Jacob and Esau

Read the story in Genesis 25: 29-34, continued in Genesis 27: 1-46

What Does It Mean in My Life?

Esau Gives Up His Birthright to Jacob

Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and he was weary. And Esau said to Jacob, "Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary." Therefore his name was called Edom. But Jacob said, "Sell me your birthright as of this day." And Esau said, "Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?" Then Jacob said, "Swear to me as of this day." So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright. (Genesis 25:29-34)

Love is our birthright. We were born to be loved, to give love, and to become spiritual. But early in our development, we might be willing to give up that birthright for things that promise immediate gratification. We get our priorities mixed up.

'Esau despised the birthright' signifies that in the meantime the good of life made no account of priority.(Secrets of Heaven 3331)

Notice the conflicts in your life: Have you ever said of something, "I'll die if I don't get it"? Today, if you're craving something you'll later regret indulging in, notice the cravings as well as any inner conflicts that arise; then, see if that awareness has an impact on your actions.

Breaking Free From Addiction, a sermon by Rev. David Roth

Jacob Tricks Isaac into Blessing Him

Rebekah took the best clothes of Esau her older son, which she had in the house, and put them on her younger son Jacob. She also covered his hands and the smooth part of his neck with the goatskins. Then she handed to her son Jacob the tasty food and the bread she had made. He went to his father and said, "My father." "Yes, my son," he answered. "Who is it?" Jacob said to his father, "I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing." Isaac asked his son, "How did you find it so quickly, my son?" "The LORD your God gave me success," he replied.

Then Isaac said to Jacob, "Come near so I can touch you, my son, to know whether you really are my son Esau or not." Jacob went close to his father Isaac, who touched him and said, "The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau." He did not recognize him, for his hands were hairy like those of his brother Esau; so he proceeded to bless him. "Are you really my son Esau?" he asked. "I am," he replied.

Then he said, "My son, bring me some of your game to eat, so that I may give you my blessing." Jacob brought it to him and he ate; and he brought some wine and he drank. Then his father Isaac said to him, "Come here, my son, and kiss me." So he went to him and kissed him. When Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, he blessed him and said, "Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field that the LORD has blessed. May God give you heaven's dew and earth's richness--an abundance of grain and new wine. May nations serve you and peoples bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you. May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed." (Genesis 27:15-29)

These passages show what happens when our thought process is still immature. Jacob disguising himself as Esau represents a state of mind in which we are so focused on doing the "right thing" that we honestly believe that we're doing good. At this stage, we haven't yet realized that an action only becomes truly good when our heart is in it.

Notice the conflicts in your life: Today, notice the times when you rationalize or justify something to the point that you think you're doing good, even if others are hurt by your actions. For example, notice the times when you are feeling "too right" to say, "I'm sorry."

Esau Is Upset When He Realizes What Jacob Has Done

When Esau and Isaac realize what Jacob has done, Esau bursts out with a loud and bitter cry, and Isaac trembles violently.

This emotion and shaking represent a shift in our awareness. We realize that to be connected to others, and to experience real love, we have to first rely on our rational, thoughtful side, and not yet on our passionate, emotional side. Knowing that it has to be this way for a time, we resolve to "kill Jacob." This means we resolve to remove the selfish tendencies of our rationality. We want to get rid of the righteous justifications that get in the way of our love for others.

Excerpted from Shift spiritual growth program — Week 1

Daily Inspiration

"The life of faith never exists without the life of charity, for without charity the life of faith is impossible."

Arcana Coelestia 2049.4