Genesis 25:24-34 Eternal blessing is given only to those who are single-minded in pursuing God

Genesis 25:24-34  Eternal blessing is given only to those who are single-minded in pursuing God

When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25 Now the first came forth red, all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau. 26 Afterward his brother came forth with his hand holding on to Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob; and Isaac was sixty years old when she gave birth to them.
27 When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the field, but Jacob was a peaceful man, living in tents. 28 Now Isaac loved Esau, because he had a taste for game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. 29 When Jacob had cooked stew, Esau came in from the field and he was famished; 30 and Esau said to Jacob, “Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished.” Therefore his name was called Edom. 31 But Jacob said, “First sell me your birthright.” 32 Esau said, “Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?” 33 And Jacob said, “First swear to me”; so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.


This episode captures amidst the familial conflicts and rivalry the primary spiritual characteristics of each man. The story depicts Esau as a crass man motivated by his sensual appetites. And Jacob as a devious, and collected man of vision and spiritual foresight. Jacob’s life orientation qualifies him as a suitable possessor of Abraham’s covenant over his brother. The twins accurately portray two kinds of people in the church. One is single-minded in pursuing the truth and who prioritises God’s work over his career and family. The other is cavalier concerning the things of God who uses God as justification to fulfil his personal desires. Today’s devotion teaches us that eternal blessing is given only to those who are single-minded in pursuing God.


When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.

The prophecy is spot on when her days to be delivered were fulfilled and indeed there are twins. The description of the birth potents the fate of each man: Esau comes forth as red, like a hairy garment which by Old Testament traditions carries a bias against him. Hairiness connotes incivility and symbolises animalish instincts. The second baby emerges with one hand clutching Esau’s heel. Thus, he is called “Jacob” which implies “he clutches the heel… to betray”. The symbolism is explicit, portraying the runner-up desperately trying to catch up with the first. The unique circumstances surrounding the birth of the twins set the pattern for the rest of the story.

When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the field, but Jacob was a peaceful man, living in tents.

As expected, the boys grow up realising the characteristics as suggested at birth. Esau becomes a man born to hunt, one who is drawn to open spaces. Jacob, in contrast to his older brother’s outgoing and predative personality, is “peaceful” connoting the quality of being self-contained, and complete in himself. Jacob is like his father, a shepherd. Note that biblical writings do not view hunters and predators favourably as they do shepherds. Nimrod, a mighty hunter stands opposed to God (see Genesis 10:9). A biblical leader is symbolised by that of a shepherd as seen in the portrayal of Jesus as the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4). Here, the author rides on this bias to depict Esau as a crass man motivated by the immediate. And Jacob as a civilised man of great foresight albeit his underhanded methods.

Both Isaac and Rebekah are polarised in endorsing their respective favourite but not without reason. Isaac loves Esau for his hunting and Rebekah favours Jacob. Although her reason for favouritism is not stated, it is possible that Rebekah is drawn to Jacob’s character and God’s choice of him to rule.

Esau said to Jacob, “Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished.”

Esau returns famished, badly wanting the stew that his brother is cooking. Esau’s opening request betrays his penchant for food and sensual appetite: I am famished. Jacob exploits his brother’s lack of restrain by bartering his stew for Esau’s birthright. Esau’s response reveals his tendency to act on impulse without reflection. “I am about to die” is but a lame excuse that belies his contempt for God and the family heritage. In biblical times, the first born in the family inherits a double portion of the father’s estate. In this case, the first born has the right to inherit the covenant of Abraham. Perhaps, Esau is true to himself; his lack of restrain and impetuosity has caused him to believe that he is really about to die. Jacob, being determined to seal the deal insist that an oath be taken: First swear to me.” Is Esau intending on giving up his privileges as first born for a moment of satisfaction? Biblical history shows that birthright is transferable; a younger son can take the place of the first born as in the case of Joseph/Judah and Reuben, Moses/Aaron and David/his six older brothers, and Solomon/Adonijah. However Esau, is not about to honour his oath and handover his birthright that easily. Esau is described in the book of Hebrews as godless and immoral (see Hebrews 12:16), for not only does he despise his God-given birthright, he is prepared to rescind his oath previously made to Jacob.


The covenant of Abraham (righteousness) is given only to those who are single-minded in pursuing God.

Jacob, being single-minded in pursuing the birthright, succeeds in acquiring the covenant of Abraham. But Esau loses it despite being the de facto heir and his father’s favourite. He loses, in part due to his complacency where he supposes by his gamey gourmet he has permanently secured the endorsement of his father. On the other hand, Jacob, an unlikely candidate, acquires the covenant because he pursues it single-mindedly. Jacob and Esau is a classic story depicting the end times scenario that those who are last in the eyes of the world will be honoured as first. It also shows us by Jacob’s example that the chosen despite their imperfections are characterised by a single-minded commitment to God’s kingdom. But those who profess to be Christians while living carelessly will not inherit Abraham’s blessing. Esau is exemplary of such a one who desires Abraham’s blessing but not Abraham’s faith or conviction.

The story of the twins teaches believers never to be complacent or cavalier towards God’s promises. The apostle Paul testifies of himself as being the quintessential model of a descendant of Abraham: circumcised the eighth day,… of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews, a Pharisee,… and as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless (see Philippians 3:5-6). Yet, he places zero confidence in his birthright but pursues the covenant of Abraham through faith in Christ. Paul demonstrates his faith in Christ by his single-minded commitment towards the gospel work where he willingly suffers the loss of all things (earthly) and counts them as rubbish (see Philippians 3:8). And he presses on relentlessly toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God, which is the glory of Christ, the righteousness of Abraham (see Philippians 3:14). Therefore, believers must not suppose that by their confession of Christ or their participation in church activities have been granted irrevocable possession of divine righteousness. That is why Paul speaks against complacence, Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect (Phil 3:12), … let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained (Phil 3:16).” Before the day of judgment arrives, we must be single-minded in living out Christ’s virtues and mission because our attainment to righteousness is yet cast in stone.

Esau epitomises the modern day churchgoer. He is a slave not of God but of his own sensual appetites who places his confidence in his confession of Christ as Saviour. He supposes that through this confession alone he will be exonerated at the final judgment. Thus, his speech becomes characteristically smooth and flattering (filled with words of blessing and complacence) portraying Christ as justification to fulfil his fleshly desires. And by their erroneous philosophy, and enticing flattery, they deceive the unsuspecting (see Romans 16:18).

Therefore, believers must be single-minded in doing God’s will without worrying about their financial security. They must learn to reject worldliness, greed and the love of money. Jesus teaches that man’s physical needs are met when he sets his sights towards the kingdom of God: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied.” Luke 6:20-21. One who lives in the kingdom is diligent in his work, being prudent in his finances while giving assistance to the poor for such will not go hungry or suffer lack. As depicted in the below image: material and non-material blessings are a by-product of a God-centred or kingdom-cultured life.

The first man (at the top) sets his sights on blessing while relegating God as a means to help him obtain it. The second man (at the bottom) sets his vision on God by acquiring His truths and becoming like Him. For the second man, blessing has rightly become a by-product as he puts God as the Lord of his life. The first man may enjoy temporal riches but he will eventually suffer great losses. The second man does not dwell on riches or the comfort of life, but yet God provides for him and his descendants (see Psalms 112:2-3).


Are you vacillating between the pursuit of God, and the pursuit of material comfort? Do you often gravitate towards words and promises that make you feel good? It is easy to fall into the trap of unbelief and of using God to fulfil our personal appetites. How do believers demonstrate their single-minded devotion towards God? Besides reading and meditating on the bible daily, we can set aside time to realign our souls towards God in the three areas: holiness, competence and understanding.

a.  Holiness: Am I truthful in all that I say or profess to be? Is my ambition God-centred or self-centred? Are my appetites sensual or spiritual?
b.  Competence: With reference to my work responsibilities, do I feel inadequate and ill-confident? Do I feel overwhelmed by the tasks at hand?
c.  Understanding: With reference to my current situation and challenges, do I feel discontented with God and with people? Am I at a lost of what to do and what direction I should take?

Say this prayer of holiness in the morning:

Dear Lord, I desire to be holy as you are holy. I desire to be transformed into the image of Jesus, in all His purity, power and wisdom. Create in me a clean heart, and sanctify my appetites. I rebuke all unclean spirits and their fleshly desires. I receive into my being the virtues of Jesus. Amen.

Say this prayer to acquire divine power at noon:

Dear Lord, I believe you have imbued within me divine power and authority to your will. Even though I feel inadequate, but I am not going to live by what I feel or what I see. By your word, I can accomplish my responsibilities beyond my natural abilities. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.

Say this prayer to receive wisdom and understanding in the evening:

Dear Lord, I believe that your ways are incomprehensible and they are higher than my ways. It is by your ways that I can overcome the challenges that lay ahead. Give me wisdom to understand the circumstances around me. Even if I don’t understand, give me faith to do your will. Open my soul to receive your truth and revelations through your word so that I may possess the mind of Christ. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.

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