Jacob and Esau were duking it out in the womb. Rebekah fussed at God about the fact that her dream pregnancy was becoming a nightmare, and He just shrugged it off – this was millennia long international conflict in her womb.
The sibling rivalry grew and morphed as circumstances changed.
Then there was that time/space encounter when Esau had a deep need and Jacob had the resources to meet that need.
Jacob knew the prophecy that he would rule over his brother. He also knew that his brother had been beyond dominant all these years.
He seized the moment to subordinate his brother through force of need.
God had orchestrated time and space to move him one step closer to the fulfillment of the prophetic word.
Or had He?
My father was fond of pointing out that the serendipitous availability of a berth for Jonah on the ship to Joppa was not necessarily from the hand of God.
David was quick to repel the suggestions of his men in the cave that this was God’s time to kill Saul. They felt time and space were aligned by God for the death of an enemy. David felt time and space were aligned to give him another opportunity to cultivate trust with Saul.
Two different views of the same precise alignment.
What if the episode with Esau and Jacob’s stew was a test from God, not a gift from God? What if God wanted Jacob to reach out in a life giving way to the brother who had been crosswise with him from the git-go?
Most of us would concur that God did not need Rebekah’s help to deliver Isaac’s blessing to Jacob. That one was 100% forced, contrived, manipulated and stolen.
The stew incident involved absolutely no deception. Jacob was blatant and forthright in his overt, intentional, deliberate exploitation of Esau’s moment of need.
I question whether God needed Jacob’s help there either.
All that is purely speculative. That was them. I am a different person in a different world with no such congenital conflict pursuing me!
I am at the opposite extreme from Jacob in my personality. I tend to avoid my enemies, rather than look for a chance to overcome them.
So what if God has arranged time and space for me to be able to show mercy to an opponent?
And what if I very skillfully avoided being in the same space at the same time with someone who has trashed me in the past?
Is there really any difference between Jacob distorting an opportunity to show mercy to an opponent and my escaping/avoiding an opportunity to show mercy to an opponent?
God’s alignment of time and space is not always a fun hug.
Sometimes it is a stunningly painful, strategic event that will color history for millennia.