One was born with a chip on his shoulder; the other was born with a promise to fulfill. The story of Jacob and Esau is a classic example of sibling rivalry complicated by parental favoritism. The brothers’ conflict began before they were born as they struggled in their mother’s womb, and it continued for much of their lives. However, this conflict degenerated into open aggression and hostility between them, to the point where one vowed he would kill the other. How did things escalate to this point? It all came down to a choice.

Before Jacob and Esau were born, God told their mother, Rebekah, the older brother would serve his younger sibling. Jacob and Rebekah complicated matters by attempting to prematurely force God’s hand. First Jacob cheated his brother out of his birthright. Then Rebekah devised a plan whereby Jacob could deceive his father into receiving the blessing God had promised him. This caused division in the family, and the two brothers never enjoyed the same relationship again.

Even though God had chosen Jacob to receive the blessings, Jacob and Rebekah were not justified for manipulating the situation to their advantage. It is never right to do wrong to do right. Failure to follow God’s will in His way always causes pain and unnecessary complications for us. We should learn to trust God to keep His Word faithfully, even if He does not work as we think He should or within our timetable.

It all comes down to a choice: will you trust God to keep His promises, or will you attempt to arrange the desired outcome on your own? Will you use underhanded means to protect your job, or do you believe God will preserve you there until He has something better for you? Will you compromise your sexual purity, or will you wait for God to provide the right husband or wife? In every situation, we must choose between trusting God and attempting to force His hand. Which will you choose today?

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.