Advent 2010

Isaac pt 4

Read Genesis 26:34, 28:6-9

Esau was Isaac’s favorite son. He was strong, a wilderness man like his father. But Esau was also a disappointment – a source of bitterness for his parents. He had the potential to do anything, and yet he did the wrong thing. Jacob showed no promise for anything proper, and yet he became the worthy successor.

Later, the writer of Hebrews would write, “See to it…that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.” (Hebrews 12:15-17)

The bitterness was not Esau’s but his parents. His sexual immorality was to marry a Hittite woman, to follow the Canaanite practices. It brought bitterness to his parents and it demonstrated a moral failing in Esau that would have destroyed the not-yet-born nation of Israel if he had been their father.

Isaac wanted to fix the bitterness by giving his blessing to Esau, something that Isaac’s wife Rebekah prevented – although we might think her actions bordered on deceit and manipulation.

Have you ever been so blinded by your desires that you try to fix the problem, even though you know that it will only make things worse?


There are lots of reasons for me to be bitter, God. People have done things I do not like – sometimes to me and sometimes to others. Please tear out the roots that have set inside my heart and plant instead the seeds of forgiveness.


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