Please click link to read Genesis 27:1-40
In a nutshell, Genesis 27 explores deceit between two brothers regarding an unrecoverable misplaced blessing. Esau and Jacob were twins, but Esau was the oldest. With the help of his mother (Rebekah), Jacob tricked his father (Isaac) into receiving the blessing. Once the blessing was placed on Jacob, Esau cried out to his father begging for another blessing. However, there was only one blessing and it was irrevocable. This caused Esau to become angry and resent his brother for a moment.
We always hear the phrases “Forgiveness is not for the other person, it’s for you!” or “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison expecting the other person to die.” While these expressions are great, Isaac offers a robust revelation when he says, “…and you shall serve your brother; but when you break loose, you shall break his yoke from your neck”, Genesis 27:40.
The word yoke is seen 59 times in the bible. The Harper Collins Dictionary defines it as a wooden or iron frame for joining two oxen or other draft animals so they can pull a plow, cart, or other heavy loads. A yoke generally consisted of a single crossbar with leather or rope nooses or wooden rods that were fastened around the animals’ necks. The crossbar was attached to a shaft that pulled the load. The image of a yoke was used figuratively as a symbol of hardship, submission, or servitude.
Therefore, how is it possible for Esau to the break loose if Isaac said he couldn’t reverse the blessing?? It’s possible because the latter part of Jacob’s blessing stated, “curses will fall on those that curse you and blessing will fall on those that bless you.”
It was clear the blessing could not be reversed; but Isaac provided an escape or a condition to ease the pain of Esau’s loss. I suppose Isaac had authority to enable the "conditions" because he was the one who established the initial blessing. I am suggesting that Jacob was blessed with materials, but Esau’s blessing was forgiveness for his brother. The forgiveness was the only thing that would set him free from his despair because if he spewed curses on his brother, he would receive that as well.
Maybe you're harboring unforgiveness towards a family member? Maybe you’re experiencing a breakup? Or maybe you lost your job? Whatever it is, I think there’s something to be learned in this narrative.
From Fratricide to Forgiveness: The Language of Ethics of Anger in Genesis compared the fractured relationship and strife between brothers in the Biblical text. The book provides an interesting parallel between Cain's anger against Esau’s anger. Yet, Esau did not submit to his negative emotions; he chose to forgive instead...
I think the following can be implemented in our daily lives when we approach the anger threshold:
1. Pause. Walk away from a situation when you’re angry because the kettle will whistle when it remains on the fire.
2. Talk. Either to a therapist, good friend, or parent. Most importantly talk to God. Ask for wisdom during this time.
3. Forgive. Remember, you are not a slave to that situation. You do not have to let it rule over you. The power of forgiveness will set you free.
As stated earlier, forgiveness is ultimately for you, so it's not imperative to see the offender immediately after forgiving them. Besides, there was a 20-year lapse between Esau and Jacob’s next encounter. Yet, Esau ran to meet his brother with an open embrace because he walked away from the situation, took the advice of his father, and broke loose from unforgiveness. By the time Jacob and Esau reunited, Jacob brought gifts as repentance or “reparations”. However, Esau said he had enough of his own stuff. Keep in mind, it took time because he went from wanting to plan his brother’s funeral to welcoming him. Take the time to heal from your anger because the yoke is heavy and it’s time to let it down.
Until Next Time...
Peace & Blessings, XOXO