Almost twenty years after Isaac and Rebecca got married they still had no children. So Isaac asked the Lord to give them a child, and God answered his prayer-only double! When Rebecca was pregnant, she knew she was going to have twins, because she could feel them inside her, fighting each other. She asked God why her twins were fighting, and He told her: “Your two sons will become two nations. The younger son will be stronger than his older brother.”
The first baby was covered with hair and they named him Esau. The second baby grabbed on to his brother’s heel and they named him Jacob.
As Jacob and Esau grew older, they developed very different personalities. Esau was outdoorsy and strong. He was a good hunter, and Isaac loved the wild meat he would catch. Jacob was a shepherd who loved to help his mother in the kitchen and with chores at home. Isaac always felt closer to Esau, but Rebecca got along better with Jacob.
Back then, being the oldest son was a privilege and a responsibility. The oldest son would be in charge of taking care of the whole family and their farm. But Esau didn’t care about his role.
One day, Jacob was cooking lentil stew, when Esau came home from a long hunting trip. He was hungry and groaned, “I’m starving to death!” and demanded that Jacob give him some of his stew right away!
Jacob was annoyed. “Fine! If you sell me your role as the first-born son.”
“Take it!” Esau yelled. “What good will that role do me when I’m this hungry?” When Esau was done eating, he just got up and left, showing how little he thought of his role as the first-born.
After Isaac had become old and almost blind, he called Esau in to him. “My son,” he said. “You are my first born and I want to pray a special blessing over you. It is almost time for me to pass on family responsibilities to you. I am old and might die at any time. So take your bow and arrows, go out into the fields, and hunt for some tasty meat. I want to eat my favorite food once more before I give you my blessing.”
Rebecca was listening outside the tent, and as soon as Esau left to go hunting, she found Jacob. She had never forgotten God’s message to her when she was pregnant, and wanted to make it happen right away.
“I heard your father tell Esau to go hunting so he could eat his meat and pray a special blessing over him. But instead, I am going to cook some meat we already have and you will bring it in to him. He can barely see and will think you are Esau and give you his blessing instead.”
“But my brother is so much more harry than me,” Jacob protested. But Rebecca knew what to do for that, as well. She covered Jacob’s hands and neck with fur so that he would feel like Esau, too.
Jacob went in to his father’s tent.
“Who is that? Don’t tell me you’re back from hunting already?” Isaac asked in disbelief.
“It’s me, Esau,” Jacob lied. “God blessed my hunt, so the meat is ready sooner than expected. I am here for my blessing.”
“Come closer so I can hug you,” Isaac said, feeling a bit suspicious.
But when Isaac felt the fur on Jacob’s arms, he believed it was really Esau and prayed a special blessing over him.
God wants us to get along with our families. Not to trick them, or be nicer to some of them than to others, or ignore our responsibilities to them. God also wants us to wait for His timing for the things He has promised. Not to try and make them happen on our own.