The pain and tension within conflict is no respecter of persons, even for those living life from God’s perspective. Relationships are too often warped by deception and self-centeredness, which then leads to conflict, bitterness, hostility, and even separation. The deception and manipulation that takes place against others is unconscionable because, as believers, we have been transformed into a new creation by Jesus Christ. So then, why are we still struggling with so much destructive conflict? Is it because God is not able to give us the necessary resources against such conflict? Is God inept or challenged by our conflict?
This issue of family conflict was no stranger to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph; in reality, God sovereignly accomplished everything he declared without ever needing to alter his plan. The conflict between Jacob and Esau provides tremendous insight into the cause of conflict, the insight into God’s sovereign ability over conflict, and the means provided by God for victory over conflict.
Reflections for meditation
Truths to obey and follow
The Birth of Esau and Jacob
19 These are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham fathered Isaac, 20 and Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean, to be his wife. 21 And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren. And the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 The children struggled together within her, and she said, “If it is thus, why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord. 23 And the Lord said to her,
“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you shall be divided;
the one shall be stronger than the other,
the older shall serve the younger.”
24 When her days to give birth were completed, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25 The first came out red, all his body like a hairy cloak, so they called his name Esau. 26 Afterward his brother came out with his hand holding Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.
27 When the boys grew up, Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents. 28 Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.
Esau Sells His Birthright
29 Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom.) 31 Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” 32 Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” 33 Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.