Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.
Despite the fact that Jacob, later to become Israel, is clearly the hero of our Bible stories, this is still a heartbreaking story to behold! My heart aches as I listen to a son, whose birthright was to receive the blessing of his father, learn that he has been cheated once again by a trickster brother. There is no greater pain than that caused by family — by someone you love. The betrayal is deep, and the pain is deeper.
Maybe this hurt is so devastating precisely because it came from someone who’s supposed to have your back. When I was young, my sister and I spent weeks planning to watch the Friday night Benji special on TV. This was back before DVRs and VCRs. When a program aired, you either watched it, caught it on rerun, or missed it. The day before the special aired, my sister did something to make my dad angry, and he punished her by taking away TV privileges for the weekend. We were both devastated. We had been looking forward to this for such a long time! (Weeks are forever when you’re a kid.) I couldn’t stand it. So I approached my dad with a proposal. I explained how we had been looking forward to this for weeks, and how much I was looking forward to watching it with my sister. If he punished her, he would be punishing me, too, since I could not possibly enjoy watching it without her. I suggested he let her watch just that one hour, and then no TV the rest of the weekend. It worked! He understood, he appreciated the effort, and we got to watch 60 whole minutes of mutt fun!
The reason this event stands out in my mind is because it didn’t happen that often. My sister and I didn’t have a great relationship most of our growing up years, mostly because I was the big sister and was a kind of a bully to her. Back then, it was rare that we’d got each other’s backs. So it was that much sweeter when it happened.
We have a great relationship now. We now both appreciate the gift of siblings. We know how valuable family can be. And we nurture that relationship with a weekly Facetime conversation. (We live thousands of miles apart.) It’s important because she’s important to me. And we both believe we are both worth the effort.
Narrative Lectionary Text: Genesis 27:30-40
As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, when Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of his father Isaac, his brother Esau came in from his hunting. He also prepared savory food, and brought it to his father. And he said to his father, “Let my father sit up and eat of his son’s game, so that you may bless me.” His father Isaac said to him, “Who are you?” He answered, “I am your firstborn son, Esau.” Then Isaac trembled violently, and said, “Who was it then that hunted game and brought it to me, and I ate it all before you came, and I have blessed him? —yes, and blessed he shall be!” When Esau heard his father’s words, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, “Bless me, me also, father!” But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully, and he has taken away your blessing.” Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright; and look, now he has taken away my blessing.” Then he said, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?” Isaac answered Esau, “I have already made him your lord, and I have given him all his brothers as servants, and with grain and wine I have sustained him. What then can I do for you, my son?” Esau said to his father, “Have you only one blessing, father? Bless me, me also, father!” And Esau lifted up his voice and wept. Then his father Isaac answered him: “See, away from the fatness of the earth shall your home be, and away from the dew of heaven on high. By your sword you shall live, and you shall serve your brother; but when you break loose, you shall break his yoke from your neck.”