One day, returning famished from a hunting trip, Esau sniffs out his brother’s famous lentil stew and demands a bowlful. Jacob agrees to his request . . . in exchange for the elder’s birthright. Swearing an oath, Esau accepts these terms—really, who does their best thinking on an empty stomach?—and...
O God who saw in Jacob the hope of Israel, teach us to imagine as you do. Amen.
Even great people in the faith have moments of imperfection. Not all biblical stories are biblical examples. Jacob should feed his brother out of concern, but he takes advantage of the situation and robs Esau of his birthright. The psalmist asks the Lord to show him how to live. God’s word is a lamp to his feet and a light to his path. Paul in Romans contrasts the life of the flesh and the life in the Spirit. Without the power of God, we are doomed to repeat our mistakes in the flesh; but the Spirit sets us free. Jesus reminds us in Matthew that the effectiveness of the gospel is not based on our efforts. We sow the seed, but we cannot control whether it takes root.
Read Genesis 25:19-34. How do you experience God’s “nevertheless”—God’s grace—as you work through the baggage of your birthright?
Read Psalm 119:105-112. What offering of praise do you feel led to bring? What can you learn today from God’s precepts?
Read Romans 8:1-11. In learning what spiritual practices strengthen you, what practices did you try that did not work? Now that you know what works, how might working on practices you once found unhelpful grow your faith?
Read Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23. In what unexpected place might you sow seeds of God’s love?
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