I have to admit, as I read this today, I did not like it at first. I also kept thinking to the movie The Red Tent, as it was interpreted differently. As a woman, I appreciate the movie and how it tells the women’s story. I need to find more of those to add to my weekly study…
Jacob and Esau are twins born to Isaac and Rebekah. I can see how they are two different people. It’s how we label siblings and it’s something I very much dislike. One is the smart one, the other is athletic, as if children cannot be both! I understand that children gravitate towards their love of things as they grow, but having been labeled myself, I know it inhibits the child and can even become a great disappointment when the child cannot live up to the standards set, especially if it is in the area of a child’s wants.
As a child, I was labeled the “smart” one. I believe this was for several reasons. 1. I was a sick child so I wasn’t allowed to go out and play, 2. I read all the time because I had nothing better to do. Being held to those standards set me up for several things. I always worked hard to get good grades, that was the positive part of it. I had a reputation to uphold. But it also made it impossible to ask for help. This was the era before google so I was stuck in a torturous cycle of hating textbooks and that style of learning, yet having to endure because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone.
I also had the feeling I had to grow up to be something uber important, as in a rocket scientist or something. Forget what I liked, I didn’t even KNOW what that was. All I knew was that I shouldn’t waste what was given to me. Think back to yourself as a child and I bet you can relate. I had to break free from this and begin stepping outside the legacy that was placed on me in order to create my own; the one with God’s plan, not my parents or elders.
Back to Jacob… He did as he was told when he was a young man. His mother wanted a good life for him, as all mother’s do, so he helped him trick Isaac into blessing him instead of Esau. At first, I was angry at the mother for “choosing” one child over the other, but I remembered, that Esau already had it easy in a way. His father chose him to be the prodigal. He was already living a blessed life. His mother probably just wanted Jacob to share in that blessing.
Jacob could have stood up and said it was wrong. But to his mother? He had too much youth in him to understand the ways of the world at that time. I believe he was still blessed by God because he was a faithful young man and was doing what he thought was the right thing to do.
It makes me think of a comment I heard last week from a person I consider a friend. Her son’s football team played a Christian school’s team. She was appalled at the comments of some of the Christian students. I didn’t know how to respond and so I sat on it until the answers came to me. 1. I hope that whoever is coaching these young adults are hearing this and using it to teach them. It is their duty to be examples to the world on how to live as God’s children. 2. They are CHILDREN, just like every other child growing up in a world that is full of all kinds of differences. They are navigating their path. Why should we not allow them room for mistakes just like every other child in the world? What I have found is that people of faith do not think of themselves as better than anyone else. They have kindness toward everyone, including themselves and the mistakes they make. Why is that such a problem? To forgive others is acceptable, but to forgive yourself is not? We are all here in the same place, learning how to use God’s gifts. None of us knows why (unless you happen to know why, then you should tell me!), none of us knows exactly how, but we all move forward, with each other. We have to support one another, be a guide when necessary, and humble ourselves to be a student of others when we need to be.
Jacob does that. He leaves out of fear of his brother. He falls in love. He is deceived. He works hard, He makes choices. He makes mistakes. He does his best to listen to God and even though I don’t believe him to be the most outstanding character in the Bible, I believe he is a good example of God’s love. God guides him and he listens and so he is rewarded, regardless of any previous mistakes he has made. I am grateful to have such a forgiving God. I have made mistakes. I have hurt others. I have suffered. Yet, I have felt joy and one thing I know for sure is that when a message comes from God, it is my duty to listen.