It never ceases to surprise me how different siblings are. They might look alike, but they are all so different – from day 1. When my own children were born, they looked pretty similar, especially the two girls, but as their characters emerged, all three of mine were quite individual, in the things they liked, in the things they were good at, in the ways they handled life, and in the ways I needed to handle them. As a grandma, I observed more objectively how each little personality was there from the start, making his/her own marks on the family he/she was born into.
Although each one is different, it’s amazing how you love each one just the same. Personally, I don’t understand how parents can love one child more than another – as Isaac and Rebekah did with their boys, (Genesis 25 v 28). I do wonder, though, whether Rebekah was more drawn to Jacob because she remembered so clearly what God had spoken to her in the prophecy before they were born, that the older would serve the younger. Nevertheless, it was not a wise way to bring up kids, and bound to lead to enmity between them. I wonder too, whether Rebekah had told Jacob about that prophecy? He was certainly not satisfied to take the lowly position of younger brother, and came up with a plot to manoeuvre Esau out of his birthright.
How well Jacob knew his brother! Esau was obviously very hungry, but far from the point of genuine starvation – or he would not have been able to call out to shout for food, do a deal for it, and then take off as soon as he had eaten. Jacob knew that Esau valued food more than he valued his birthright. Jacob, on the other hand, craved that birthright, and was prepared to do what it took to take hold of it.
If we have been ‘born again of the Spirit of God’, then we too have a birthright. When we give our lives to Christ, and accept his redeeming blood for us, we are given so very many privileges as the children of our heavenly Father, and one in particular – intimacy with our Father. He cherishes us, and longs for us to enjoy his fellowship and presence. How much do we value it? Is it something we’d crave, move heaven and earth for, trade anything for, or would we rather have dinner first?