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I wonder who of us is a first child?

I am, and I know there are certain expectations and responsibilities that come with being the eldest in the family. Mind you, my younger sister jumps in and does a lot of those responsibilities because that’s her way of caring and being involved in the family. She does this well and so I don’t try and claim what she is doing.

Our story today is further along the origin story of the people of Israel. Today we have the story of Isaac’s sons Jacob and Esau. Our focus is on Jacob, who is the 2nd born of Isaac’s sons (even if it is by only just). Jacob and Esau are twins, Esau was first born and Jacob came quickly behind him. In fact, we are told that Jacob was born holding onto Esau’s heel. So, Esau had the birthright as first born to receive the blessing and inheritance from his father Isaac.

But that didn’t happen. Esau gave that birthright up to Jacob in return for a bowl of stew. It seems that Esau didn’t grasp the implications of his birthright. Jacob, on the other hand, with the support of his mother who we are told favoured him, certainly did understand the implications.

And so Isaac, whose eyes have grown dim and is coming to the end of his life, is tricked. It is Jacob who gets the blessing and birthright rather than Esau. It is only after this happens does Esau begin to realise what his actions have meant.

All this trickery leads to Jacob having to flee his family home, Esau being more than a little angry with Jacob, Isaac confused and sorry, and Rebekah is pleased.

Whilst Jacob is running from the consequences of his actions and desires he stops one night and dreams. This dream is of a ladder that connects heaven and earth with angels ascending and descending on it. God comes to Jacob in this dream and blesses him. God tells Jacob that he will be given the land his is lying upon. Jacob is told what Abraham was told, and probably what Isaac was told, that his offspring will be as numerous as the dust and will spread aboard to cover the earth. All will be blessed because of Jacob and his offspring, and God will always be present until God has done what is being promised.

As heirs of Abraham, and therefore Jacob by association, that is our blessing. To be a blessing to all. How do we go about making that happen? Jay Robinson

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