Verse of the Day and Devotion 8/31/2023

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Verse of the Day

August 31st, 2023


Isaac blessed the future of Jacob and Esau. He did that because he had faith. – Hebrews 11:20 ERV


The story of Jacob and Esau is one of my favorite Old Testament stories (see Genesis 25:19-34; 26:34-35; 27:1-36:43).

Unlike the mirror-image twins that come to mind for most people, Jacob and Esau weren’t identical at all. They were as different as oil and water. Jacob was a fine-featured fellow who preferred helping his mom around the tent. But Esau was a burly man, a skilled hunter who loved the outdoors like his dad.

Their struggles began early on as they wrestled for the prime spot in Rebekah’s womb, nearest the birth canal. Esau won that scuffle, but Jacob never gave up trying to be the first. His little hand was still trying to pull his brother back, even as Rebekah gave birth.

Both boys were miracle babies, sons of God’s plans and promises. They were born late in their parents’ lives, when their faith in God’s promises had begun to depend on the hands on the clock more than the Hand of the Lord. Both boys were their parents’ favorites. But Esau was his father’s favorite, while Jacob was his mother’s delight. Jacob also enjoyed the favor of God.

Later, the dysfunction of favoritism, scheming, and cheating tore the brothers apart. Jacob went his way after stealing his brother’s blessings and Esau pursued an entirely different path. While the story focuses on the hard lessons Jacob learned, we see later that nothing was lost on Esau.

One night on the Jabbok River, Jacob learned not to struggle with God, but to struggle like God, or to struggle for God. He learned never to let go without begging for and becoming a blessing. Then he went to face the brother he had cheated. He feared for the worst when his twin flexed some muscle and showed up with a force of fighting men. But when the estranged brothers finally stood within striking range of each other, they hugged, kissed, and cried.

Esau had learned the same lesson as Jacob. He, too, had a Jabbok River moment as he begged Isaac for a blessing. “Have you saved any blessing for me?” (Genesis 27:36). The little that Isaac had left to give turned out to be enough. Both brothers became immensely wealthy. Esau even waved off Jacob’s rich gifts. “I already have plenty, my brother. You just keep what you have” (Genesis 33:9).

So, they parted ways as teary-eyed buds until they met again, years later, to bury their beloved father, the one who had blessed them both, by faith. The struggling twins had learned that a father’s blessing, like a father’s faith, is enough.

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