Thursday, June 2, 2011

Genesis 27:36-41

Today we’ll look at some of the historical ramifications of the dysfunction of this family, as we look at the blessing that Isaac gives to Esau.

Esau said, “Isn’t he rightly named Jacob? This is the second time he has taken advantage of me: He took my birthright, and now he’s taken my blessing!” Then he asked, “Haven’t you reserved any blessing for me?”

Isaac answered Esau, “I have made him lord over you and have made all his relatives his servants, and I have sustained him with grain and new wine. So what can I possibly do for you, my son?”

Esau said to his father, “Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me too, my father!” Then Esau wept aloud.

His father Isaac answered him,“Your dwelling will be away from the earth’s richness, 
away from the dew of heaven above. You will live by the sword and you will serve your brother. But when you grow restless, you will throw his yoke from off your neck.”

Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.” (Gen 27:36-40)

You’ll note that I have highlighted Esau’s lamenting that Jacob “took” his birthright in addition to the blessing. Here is the convenient lapse of memory and the “victim” mentality of so many we all know who waste their lives wallowing in self-pity, never recognizing their part in the way their lives have turned out. Everyone else is to blame.

When I see this in students who are only 10 and 11 it scares me! My theme in my classroom is “Make Good Choices,” which is mainly about recognizing your personal responsibility for how your life turns out.

Blaming others for our woes is a way to feed bitterness and anger. And that never turns out well, as we’ll see today in Esau and his family line. Isaac prophesies that Esau “will live by the sword.” He would be a man of violence. Although he would serve his brother, there would come a point in history when he would “throw his yoke” off. I’m grateful for the help I received from Jon Courson, Beth Moore, and my Bible commentary here. I knew that the descendants of Esau were the Edomites, who were a constant source of trouble for the Jews. In fact, later, when the Babylonians carried Judah off into captivity, the Edomites not only applauded and gloated over it - they also went in behind and looted Judah. The book of Obadiah in the Old Testament is a book dedicated to the Edomites, specifically in condemnation of their treatment of their “brothers.”

When you look at the intensity of Esau’s anger toward his brother in verse 41, you wonder at such rage. Yet, we have seen over and over that the Jews have historically been the target of unnatural hatred. In the Old Testament book of Esther, we see the prototype of all antagonists toward the Jews in the Edomite, Haman. Haman plotted the complete annihilation of the Jews throughout the Medo-Persian Empire. Eventually the Edomites became known as the Idumeans, a people who converted to Judaism, but remained ethnically Edomites. Remember King Herod, the one who ordered the slaughter of every male child under the age of two after Jesus was born? He was an Idumean.

According to the historian, Josephus, in A.D. 70, when Titus was poised to invade and destroy Jerusalem, 20,000 Idumeans were allowed in the city gate of Jerusalem by the Jews, because they promised to help fight off the Romans. When they got inside the city gates, however, they turned on the Jews, slaughtering them. Do you see that these are a people who HATE Jews? This is an unnatural obsession that comes from Satan. It’s the spirit of antichrist that was also seen in Hitler, Stalin, and now in many Muslim leaders. Satan wants nothing less than the complete destruction of these chosen people, because he knows that God is not through with them yet. He wants to thwart God’s plan for the Second Coming. Jon Courson thinks that the prophecy about Esau throwing off the yoke of his brother refers to the future when the antichrist will assume power and set up his image in the temple in Jerusalem. It will be a short-lived “victory” for Satan!

Tomorrow we’ll see what the personal ramifications of the deception by Rebekah and Jacob were.

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