Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Genesis 27:41 Esau's Bitterness

"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.' " 
(Genesis 27:41 NIV)

Sometime the things which people do to us can cause a feeling of bitterness to well up inside of us.  Some of the problems which Esau encountered are there as a result of his own decisions and actions.  The case of Jacob stealing Esau's birthright is definitely a deception on Jacob's part.  Jacob may have believed that the birthright and the blessing were interwoven, and they are to a great extent.  However, the ends do not justify the means.  A more godly way to have gone about things would have been for Jacob to wait for God to give him the blessing, not to wrest it out of Esau's hands by deception and lies.  Never resort to sin in order to obtain any goal, no matter how godly the reason.  God is certainly big enough and wise enough to bring about anything which He desires for your life.

This bitterness which Esau harbored grew until it even overcame his affection for his brother.  He was willing to kill his brother Jacob when the opportunity arose.

God had made it clear since Noah's time that any murderer would be punished by death:

"And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting.
I will demand an accounting from every animal.
And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man.
'Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed;
for in the image of God has God made man.' "
Genesis 6:5-6 (NIV) 

Yet Esau's bitterness threatened to disrupt even this aspect of his relationship with God.  He did not care that this murder would destroy one who had been made to reflect God's image in some unique way.  Bitterness is a blinding, destructive emotion -- always growing, always seeking some further outlet for revenge.  It is doubtless no accident that, in Hebrews 12:15-16 (NIV), a warning against bitterness is followed by a verse about Esau:

"See to it that no one misses the grace of God
and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, 
who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son."

Bitterness can indeed grow and defile many other people, especially if gossip spreads the bitter seed of its restless poison.

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