Pause + Pray

Blessings We Receive—and Those We Don’t

sad woman in hallway


One of the most troubling stories in the Old Testament is that of Jacob tricking his father, Isaac, into giving him the blessing meant for his brother Esau (Gen 27). There are plenty of theories and interpretations that attempt to make this story less troubling, but nothing can remove the pain we feel when Esau discovers what his brother has done. Who among us hasn’t cried out: “Hey, that’s mine!”? Esau pleads with his father to give him even a leftover blessing, but Isaac has nothing to give, except this: Your life will be hard, but when you win your freedom, you will shake off this yoke (Gen 27:39–40). It is pretty clear that this wasn’t the blessing Esau was hoping for—but perhaps it was the one that that was meant for him; the one that God prepared for him, from before he was born.


Dear God,
I come to you in need of a blessing.
You know my struggles, and you know my needs even better than I know myself.
And you know the yoke that weighs upon my shoulders and around my neck.
I ask you, Lord, to give me the faith to receive the blessing you have prepared for me,
and the courage to become the blessing I was made to be.


Reread the story of Isaac and Esau and the stolen blessing. How do Isaac’s words to Esau speak to you? Do they sound like a blessing or a curse? And what is the freedom Esau needs to win? The yoke he needs to shake off? Is it pride, envy, or something else entirely? In what ways are you looking for a blessing? Perhaps there is something in your life that seems unfair, something that has been stolen from you. Ask God to take away any bitterness you might feel and to set you free from the yoke of that memory.

Herman Sutter

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