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  • Writer's pictureDavid Bent

Isaac and Favouritism (30-06-21)

Bible Reading: Genesis 25:19-28

This is the account of the family line of Abraham's son Isaac.

Abraham became the father of Isaac, and Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah. Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, "Why is this happening to me?" So she went to inquire of the Lord. The Lord said to her, "Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger."

When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau. After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau's heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them. The boys grew up, and Esau became a skilful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was content to stay at home among the tents. Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.

A Reflection

Twins in the family can be a surprise and a joy, especially to the grandparents who don’t have to feed them and change them at night! To the mother, as in the case or Isaac’s wife Rebekah and of our daughter Rachel, they can also be a shock and can cause moments of panic. Both Rachel, through an ultrasound scan, and Rebekah, through a prophetic word, knew they were to give birth to twins, but there the similarity ends. Rachel’s are identical girls while Rebekah’s were non-identical boys and Rachel gave birth by caesarean section while Rebekah gave birth naturally with Jacob arriving grasping Esau’s heel. An image that would play out in dramatic form in later life.

All children, even identical twins, are different. This was certainly the case for Isaac and Rebekah’s sons who were different both physically and temperamentally. These boys would grow up to feud with each other and to spend many years estranged, with Jacob living in fear of Esau. In today’s terms we would say that Isaac’s family was difunctional. This dysfunctionality would later be perpetuated in Jacob’s family. I can’t help wondering if the divisions started with the way Isaac and Rebekah treated the boys, ‘Isaac loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob’.

Favouritism within a family or within a classroom can cause serious emotional difficulties for the children at the time and later in life, causing feelings of superiority in one and rejection in another. For Jacob and Esau, estrangement was not the end of the story. Many years later they met and embraced and, when the time came, were both at home, united, and with their father Isaac when he died. The grace of God to heal a rift is always greater than the events that caused it.

God’s plans for Jacob and Esau may have been different, but his love for each of them, as for each of us, is unconditional and unlimited. Love is eternal; it doesn’t need to be limited to one child or another, there is more than enough to go around!

Have you been the victim of favouritism? If so, can you bring those feelings of rejection to God in prayer, and start to receive from him his unconditional and healing love?

A Prayer:

Thank you, Lord, that you love me completely and unconditionally.

As I receive the warmth of your love into my soul, help me to be a channel of your unconditional and unlimited love to those around me.


Make me a channel of your peace

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