The story of Jacob and Esau is one of the most important stories in the Bible, and one of the saddest. It is a story of how deceit, favouritism and shameless trickery tore apart a family that should have shown the world an example of godliness and happiness. These two sons were the sons of Isaac, Abraham's son. Their father was a good man who became blind in his later years. Their mother showed favouritism to the younger son Jacob. Jacob was a 'stay-at-home' guy while Esau was a hunting and shooting man of the outdoors. There was a real jealousy between the brothers, and both wanted the special blessing of their father that normally would have gone to the older son by right. However, with the connivance of their mother, Jacob tricked Isaac into giving him the father's special blessing, and once it was given it could not be withdrawn. The rift between the brothers caused no end of problems for the people of Israel for years to come.
This gives us a very clear warning about family relationships and the damage that can be done when we allow these to go wrong. There is no place in Christian families for jealousy, dishonesty and favouritism. The New Testament teaches that every family should be rooted and grounded in love. Christian families are to show a Christ-like example to an often dysfunctional and deeply sad world.
Dear Lord, please protect our Christian families and help them to be your witnesses to the world. Amen