TOLDOT | WEEK 6
By Hylan Slobodkin
Gen 25:19 – 28:9
Like her mother-in-law Sarah, Rebekah was also barren. Isaac prayed and she conceived, but not like they might have imagined. She became pregnant with twins, but not just ordinary twins. These brothers struggled together in the womb and the Lord said, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples shall be separated from your body. And one people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger.” Probably not what they wanted to hear. For in Jewish tradition, the younger serves the older. What could this mean?
Surprise, surprise. Esau came out first, but Jacob was holding on to his little heel. Esau became a skilled hunter, a man of the field. But Jacob was a peaceful man, the same word used to describe Noah, which we normally translate blameless, honest, complete, whole. Jacob was a quiet man, a simple man, content with where he was at in life. He lived in tents, which was like saying he lived in a house, domestically, as compared to his brother who was at home in the fields and woods.
As a skillful hunter, Esau satisfied his father’s appetite for game. Jacob stayed home and learned how to cook. Isaac loved Esau. Rebekah loved Jacob. One day Esau came in from the field hungry and exhausted, feeling like he was going to die. Nothing seemed more important to him that a bowl of lentil stew. Makes him sound rash, spontaneous and shallow. Esau agrees to sell Jacob his birthright.
In fact, the bowl of stew was more important to Esau than his birthright, which would have given him the leadership role in the family, twice the inheritance of Jacob, and prestige in the community. As the firstborn, Esau would have assumed Isaac’s authority and responsibilities.
But in a moment of desire to satisfy his flesh, Esau traded a lifetime of long-term benefit for a limited, short-term gain.
Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. 1 John 2: 15-17
Esau wanted something now and wasn’t willing to wait for God’s best for him. We often do the same thing.
I’ve needed a job for six months. Where’s God for me now? I’ve wanted a wife, or a husband, for ten years. Where’s God for me now? Why can’t I get pregnant? Where is God for me now?
It’s like we say over and over again, “God is not enough. He’s not enough for me. He’s not really my all-in-all. He really doesn’t know what’s best for me. I don’t think He really has a plan for me.”
But wait a minute. Who is Yeshua? He’s our Messiah, Savior, Deliverer, Healer, Redeemer. He is our ransom. His mercy is enough and His grace is sufficient. His goodness is limitless. His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
He is the Bread of Life, the Light of the world, the Good Shepherd, the Way, the Truth, the Resurrection and the Life. He lays His life down for His sheep. He is the Vine from whom all branches get their fruit. Apart from Him we can do nothing.
Some of us need a thorn in the flesh, a constant reminder of our frailty that keeps us focused on God, so as not to become boastful with our wit, our wisdom or our wealth.
Yeshua is the King of the Ages, the King of the Jews, the King of Kings. He is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. He is the Passover Lamb.
Yeshua is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. He is the Consolation of Israel. He is the Cornerstone. He is the Only Begotten Son and the Heir of All Things. He is Immanuel, God with us.
He is the Lord of All, the Lord of Glory, the Lord of Lords. He is the root and offspring of David, the Bright Morning Star. He is the Word of God. He is Yeshua. He is Salvation.
Yeshua is enough for me right now. Don’t be foolish, like Esau, who impulsively traded his birthright for a bowl of stew. The lesson for us is to trust that God has a plan for our lives that is not one of calamity, but with a future and a hope. Keep an eternal perspective! Though things may not look like they are working out for you now, God knows what’s best for you. Trust Him in all things, and your joy will be made full. Embrace where you are. See God in every situation. Be patient, enduring, longsuffering, and God will never leave you nor forsake you, because He is faithful and true.
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. Philippians 1:6
As followers of Yeshua, we have inherited a birthright, His birthright. Just as He was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
About the Author
Hylan Slobodkin was born into a Jewish family in Los Angeles, CA. His grandparents emigrated from Russia and Romania to Chicago around 1910, escaping the anti-Semitism of eastern Europe. Hylan went to Habonim Camp as a child and had his bar mitzvah when he was 13. He and his wife, Rita, were products of the 60s, experimented with drugs, were initiated into Transcendental Medication in 1967 and joined an ashram to study yoga. On their way to India to find a guru, they met their Messiah at L’Abri Fellowship, the community of Dr. Francis and Edith Schaeffer in Switzerland. Hylan and Rita went on to live a year in Israel, learning Hebrew and working on a kibbutz. Upon returning to the States after traveling for two years, they moved to northern California and joined a Jesus Movement, charismatic church. There Hylan was discipled, licensed and ordained into the ministry. They helped plant a church in Phoenix, AZ for ten years, and then moved to Seattle, WA where they were called to lead Congregation Emmaus, now called Beit Tikvah Messianic Congregation, where they have been for 22 years. Hylan and Rita have three children and eight grandchildren. They give God glory for all things.
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