Who was spiritual, Jacob or Esau? When we look at their relationship in Genesis (Gen. 25-33) Esau at first seems like the responsible son and Jacob comes across as the manipulator. Yet what is the scriptural testimony of them?
2 “I have loved you,” says the LORD. “Yet you say, ‘In what way have You loved us?’ Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” Says the LORD. “Yet Jacob I have loved; 3 But Esau I have hated, And laid waste his mountains and his heritage For the jackals of the wilderness.” Malachi 1:2-3 (NKJV)
13 As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.” Romans 9:13 (NKJV)
Why this testimony? To understand it we need to delve into the spirit realm. Yes Jacob was a schemer and manipulator, not the character traits we admire. Esau however did not value the blessing that was his by birthright. As an aside, we tend to use phrases like ‘bless you’ rather casually. Yet in scripture they meant something. Read the blessing Jacob/Israel pronounced over his sons in Genesis 49. It laid out the future destiny of the nation. There was prophetic power in it. Blessing our food at a meal or blessing someone else is meant to be a term that describes that actual blessing. Consider the Aaronic blessing in Numbers.
22 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 23 “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them: 24 “The LORD bless you and keep you; 25 The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; 26 The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” ’ Numbers 6:22-26 (NKJV)
A blessing is a pronouncement that releases something tangible in the spirit realm. Consider what Jesus said when He sent out the seventy.
5 But whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6 And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you. Luke 10:5-6 (NKJV)
Peace is shalom in Hebrew and that is what is referred to in both passages. The release of shalom is a tangible spiritual transaction. Jesus expected the seventy to know whether or not their shalom, what they released, was resting on the homes they blessed.
I have had this experience of praying for someone and feeling like my prayer was bouncing off them. They verbalized openness but were not actually willing to receive.
So, back to Jacob and Esau. Jacob did not start well. Yet it was in pursuing Yahweh’s blessing, with a selfish motive, that Jacob was transformed to Israel. His encounter with Yahweh (Gen. 32) broke his fleshly strength and transformed him into a spiritual man. We see this when he went down to Egypt with his family. Pharaoh was the most powerful man in the Middle East yet look what happened when he met Jacob/Israel.
7 Then Joseph brought in his father Jacob and set him before Pharaoh; and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. Genesis 47:7 (NKJV)
7 Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better. Hebrews 7:7 (NKJV)
Where is all of this going? How many of you are familiar with the concept of needing to clean up our lives so we can be filled with the Holy Spirit? It sounds spiritual but is simply a religious spirit masquerading as true spirituality. If we could clean up our lives without the Holy Spirit we wouldn’t need Him! Draw near to Him, pursue His blessing like Jacob, and be transformed by His touch and presence. We all need Him. Let’s pray for a greater hunger and not focus on our motives – that is being spiritual. He will change us!