The Grief Behind Esau’s Tears (Genesis 27:38)

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It’s hard for me to write about this particular period in the Bible. 

That’s not because I have a hard time understanding it intellectually, but because I have a hard time discussing it emotionally.

For context, Jacob steals the birthright in Genesis 27:27-30. He then exits stage left, and Esau walks into the room. The Text goes through great pains to show that one event happened immediately after the other.

Esau walks in expecting a blessing from his father. What he gets instead is some of the worst news of his life.

Isaac had just finished blessing his younger brother instead.

Esau’s emotion is palpable: “Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, oh my father!” (Genesis 27:38).

Unfortunately for Esau, there are no more blessings. There was only one, and it’s now Jacob’s.

There is perhaps nothing worse on this earth than regret. The knowledge that you could have had something, but didn’t, is the absolute worst. Especially when it’s your fault.

We can’t change time, but how many times do we wish we could? A cross word here, an angry emotional outburst there, a missed opportunity. Time is a cruel mistress. We live with the mistakes of our past, in some way, for the rest of our lives.

The ultimate regret, of course, is missing out on Heaven. The pain of Esau is matched by the pain of the rich man in Jesus’ parable of Luke 16. He begs for just a drop of water — not even a cup, just a drop — from Lazarus’ hand to his mouth. It’s hard to look more destitute and desperate than that.

We’re all familiar with the pain of regret in some ways, but if you’re reading this, that means that you’re still alive. That means you still have time to make your life right with God and avoid the ultimate regret of missing an eternity with God completely.

Learn from Esau’s tears and make the right decision before it’s too late.