Monday, March 01, 2010

HAIRY AND HEEL-BOY

And he shall be called, "שיניים גדולות." (That's "Big Teeth" for my non-Hebrew speaking friends.) Can you imagine if we named our children according to what they looked like at birth? Did you ever give much thought to the names of your someday-children – you know, when you were still a kid yourself? One of my daughters has had the number of children, their genders and their names mapped out since she was nine years-old. When I asked if perhaps she should find a husband first, she assured me that her someday-husband would be informed of the children's names before they were married. “He can name any extras,” she added. I smiled and nodded. What could I say? She inherited the baby-naming gene from her father. He heard “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” read aloud as a youth and fell madly in love with the name, Katrina Van Tassel – then and there deciding his firstborn daughter's name would be Katrina. I suppose I should be thankful he didn't want to make her middle name “Van Tassel.” Hmmmm. I'm extremely thankful we didn't have a boy named Ichabod. When our second daughter came along, we used a much more scientific method of naming. I stomped my foot and insisted that it was my turn to name her since my husband named the first one. He agreed much too quickly, leaving me full of bluster and empty-headed. I'd always liked the name “Emily” and didn't know anyone by that name, so we went with it. So which is better/worse? Intentional planning or seat-of-the-pants gestures? Read on, and answer after you read about Isaac's and Rebekah's twin boys.

Gen. 25:24-26 – “When the time came for [Rebekah] 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.”
  • You'd think by age sixty, Isaac would have learned to call on God when so much of this culture's character was built on their names; but God's involvement is not mentioned. Esau means, “hairy.” Jacob means, “he grasps the heel;” figuratively, “he deceives.” Can you hear Rebekah calling the boys for lunch? “Come on, Hairy and Heel-Boy, your lentil stew is getting cold!” Maybe more accurately: “Hairy and my little liar, get in here!” A single decision can affect entire lifetimes – ours and others. The words we choose can build and/or destroy character. Why not stop and consult the Creator before our words create lasting regret?
Gen. 25:27-28 – “The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was a quiet man, staying among the tents. Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.”
  • Do you think Isaac and Rebekah sat down one night, when the twins were infants, and said, “Okay, you love this one, and I'll love that one?” Isaac's love for Esau grew out of his own selfish appetite, and don't you imagine Rebekah's love for Jacob grew from their extended time together in camp? Life happened to this family. Love grew wild, haphazardly – unattended. When life happens unintentionally, sin enters proportionately. I've heard it said, “We can't choose who we love.” Perhaps. But we can make smart choices about how we spend our time, and we can be intentional about showing love to those the Lord has placed in our lives.
Gen. 25:29-34 – “Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. He said to Jacob, 'Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I'm famished!' (That is why he was also called Edom.) Jacob replied, 'First sell me your birthright.' 'Look, I am about to die,' Esau said. 'What good is the birthright to me?' But Jacob said, 'Swear to me first.' So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright.” (emphasis added)
  • Though it's difficult for our Western culture to fully understand the ancient Middle-Eastern concept of birthright, here are a few of the perks Esau conceded to his brother for a bowl of lentil stew:
  1. A unique “firstborn” standing before God
  2. Second only to his parents in honor among those in camp
  3. A double portion of their father's inheritance
  4. Governing the family upon his father's death
  5. Serving as the priest or God-representative of the family (http://studylight.org/com/acc/view.cgi?book=ge&chapter=25&verse=34#Ge25_34)
  • Jacob hit the jackpot for his bean-soup recipe! Of the four characters in today's devotional, Jacob seems to be the only one showing some intentionality – misguided though it may be. But wait – who taught Jacob the importance of the birthright? Perhaps Ima Rebekah wasn't as “unintentional” as I accused her of being. Hmmm. Did Esau's nonchalant attitude come from Isaac's lack of spiritual emphasis/training, or was it because of an innate character flaw? Esau's underlying reason for the choice is uncertain, but his attitude is clearly stated. Esau DESPISED, DISDAINED, REGARDED WITH CONTEMPT something God considered holy, and his decision would echo through generations and nations.
Lord, open my eyes to see those things in my life, in my world – in me – that are precious in Your sight. Teach me NOT to despise what You count as holy but to treasure it, intentionally tend it and carefully guard it. Help me pause before a decision, enabling me to see the scope and breadth of its reaches.

2 comments:

Mommycaredoula said...

Thank you for the reminder to consider the width and breadth of decisions we make. Too often I only think of what's going on in the immediate!

Mesu Andrews said...

It's so hard to get my eyes off that GREAT BIG immediate! Why is that - when the future and eternity stretches so vast and wide ahead of me? Isn't perception a crazy thing?