Genesis 27:1-46

I have entitled Genesis 27 in my Bible “The Destruction of a Family,” which is exactly what takes place in this chapter. It is a very sad story to read, because everyone in this family does the wrong thing, and they pay a very high price for doing so. The sinful choices that are made by each person bring incredible consequences that we still see the ramifications of in our present time. What we are about to study in this chapter is the account of Isaac who believes he is about to die, and his decision to give his blessing to Esau instead of Jacob who already possessed the birthright. Isaac’s decision was directly defying what God had told him many years before, even before the birth of these twins. You remember that God spoke to this couple and told them that the elder twin would serve the younger (Gen. 25:23). This would mean that the blessing should have gone to Jacob instead of to Esau. Isaac should have also realized that Esau had no interest in leading the family when he sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew (Gen. 25:29-34). In addition, Isaac knew that Esau had no heart for obeying God when he married two idolatrous Hittite wives (Gen. 26:34-35). But Isaac chose to do what he wanted to do concerning this blessing, even with all this information.

Just as a way of reminder, you must understand the difference between the birthright discussed in Genesis 25, and the blessing being given here in Genesis 27. The birthright was the right of the firstborn to some very specific privileges in the family when the father died. The birthright gave the firstborn son the legal and spiritual headship in the household. The firstborn would also get a double portion of any inheritance, before the remainder was split among the rest of the children. But because Esau despised his spiritual, moral, and leadership responsibilities of the family, he sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew (Gen. 25:34).

The blessing given by the father near his death was an oath made by the legal head of the family that would finalize this transfer of authority in the family. A father could also, if he so chose, give the blessing to one of his other children for whatever reason. This is actually done later in Genesis when Reuben is rejected as the firstborn, because of his sin of incest (Gen. 49:3-4). There is also another example of this choice made when Jacob switched his hands and blessed the younger son of Joseph, Ephraim, instead of the firstborn Manasseh (Gen. 48:14).

The Scripture records, Now it came to pass, when Isaac was old and his eyes were so dim that he could not see, that he called Esau his older son and said to him, ‘My son.’ And he answered him, ‘Here I am.’ Then he said, ‘Behold now, I am old. I do not know the day of my death. Now therefore, please take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me. And make me savory food, such as I love, and bring it to me that I may eat, that my soul may bless you before I die.’ Now Rebekah was listening when Isaac spoke to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt game and to bring it. So Rebekah spoke to Jacob her son, saying, ‘Indeed I heard your father speak to Esau your brother, saying, “bring me game and make savory food for me, that I may eat it and bless you in the presence of the LORD before my death.” ‘Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to what I command you. Go now to the flock and bring me from there two choice kids of the goats, and I will make savory food from them for your father, such as he loves. Then you shall take it to your father, that he may eat it, and that he may bless you before his death.’ And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, ‘Look, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth-skinned man. Perhaps my father will feel me, and I shall seem to be a deceiver to him; and I shall bring a curse on myself and not a blessing.’ But his mother said to him, ‘Let your curse be on me, my son; only obey my voice, and go, get them for me.’ And he went and got them and brought them to his mother, and his mother made savory food, such as his father loved. Then Rebekah took the choice clothes of her elder son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son. And she put the skins of the kids of the goats on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck. Then she gave the savory food and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob. So he went to his father and said, ‘My father.’ And he said, ‘Here I am. Who are you, my son?’ Jacob said to his father, ‘I am Esau your firstborn; I have done just as you told me; please arise, sit and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me.’ But Isaac said to his son, ‘How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son?’ And he said, ‘Because the LORD your God brought it to me.’ Then Isaac said to Jacob, ‘Please come near, that I may feel you, my son, whether you are really my son Esau or not.’ So Jacob went near to Isaac his father, and he felt him and said, ‘The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.’ And he did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s hands; so he blessed him. Then he said, ‘Are you really my son Esau?’ He said, ‘I am.’ He said, ‘Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son’s game, so that my soul may bless you.’ So he brought it near to him, and he ate; and he brought him wine, and he drank” (Gen. 27:1-25).

The deception determined.  Vs. 1-25

If God had already told Isaac and Rebekah that the elder child would eventually serve the younger, why was this an issue (Gen. 25:23)? God had spoken, but Isaac had a mind of his own. We can only speculate about his reasoning, because the Scripture does not tell us why he made this decision, but there was some reason for his favoritism of Esau. There had to be more of a reason than he just enjoyed eating the wild game that Esau would bring him.

Rebekah had a mind of her own as well. She obviously didn’t see the choice the God had made being respected, and so she chose by her deception to help God out in an attempt to bring about the Lord’s sovereign will. You will also remember that when Sarah tried to help God out by enlisting Hagar to marry Abraham to produce a child, it didn’t turn out very well, and neither will this attempt. Why? Because God doesn’t need my help to bring about His will. He is very capable to bring about His own will, in His own time, and in His own way! Each of us must never forget this fact! We must become fully convinced that what He has promised, He is also completely able to perform (Rom. 4:21). Abraham and Sarah needed to become convinced of this truth, Rebekah and Jacob needed to as well, and so must we! The Lord is able to do, “Exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Eph. 3:20). Trust His ability, not your own!

What did each person do wrong in this family?

First, Isaac is obviously doing the exact opposite of the declaration that God had made to his wife back in Genesis 25:23, when the children struggled within her womb. God had made His determination before these two children were ever born. He had already decided what His plan was to be in this family, and who was to carry on the spiritual blessing to the promised Messiah. This fact is essential to understanding that the Messiah was to come through the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Isaac knew the declaration God had made, but he allowed his favoritism to sway his decision to bless Esau instead. He allowed his favoritism for Esau, and probably other issues to affect his decision making. Making choices with such faulty criteria will always lead you to poor decisions.

One of the saddest facts was that Isaac wasn’t even ready to die when this whole issue came up. We know this, because as you read on to Genesis 35:27-28, we see that after Jacob had spent at least 20 years with his uncle Laban, and had returned home, then Isaac died. What was the rush to impart the blessing at this time? We have nothing revealed to us in Scripture. There had to have been other issues that we are not told about that caused Isaac to do as he did.

Second, Esau also had tremendous fault in this whole fiasco. He knew he had no right to the birthright of being the firstborn, because he had sold it to Jacob many years before. That means that Esau was going back on his oath to sell his birthright to his brother, and he knew it. Yet he just didn’t care, he just wanted the financial blessing of the double portion of the inheritance. We know that this was his motive because in Hebrews 12:17, “When he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.” So, it is very clear that “he wanted to inherit the blessing,” which was primarily a financial benefit.

Third, Rebekah deceived her husband in her attempt to fulfill the will of God. Her rationale was that the ends justified the means. This philosophy has been the destruction of friendships, marriages, families, and nations. The means to an end, are very important to God. There is another story in Scripture that illustrates the importance of the means to an end, that I think is very important to remember. In 1 Samuel 16:13 we read that Samuel anointed David as the next King of Israel to replace King Saul. David had the means and the opportunity to kill Saul several times, and to take the kingdom for himself, but he refused to do so. Why? David knew that if God had determined to make him king, that He had the means to bring that about. David knew that the end, does not justify the means.

One of the most serious issues that Rebekah forfeited by deceiving her husband was the trust in their relationship from that day forward. I’m sure their marriage was never the same from this point into the future. Trust and honesty in any relationship is essential to keeping it strong and intimate, because without it you are always questioning the other person’s decisions and motives. When you believe someone has lied to you, or you catch someone in a lie, you will question everything they say from that point forward. Why? Because trust is always based on truth and honesty. This is why the Holy Spirit is called the, “Spirit of truth” (John 14:17). Truth is the only thing that the Holy Spirit will ever declare to you, and the only thing He will bless as you share with others. This is why we are commanded to speak “the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). Rebekah should have come to her husband and spoken to him in love, and told him that he was about to violate God’s will by giving the blessing to Esau. But instead, she chose another path.

Fourth, what Jacob did wrong was going along with this deception that his mother had planned. He should have refused, and gone and also spoken to his father. But all Jacob was worried about was getting caught, and his father ending up cursing him instead. What a lesson this should be for each of us. When you are afraid of getting caught doing something, you know you are in the wrong. What is that inside of you that causes you to think, I hope no one sees me doing this, or I hope no one finds out about what I’ve done. This is your conscience that makes you think like this. Your conscience is that sense within you that reveals itself within your thoughts to either accuse or excuse your thoughts and behavior. In Romans 2:14-15 Paul explained that even the Gentiles had a conscience, even though they did not know God’s law. Why was this? Having a conscience revealed the God had written His law on their hearts. This is why he wrote, “Their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them.” Your conscience has been formed in you to accuse you when you are about to do something that is wrong, or to excuse your actions and encourage you when you have done what is right. Every person, Christian or non-Christian, has a conscience. Do you remember sensing your conscience before you were a Christian? I sure did. But I simply disobeyed my conscience, and I just did what I wanted to do. You can also disobey your conscience as a Christian. This is exactly what all four members in this family did, which created this family meltdown. I can’t count how many times I have seen this take place in people’s lives that I have counseled. The choice to disobey God’s Word, and to violate their conscience, will always end in personal and relational heartache. I have watched this happen in countless marriages, friendships, and businesses. When you disobey God and your conscience, you are simply setting yourself up in the place of God. This is why the Scripture declared in Psalm 16:4, “Their sorrows shall be multiplied who hasten after another god.” Solomon also declared in Proverbs 22:8, “He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to reap sorrow. I want to reap life, peace, and joy, from the fruit of obeying the direction of the Spirit in my life.

Why should you avoid parental favoritism?

Parental favoritism is where this whole fiasco started, so let this account be a warning to every parent reading this story. God does not play favorites, nor does He show partiality to anyone. Paul explained this truth very clearly and directly in Romans 2:11 when He wrote, “For there is no partiality with God.” Then he proceeded to show how impartial God is with both the Jew and the Gentile. Paul goes on to explain that God’s righteousness is given impartially to, “All and on all who believe. For there is no difference” (Rom. 3:22). Why is there no difference between us? Because we are all alike in that, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). This is why, if we believe, we can all be, “Justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24). If then God shows us forgiveness and grace equally and freely, we should also do likewise.

The results of parental favoritism.

As you read the continuing story of this family in the next few chapters of Genesis, you see the harsh realities and the results of Isaac and Rebekah’s parental favoritism. Jacob got the blessing from his father, but was exiled from the family for the next 20 years, because of the threats from Esau to kill him. Jacob never saw his mother again, because she died before he returned home. Jacob was deceived by his uncle Laban several times, which gave him a taste of what he had done to his own father. Jacob and Esau remained estranged, and their descendants still remain as enemies to this day. The Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle-East, is directly related to this conflict here in Genesis.

If you don’t want to experience these kinds of results within your family, then do not play favorites with your children. Many times, parents justify their favoritism by thinking they just have a special kind of love and connection with one child over another. Don’t go down this road in your mind, because a special connection with one child does not justify giving special treatment over another child. What you do for one of your children, make sure you at least offer the same to the other children.

The sad thing is that God would have given this blessing to Jacob anyway, without all of the deception and lying. How can I be so sure of this fact? If God had determined that the elder child (Esau), was to serve the younger child (Jacob), then that is exactly what was going to happen. The Lord would have brought this about in His own way. As you read the rest of the story, Jacob became a very good business man, and became a very wealthy man because of God’s blessing upon him. This revealed that he really didn’t need to deceive his father, because God blessed him greatly even if he never received the double portion of his father’s wealth. Most likely Jacob didn’t get anything after Isaac’s death anyway. Notice that the Scripture declares that after Isaac’s death that, So Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac” (Gen. 46:1). So, Jacob, now called Israel, took his journey with all that he had. Nothing is mentioned about taking a double portion of his father’s wealth. I do believe that Jacob did ultimately learn that God’s blessings are given by His grace and choosing, not achieved by deceit. May we all learn this lesson too!

Surrendering to God’s sovereign will.

The most important overriding lesson from this account of the struggle between Jacob and Esau, is that God will always accomplish His will and purpose one way or the other. It was God’s will to bless Jacob, and to make him the spiritual head of the family. It was also God’s plan to cause Jacob’s descendants to become the chosen nation of Israel. God accomplished His will, just as He said! By Jacob’s deception and trying to achieve this blessing, he had to go through some very hard times in his life, before he would fully surrender to God. The lesson Jacob had to learn was, if you want God’s will, then His will must be accomplished His way. God has warned us when He said, “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts’” (Is. 55:8-9). My way doesn’t always equal His will. In fact, my way and my will must be submitted to Him each day! I must learn to trust God to bring about His will in His way, and in His timing. No one wants to have to wait and trust Him; we want to get what we want now. This is why my will and my ways must yield to His. Even your children must learn this lesson as they grow up in your home, and they should learn it early in their lives. Think of the times that your children have tried to circumvent your will, because they want something. You watch them try and manipulate and even deceive you to get their way. Whose will got accomplished? Your will always got accomplished, because you have the final say in your home. You would never allow your children to have ice cream for breakfast, or try and buy something that might hurt them. Why? Because you are the adult and they are the children, and as the adult you know what is best for them. But because you want to bless them, you will allow them to do the things they enjoy when it is the right time. The same thing is true with God’s sovereign will. Because He loves you and wants to bless you, He won’t allow you to circumvent His sovereign will. He will give to you in His own time, and in His own way what will bless you.

If you are frustrated with God’s will and struggling to surrender to His sovereign plan or timing, remember these verses. “There is no wisdom or understanding or counsel against the Lord” (Prov. 21:30).  In other words, you are not being wise to fight against God’s counsel or will. To do so reveals a total lack of understanding of who you are dealing with. He is God! Solomon also said, “There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel--that will stand” (Prov. 19:21). Never forget that no matter what plan or scheme you have devised, that in the end, God’s will and counsel will always stand sure and steadfast. This is why choosing today to surrender to God’s plan will always be the easiest way for you in the end. Resisting His plan, will only will bring you trouble. I hope you believe this to be true, because God’s sovereign will is never going to change. We must surrender to it, because it is going to happen with us or without us! Let me give you some biblical examples of what I mean.

Later in the book of Genesis, we will read the account of Joseph, and the dream God gave him concerning the future of his family. God told Joseph that all of his family would one day bow before him. Joseph mistakenly told this dream to his father and brothers, which created an intense hatred toward him. His brothers rejected God’s counsel, and sold Joseph to slave traders heading to Egypt. Yet through God’s providential working, Joseph ended up becoming a ruler in Egypt, and Joseph’s father and brothers ultimately found themselves bowing before him, just as God declared would happen. Joseph’s brothers had many plans in their hearts as to how to get rid of Joseph, but the counsel of God was still accomplished. God has a sovereign will, and we all would be wise to surrender to it.

Another powerful example of this concept was when Satan attempted to stop Jesus from becoming King of the Jews. His plan was to have Jesus murdered and discredited from His claim of being the Messiah. But, in reality Christ’s death and resurrection only proved that He was, and is the Savior of the world. Whose will was accomplished? God’s will came to pass just as He predicted in the hundreds of prophecies in the Old Testament. Why? Because He is the One who is in control, in spite of all that Satan sought to do. When God purposes to do something, no one can stop it. This is what the Lord said when He spoke of His decision to destroy the Assyrian empire through the Prophet Isaiah. He declared, For the LORD of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?” (Is. 14:27). The answer to God’s questions is, that no one will annul what He purposes. This is the point of God’s declaration that Esau would end up serving Jacob one day. This is why Jacob didn’t have to listen to the deceit of Rebekah to obtain the promise of God. Therefore, trust what God has declared in His Word, and let Him bring it to pass!

The blessing given to Jacob.  Vs. 26-29

The deception was now complete, Isaac believed that Jacob was Esau. He then called him to come before him so that he might bless him. Scripture records the blessing. Then his father Isaac said to him, ‘Come near now and kiss me, my son.’ And he came near and kissed him; and he smelled the smell of his clothing, and blessed him and said: ‘Surely, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field which the LORD has blessed. Therefore may God give you of the dew of heaven, of the fatness of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine. Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be master over your brethren, and let your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be those who bless you!’” (Gen. 27:26-29).
The important thing to note in this blessing is that everything that Isaac pronounced is exactly what came to pass, and it is a blessing that is still in effect today. This blessing involved the land agriculturally, that his mother’s sons would bow down to him, and even that the nations surrounding him would be subdued. The mention of Jacob’s mother’s sons reveals that Esau and Jacob were not the only male children in the family. In addition, the same blessings and curses were pronounced upon those who love or hate Jacob. When you look at the land of Israel today, there is an incredible blessing on this nation. It is a fertile nation that fills the earth with its produce, textiles, and technology. In 2022, the State of Israel shipped $73.6 billion worth of products around the world. That dollar amount revealed a rise of 18.9% from $61.9 billion in 2018. Every year, Israel exports around the world more than 2 billion dollars’ worth of fruits and vegetables. Isaiah prophesied that this would be the blessing God would bring to His land. He predicted, “Those who come He shall cause to take root in Jacob; Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit” (Is. 27:6). When I have traveled the length and breadth of Israel, my eyes have seen the fulfillment of these words.

Esau realizes the deception.  Vs. 30-40

“Now it happened, as soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, and Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting. He also had made savory food, and brought it to his father, and said to his father, ‘Let my father arise and eat of his son’s game, that your soul may bless me.’ And his father Isaac said to him, ‘Who are you?’ So he said, ‘I am your son, your firstborn, Esau.’ Then Isaac trembled exceedingly, and said, ‘Who? Where is the one who hunted game and brought it to me? I ate all of it before you came, and I have blessed him--and indeed he shall be blessed.’ When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, ‘Bless me--me also, O my father!’ But he said, ‘Your brother came with deceit and has taken away your blessing.’ And Esau said, ‘Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright, and now look, he has taken away my blessing!’ And he said, ‘Have you not reserved a blessing for me?’ Then Isaac answered and said to Esau, ‘Indeed I have made him your master, and all his brethren I have given to him as servants; with grain and wine I have sustained him. What shall I do now for you, my son?’ And Esau said to his father, ‘Have you only one blessing, my father? Bless me--me also, O my father!’ And Esau lifted up his voice and wept. Then Isaac his father answered and said to him: ‘Behold, your dwelling shall be of the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above. By your sword you shall live, and you shall serve your brother; and it shall come to pass, when you become restless, that you shall break his yoke from your neck.’” (Gen. 27:30-40).

Once this deception of Jacob was realized by Esau, he wept aloud with anger for what his brother had done. Note that Esau makes mention of the fact that he had previously lost the birthright. So, he clearly understood that the blessing did not belong to him. Esau also incorrectly declared that Jacob had taken his birthright, instead of acknowledging that he had sold it for a bowl of stew. Note how resentment twists the facts in his mind to justify himself. Remember this fact the next time you are angry with someone!

The blessing could not be revoked once it was given.

This fact is essential to understand concerning the authority of the father to bestow the blessing upon a child. The blessing given to Jacob could not be revoked, because a verbal oath by a father was a binding oath. Esau knew this, and this is the reason he was so upset and angry with Jacob. But, why was Esau so angry? He was only upset that he couldn’t have the blessing, which was primarily a financial issue. The commentary given to us concerning this man Esau in the New Testament is a very important one. Remember, Scripture always interprets Scripture. In Hebrews 12:15-17 the apostle warns us to not be like Esau when he writes, “Looking diligently lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many are defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.  For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.” What did Esau want so badly that he wept with many tears? He wanted to, “Inherit the blessing.” Esau wanted the material things that came with this blessing, which was the double portion of the father’s inheritance. That is what he really wanted. How can we be sure of this? Because from his life it was obvious that he could care less about the spiritual responsibilities of the family. How can we be sure? Because he married two idolatrous Hittite wives.

One further thing that is interesting from Isaac’s blessing of Esau, was that he told him, By your sword you shall live.” This was a prophetic statement by Isaac upon the character of Esau. As you read the historic tribal conflicts among the Edomites, who were the descendants of Esau, and all the other Arab tribes throughout history, this statement has definitely come to pass. Even Isaac’s prophetic statement that Esau and his descendants would serve Jacob and his descendants has also come to pass. He declared, and you shall serve your brother; and it shall come to pass, when you become restless, that you shall break his yoke from your neck. Historically, the Edomites were servants of King David and Solomon, but after their reigns the Edomites broke off the yoke of the descendants of Jacob, just as Isaac declared.

Rebekah’s plan for Jacob’s escape.  Vs. 41-46

Scripture continues, So Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father blessed him, and Esau said in his heart, ‘The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then I will kill my brother Jacob.’ And the words of Esau her older son were told to Rebekah. So she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said to him, ‘Surely your brother Esau comforts himself concerning you by intending to kill you. Now therefore, my son, obey my voice: arise, flee to my brother Laban in Haran. And stay with him a few days, until your brother’s fury turns away, until your brother’s anger turns away from you, and he forgets what you have done to him; then I will send and bring you from there. Why should I be bereaved also of you both in one day?’ And Rebekah said to Isaac, ‘I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth; if Jacob takes a wife of the daughters of Heth, like these who are the daughters of the land, what good will my life be to me?’” (Gen. 27:41-46).

The results of Rebekah’s and Jacob’s deception obtained for them what they wanted, but it also caused Esau to hate Jacob so much that he determined to kill him after his father died. Rebekah hears of what was determined by Esau, and concocts another plan to get Jacob away from Esau, and protect him from his brother’s wrath. She went to Isaac and told him that she wanted Jacob to go obtain a wife from her brother Laban’s family in Haran. This worked, and in the following chapter Isaac sends Jacob away to find his wife. What Rebekah does not know is the fact that what she thought would be, as she said, but a few days away, turned out to be more than 20 years. In fact, she never saw her son Jacob again. What a high price she paid for her lack of trust in God to fulfill His will.

What Rebekah also did not understand was that Esau would not get over his resentment in a few days. When someone holds resentment, it doesn’t just magically go away in a few days. We know that Esau was still resentful when Jacob returns 20 years later, because when Esau hears that Jacob is returning, he came looking for him with four hundred of his men. No one comes with 400 trained men of war unless he intended to do him harm. But we will get to that part of the story later in Genesis 33.

The lesson of resentment held in your heart toward others is something you should consider honestly. Do you just forget about betrayals and offenses when people deeply hurt you? No, you don’t. Resentment must be resolved in your heart by a choice to forgive, and hopefully reconciliation will result with that person. My point is that when resentment is held in the heart, it will never be forgotten, unless you choose to let it go by obeying God’s commands. The best proof of this fact is the death of John the Baptist. You remember the story that Herodias divorced her husband and married King Herod. John the Baptist spoke publicly and declared Herod and Herodias adulterers, because he had taken his brother’s wife. Scripture records, For John had said to Herod, ‘It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife.’ Therefore Herodias held it against him and wanted to kill him, but she could not; for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and he protected him. And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly. Then an opportune day came when Herod on his birthday gave a feast for his nobles, the high officers, and the chief men of Galilee. And when Herodias’ daughter herself came in and danced, and pleased Herod and those who sat with him, the king said to the girl, ‘Ask me whatever you want, and I will give it to you.’ He also swore to her, ‘Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom.’ So she went out and said to her mother, ‘What shall I ask?’ And she said, ‘The head of John the Baptist!’” (Mark 6:18-24). Notice that the Scripture declared that she “held” her hatred toward John the Baptist until “an opportune day.” Therefore, bitterness and resentment always wait for an opportune day, unless a person addresses their hatred before that day comes. Jesus said, “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37). But you think to yourself, They don’t deserve to be forgiven for what they have done to me! My response when people say this to me is, but neither do you deserve to be forgiven for all the things that you have done to others. Remember, resentment doesn’t hurt the person you hate, it only hurts you, and holds you in bondage to your hatred. Forgive as you have been forgiven (Eph. 4:32). Your forgiveness doesn’t automatically reconcile the relationship with the offender, but it sure sets you free within (Matt. 18:21-35).

Finally on this topic, Esau hated Jacob so intensely because he couldn’t see his own fault in this whole affair. He was the one who chose to sell his birthright for a bowl of stew. He knew that he had no claim on the blessing of the firstborn of the family, and he was breaking his oath that he had given to Jacob when he sold his birthright. But now he wanted to change the deal he had made, because he wanted the financial gain of a double portion of his father’s wealth. Hatred always blinds you to your own fault in a conflict. This is why Jesus said when discussing how to resolve conflicts, “Hypocrite. First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye” (Matt. 7:5). True reconciliation between people requires both parties to first examine themselves. If they refuse to do so, this is hypocrisy according to Jesus. If Isaac, Rebekah, Esau, and Jacob would have first examined themselves, this entire conflict could have been avoided. If the four of them would have taken the plank from their own eye, reconciliation could have resulted. Think about the resentment that is still held between the Jews and Arabs today. If they could have reconciled this conflict, we wouldn’t have the Arab/Israeli conflict, and all the suffering this has caused to the present day. This resentment between Jews and Arabs is caused by what Ezekiel the Prophet called, “An ancient hatred” (Eze. 35:5). Remember, the descendants of Jacob became the Children of Israel. The descendants of Esau became the Arab peoples. Bitterness held in the heart can have generational consequences. Just be sure you are not a person who holds resentment toward anyone. Ask God to make you a peacemaker with those around you who are holding resentment! This is your calling as a believer in Jesus!