraham. You will be the father of a great nation and all the families of the earth will be blessed because of you. Isn’t it interesting who God chooses to bless? Jacob was kind of a trickster, always trying to get something that is not his. But God blesses him. What does God see in Jacob that we can’t see?
And what does God see in us that we don’t see? In the beginning of Genesis, we hear that we are all created in the image of God and given responsibility to care for the earth and each other. God called Jacob to follow his grandfather, Abraham, creating the foundation of Israel. We are called to different roles. Some people are called to lead; other people are called to create; to care for children; or to care for the sick. But whatever we are called to do or be, God is with us, urging us to use whatever skills and talents we have to love one another every day.
So, what is God calling you to do or be in this world? Remember, perfection is not required. Look at Jacob. He certainly wasn’t perfect. He was sneaky and not always as honest as he should have been. And yet God made Jacob one of the fathers of the people of Israel and a blessing to all people. Just imagine what God will do with you. Amen.