Monday, October 31, 2011

Expectation Stew

"May God give you heaven's dew and earth's richness--an abundance of grain and new wine." -Genesis 27:28

These are the words that conjure ideas of harvest, warmth, and blessing from the November issue of Woman's Day magazine. Heaven's dew and earth's richness--I think of a Thanksgiving puzzle; here is a cornucopia of fruits and vegetables, grandma's hot apple pie, an embroidered table cloth.

These were not the sugar plum visions of Esau, the brother robbed of the blessing due to him by his deceiving brother Jacob. Jacob's "heaven's dew and earth's riches" turned bitter in his eldest brother's mouth. What an appropriate way to introduce us to Woman's Day feature article about women struggling with their own expectations and assumptions of others.

What have we to glean from the expectations we have--that others have--that are not fulfilled? We only have to look to Esau, in order to reap the harvest of life's lessons:

1. Esau allowed a temporary need to replace a long term blessing

"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."

Esau, upon returning home from hunting, sold his birth right to his brother. A birth right represented a double portion of physical inheritance from the father of the family. Esau, hungry and weary from hunting allowed his hunger to tempt him into surrendering a double inheritance.

What temporary needs are you allowing to rob you of your goals and expectations?

2. Esau's choices did not reflect good priorities

"When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite. They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah." 

The marriage of Esau to Canaanite women brought grief to his parents, especially his mother who favored his brother. In hindsight, Esau took a wife he believed would be a better choice. Certainly if he had consulted his father first, he would have respected and appreciated his father's love story. What could Esau have learned from a family history lesson?

How are you repeating your family history?

3. Esau found redemption and mercy in forgiveness.

"But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept." 

After his blessing was stolen and his birthright bartered, Esau's heart was full of murder and revenge towards his brother. Yet in the end we see, that Jacob's life full of blessing as the deceiver, arrived full circle (or caravan) as he received his brother's forgiveness. Esau inherited finally--not a birthright given naturally as he was first born, but herds and flocks from the brother he wished to kill--and that out of true contrition. 

And we also see that Jacob had reaped a harvest of his own deceptive seed--not only in a wife he had to work for but in a son he will believe dead from the hands of his own sons. 

Rachel loved Jacob and helped him deceive. Jacob loved Joseph and he was bitterly deceived by his own flesh and blood. 

What will the seeds you're sewing look like during harvest time? 

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