Scripture Focus: Genesis 27.34, 38
34 When Esau heard his father’s words, he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, “Bless me—me too, my father!”
38 Esau said to his father, “Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me too, my father!” Then Esau wept aloud.
Reflection: Identity Lost, Identity Gained
By John Tillman
The pain of Esau has been often explored. His cry of “Oh, bless me, father,” is one of the most heartbreaking moments in scripture, but Jacob’s greeting to his father, “I am Esau,” is also a moment in the scripture to weep.
Esau loses his identity to the greed of his brother. Jacob abandons his identity to serve that same greed.
In Jacob’s preparation to fool his father he put on qualities that his father loved, covering his own unloved qualities. The less-favored son masked qualities his father rejected in order to be accepted. His body, his clothing, his smell, his cooking are all deficient, so he disguises them. Without this disguise—a costume made of his own insecurities—he cannot be equally loved by his father.
God, our father, is not limited like Isaac. He has no cultural traditions that treat the first-born as more worthy than the rest. He has no infirmity that keeps him from seeing through our sinful disguises, straight to our deceitful hearts. He has no limited supply of possessions that must be divided between his children, making one superior to the other. But most of all, God has no favoritism or bias that would cause him to treat any of his children inequitably.
Our God is free of these maladies. God’s hands and voice are strong and ready to bless us if only we will come to him as we are. Let us drop the stolen garments of false righteousness. Let us remove the fakery that covers our true identity. Let us, when asked who we are, say “sinner” instead of “righteous.”
For we too have an elder brother. We need not trick him out of his birthright for he lays it down for us. We need not steal his clothing of righteousness, for he places it on our shoulders. We need not cover our deficiencies, for he lovingly makes us acceptable. We need not grift our inheritance, for he gifts it to us.
God, our father, is greater and more loving than Isaac and our elder brother, Jesus, rather than seeking our death, goes to death for us.
God, our father, longs to bless us with every spiritual blessing. No one who comes to him will need cry, “Do you have only one blessing, my father?” We need only cry “Abba” and he lovingly speaks our name and calls us close.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Greeting
I will thank you, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and glorify your Name forevermore. — Psalm 86.12
– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle
Read more about Distrust of God and Fraud
Esau sins by giving up something of eternal significance for temporal satisfaction. Jacob sins by resorting to deceit and theft to gain what had already been promised by God.
Read more about A Way Back for Strivers—Guided Prayer
We, like Jacob, are born swindlers
Grasping for more than we deserve