Religious Meaning of the Birthright Story

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Religious Meaning of the Birthright Story

Genesis Ch 25:27-34

As the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man who lived in the open; whereas Jacob was a simple man, who kept to his tents. Isaac preferred Esau, because he was fond of game; but Rebekah preferred Jacob. Once, when Jacob was cooking a stew, Esau came in from the open, famished. He said to Jacob, 'Let me gulp down some of that red stuff; I'm starving.' (That is why he was called Edom.) But Jacob replied, 'First give me your birthright in exchange for it.' 'Look,' Esau said, 'I'm on the point of dying, what good will any birthright do me?' But Jacob insisted, 'Swear to me first!' So he sold Jacob his birthright under oath. Jacob then gave him some bread and the lentil stew; and Esau cared little for his birthright.

This Old Testament story holds significant meaning for all of us.

There is the obvious conflict within the family of two brothers who are very different personality types, parents who show partiality toward each of their favorite sons and the way that God allows events to happen as He relates to each of the characters involved. Exploring both the surface story and the deeper implications it has as it relates to our own lives, we can hopefully derive some deeper meaning which God working through the author intends.

On the surface, we see a story of rivalry that is typical even in modern times, yet we can also look to some valuable truths that are revealed about how God sees our personal motives and actions through the characters of Jacob and Esau. Gaining an understanding of the characters, their motives and the overall big picture of God's plan, we can better find...