This passage is about Jacob’s success over his brother Esau. We learn that Jacob the younger brother emerges from the womb gripping his brother’s heel. The boys grew to be very different men, not only did they look different, but they acted differently as well. They represented two very different lifestyles which were in conflict. Esau was a skillful hunter; Jacob was a shepherd. Esau’s livelihood was based on the wilderness inhabited with game, while Jacob’s livelihood required pastureland for his flocks. It is a possibility that the pastureland had started to encroach on hunting lands limiting the game that was available.
Jacob was cooking and Esau wanted some of the stew; Esau was on the point of starvation. Jacob asked Esau to sell him his birthright, which was Esau’s inheritance as first-born son. Esau agrees to sell Jacob his birthright in exchange for a meal.
The story is not just about the two brothers who are very different, it is about the struggle that happens when the needs and desires of two dissimilar lifestyles come into conflict. Remember each of these boys became the head of two different nations. How many times have we seen this in our world today, the conflict between different nations.
Psalm 119: 105-112
This is a beautiful Psalm that professes a deep faith in the Lord and the righteousness of God’s law. The Psalm emphasizes the importance of God’s word in living a faithful life. God is not something to be heard or to read, but to apply the message to our hearts and our souls.
Paul discuss the flesh and the spirit repeatedly in this passage. When we set our minds, of things of flesh ( our own destructive desires); We are not living in the Spirit our bodies are “dead because of sin” . Our spirits are still alive because of Christ’s Spirit, which dwells within us as righteousness. When we set our minds on the “Spirit it brings life and peace.” God dwells in us so that we can live with the spirit, we are called to live with a Spirit of hope. God is working through us, so that we can help create a better world for all those who inhabit it.
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
Jesus used parables to teach; when we take a deeper look at the parables of the sower. We are offered four ways of hearing the “Word of the Kingdom” – as a path, to God’s Kingdom. The four ways are about soil, much like our souls. The first the farmer scattered the seeds in a wide arc, some fell on the path to be eaten by birds. Think of it as when someone hears the word of the Kingdom but does not understand it, basically the evil one comes and snatches it out of their hearts.
The second, some of the seeds fall on rocky ground; when the plant springs up there is not sufficient depth of soil to put down roots; think of individuals who quickly and eagerly initially responds to the Gospel. But soon falls away when life creates obstacles for them. Then there are the seeds that fall into thorns and weeds which choke the plant growth out. These seeds are like those who hear the word, but outside concerns and desires for riches soon lure them away.
Finally those seeds that fall in good soil and bring forth an abundant harvest is like hearing and understanding the good news of the Kingdom as proclaimed by Jesus; helps us to live bountiful lives of discipleship.
How may of us have been in all four of these places at various times in our life. We get so wrapped up in where, we want to go, and what we want, we neglect to notice what God has put right in front of us.
To grow in faith we require practice; sometimes we find ourselves in the good soil and sometimes we find difficulty and questions, the key, is to keep practicing. God is always with us and will be there to help us try again.