Esau comes from an amazing heritage, but all that is coming to him—both his material and spiritual inheritance—has just slipped between his fingers.
It’s all Jacob’s fault! “Look,” he says. “He took away my birthright, and now look, he has taken away my blessing!” (v.36 NKJV).
Esau’s solution is primitive but effective. I’ll just kill him, he thinks. That way, birthright and blessing will be freed up, and I can have what is mine.
Fortunately, before he can act on his plan, his mother warns Jacob, who flees for his life.
Most of the issues in this family are rooted in a scarcity mindset, as well as reflecting Abraham’s treatment of his sons generations earlier. Ishmael missed out; Isaac inherited all. Now the pattern is to repeat again—until Jacob’s impudence and Esau’s negligence coalesce to allow the chosen brother to be dispossessed by the one who is to be overlooked. Okay for Jacob, but Esau is out in the cold because apparently there is not enough to go around!
Christ’s ‘golden rule’ (do unto others as you would have them do unto you), His summary of the Law as extravagantly loving God and our neighbour, and His invitation into an abundant life combine to shatter the validity of a worldview based on lack and competition for privilege. A ‘Robin Hood’ model for addressing inequity presumes this fallen world possesses all the resources available to right every wrong. Yes, it is the lesser of two evils, but it remains an earth-bound compromise, one that does not do justice to the lavish abundance of God’s resources and His expansive heart toward humankind. Esau need not go without for Jacob to prosper.
We need a richer perspective than scarcity to recalibrate to what was originally intended—and blessing is the perfect tool for the job. Blessing draws from deep wells, uncorrupted by the fallout of Eden that dashed our expectations and lowered our hopes. Using deliberate and substantive words, Mum and Dad call forth resources from spiritual storehouses. Individually tailored and freshly prepared supplies enter the tangible world via angelic stairways (Genesis 28:12), taking root in the life of a child—even a prodigal on the run after short-sheeting his brother.
Blessing is a type of approval, like a last will and testament—but so much greater in substance and scope and alive in a way that no legal document can be. Rather than a single act at the end of life, blessing is a lifestyle of declared affirmation that actively passes on what we have attained, seen and unseen, so that our children can stand upon our shoulders and build a life from there. A blessing deficit is essentially neglect. If we don’t bless properly, every generation starts from scratch, and why would we want that?
Things come to a head as Esau cries out: “Have you only one blessing, my father? Bless me—me also!” (v.38 NKJV).
Thankfully, even though he is acting outside of his social norm, Isaac blesses his other son, too. He has more to give than he had thought.
The result is transformational—both sons prosper! In fact, if we move ahead in the story, we find the two grown brothers giving to each other with the words, “I have enough,” ringing on their lips (Genesis 33). Things have changed for the better, so much so that, by the end of his life, we find Jacob moving round the room blessing one son after another (Genesis 49), an imperfect shadow of our Heavenly Father who grants every spiritual blessing to every one of His children who come before Him.