Getting Even or Getting Right

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY….. “From that time on, Esau hated Jacob because their father had given Jacob the blessing. And Esau began to scheme: “I will soon be mourning my father’s death. Then I will kill my brother, Jacob.”  Genesis 27:41 NLT

Two brother feuds stand out in the Bible. Cain and Abel and Jacob and Esau. It is interesting to see the similarities and the differences between the two. Cain was successful in his plan to kill his brother. Esau planned to kill his brother Jacob in revenge for being deceived and the loss of his birthright which was his own doing.

However, the words of the Lord to Cain, seem to echo down through the ages, “…..You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” (Genesis 4:7 NLT)

Esau was not able to kills Jacob, because of his mother’s intervention, but we see his anger and desire for revenge took some unusual measures.

“…It was now very clear to Esau that his father did not like the local Canaanite women. So Esau visited his uncle Ishmael’s family and married one of Ishmael’s daughters, in addition to the wives he already had.” (Genesis 28:8,9 NLT)

Even before Jacob stole Esau’s firstborn blessing we read of his choices of a wife. Esau married two Hittite wives: Judith, the daughter of Beeri, and Basemath, the daughter of Elon. But Esau’s wives made life miserable for Isaac and Rebekah.” (Genesis 26:34,35 NLT)

Esau saw that Jacob had obeyed his parents in returning to the home of Rebecca to find a wife and he knew that his father did not like Canaanite women, so he intentionally went to the house of Ishmael to get a wife. All of this was obvious planned revenge.

We can observe in scripture and in life that the emotions of the moment do not make for wise choices. However, the ensuring years reveal a change in both Esau and Jacob. Jacob returns to Canaan with wives, children and livestock after some challenging years in the house of Laban. Esau comes out to meet Jacob, which was a cause for great fear and concern. Regardless of the years that transpire, we tend to remember and feel about relationships at the point we left them.

Two things of importance happened. Esau experienced the Lord’s blessing, in spite of his poor choices. It appears that over the years his attitude toward Jacob changed. Jacob had his infamous encounter with the Lord and met Esau as one who wrestled with the Lord and now walked with a limp. Finally their reunion took place….

“Then Esau ran to meet him [Jacob] and embraced him, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. And they both wept.” (Genesis 33:4 NLT)

Jacob sent gifts ahead of arriving to meet Esau and insisted that Esau accept them. Esau finally consented even though he said, “My brother, I have plenty…Keep what you have for yourself.” (Genesis 33:9 NLT)

We read later that Esau joined Jacob in burying Isaac when he died. Instead of killing his brother after his father’s death as he vowed, we see a restored relationship. Patience, time and refusing to respond based on anger and rejection can go a long way to experiencing greater peace and contentment in life and relationships.