Genesis 25:27 – And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.
Genesis 25:28 – And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.
Hello readers, new blog today. I’ve been thinking of late about the story of Esau and Jacob. I’ve particularly been thinking about Esau’s venison. Venison was pretty important in this family, Esau was good at getting it. He was a hunter, and clearly a pretty good one.
I was thinking of how many parents have the kind of relationship to their children just like Isaac did to Esau. They had an interesting relationship that’s for sure. Reading it kind of reminds me of parents with their kids who are good at sport or whatever, and their relationship to their child is based on that. Many dads for instance have a relationship to their sons based on sport, like football. They might barrack for the same team, and that’s what draws them together. And they share in the same spoils of victory and that’s what unites them.
Well to put it in our terminology today, Esau was good sportsman. After all, hunting is a sport to man. He was a good player, he was a good gamer. And daddy Isaac was proud of him. And Isaac benefited from his hunting ability, because he got to share in the spoils… venison. Pretty good deal. Imagine loving someone because what they bring you. Esau had figured out the way to his dad’s heart. Bring him some venison and he’ll bless me!
Deer meat seemed pretty central to their relationship. Imagine venison being what holds your relationship to your children or to friends together. That’s the tie that binds you. Pretty weak tie… although delicious no doubt! So many parents have a similarly shallow and superficial relationship with their kids. They don’t have a relationship based on God’s word… it’s based on carnal things such as common interests or worldly pursuits. So many of us actually have relationships that have no depth at all. And they’re relationships that are ultimately worth nothing. Isaac and Esau’s relationship was worth nothing. Esau hated his dad.
But I think to my own life, and even at where I work I talk about certain things with certain people and that’s that. Our relationship may be based on a common interest, and that’s fine, but you see here a father and a son… shouldn’t a father and son aspire to more? Abraham had taken Isaac to worship God, and here’s Isaac with his kid… worshipping venison more than God.
If you read on, you’ll notice a tragic end to this. And for all of daddy being proud of his son, you know in the end, Esau hated his parents. It’s so sad to see parents that pander to their children… only for their children to turn on them in the end. Esau went out to deliberately make his parents hurt by who he married. He married to spite his dad and mum. Who he married would be crucial, if you think about God’s promise to his grandpa… in thy seed shall all nations be blessed.
You know, the only mention of the word “venison” in the Bible comes in relation to Isaac and his son Esau. Eight times the word is mentioned in this account, venison was what linked this father and son together. How incredibly shallow this relationship was. On one hand they’re best buddies, but really their relationship is worthless. A lot of your relationships in life are a lot thinner than you think. See how quickly you drop friends when you obey and follow Jesus Christ.
It just struck me reading it, venison, venison, venison. This story has a whole lot of venison in it. Don’t you want to have more than a “venison” relationship with people. But it was a great relationship, as they would both would benefit from this common interest and common pursuit. Isaac loved him because of the venison he got out of the relationship. But what kind of love is that?
But on the other hand, Esau gained favour from his father with venison too. He nearly got the blessing based on venison. Turns out good hunters doesn’t necessarily mean God’s blessing. You can be a cunning hunter in life… but that doesn’t mean you’re saved or right with God. This father and son had a bad relationship both ways. Their relationship wasn’t based on something real, it didn’t have the foundation of the Lord Jesus Christ. When you have a friendship based on Jesus Christ, you’ve got a real one. And you think Esau was an idiot? No. He found out that to please his dad, bring him a little venison and you can get anything OKed. Winner!
Isaac got older, and he was going to try to bestow God’s blessing on Esau. He wanted to pass on father Abraham’s blessing to Esau of all people. He didn’t see the son he had for who he was. How often parents are blinded by their own children. Look through the Bible, when it comes to their own children, many a godly man failed. So many parents are blind to their own children’s spiritual condition and who and what the monster they’ve helped create really is. Trying to dish out a blessing on them as well!
But God’s blessing cannot be bestowed on this kind of person and this kind of relationship. People want God to bless their garbage… but he isn’t doing that. Isaac wanted God’s blessing on Esau. But Esau wasn’t a godly man. He was a man of the field. He had his interests and pursuits in life, and God wasn’t part of his plans. People don’t mind some aspects of Christianity, there are some parts they want, but they don’t want the repentance or see a need for forgiveness or require deliverance from sin, oh no.
Isaac had helped Esau become the man he became. Because Esau had learnt what was important was hunting and the venison… not seeking God. What are you hunting anyway in your life? Many people are hunters… they’re hunting wealth, fame, pleasure… and that’s their life, they’re on the hunt again. That’s all their life is about. Themselves and them getting ahead and getting what they want. And wanting God to not just go along with it, but bless it.
I was thinking of the question “how do you measure success in life”? What is success? Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. Meanwhile Esau is a cunning hunter and a man of the field. Looked like one boy was more successful than the other. It’s incredible when you read through Genesis and consider this… the two boys shared the same womb. Yet they were two completely different people, and as they grew and life happened, just how different would manifest. Jacob would be on the run, get deceived, the limp, the fear and the battle scars and everything… Esau seemed to be far more successful.
And Esau was a successful man, he did pretty well in life. But you can be successful in this world, but be utterly bankrupt spiritually and before God. And God’s economy is the only economy that ultimately matters. Mark 8:36 – ” For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Esau was hunting the things that didn’t matter. There was nothing wrong with venison in and of itself, but in this situation, there was plenty wrong with it. There may be things in your life that aren’t wrong in and of themselves, but they’re causing you to stumble, they’re getting between you and God. And those things are not worth it.
But Esau had learnt that venison mattered from his dad, that’s why parents have to be careful what they’re teaching their kids. You may not think you’re teaching your kids, but your example of compromise, and teaching them that some things in life are more important than God… that’ll rub off. What are you passing on? Abraham passed God’s promises and a faithful life on to his son, but Isaac’s passing on man I’m so proud of my cunning hunter son! You’re the best hunter! You’re my favorite!
People want to be successful and prosper, and that’s modern day Christianity for you today. People are full of lust, they lust to be beautiful, or great, or successful or whatever. This world runs on lust. Churches have learned that if you cater to people’s lusts, you’ll get people through the doors. But success in God’s eyes is very different to success in man’s eyes. You can be successful in your pursuits in life, but die lost and go to hell. You can live a whole life and see it all burn up before you at judgment. What a waste!
Esau wasn’t just a hunter, he was a cunning hunter. That’s an interesting word, it carries with it the idea of being smart, crafty, skillful, knowing, experienced. He was good at what he did, he knew how to hunt. So often we get really good at things that don’t matter. We devote our time, attention… soul to it. Venison meant more to him than God. Seemed to mean a bit more to Isaac as well. That’s why they had a relationship based on “venison” not on God.
Venison was their connection, not the word of God, not God’s promises. You can miss the point in life and just have shallow relationships. If Jesus Christ and truth is the foundation we all need, then not having that foundation in your interactions and communications and relationships means they don’t have a foundation. Don’t teach your kids other things matter more than God. And you know what all of this resulted in? Isaac bred a son that didn’t honour him, and really didn’t love him. Esau wanted to be blessed… not to be a blessing.
You think you can bring a bit of venison and get God’s blessing. Turns out you can’t. Daddy was at fault as well, because he’s wanting God’s blessing on a son who doesn’t care for God or righteousness or truth or anything at all. How fooled he is about Esau. Why would you want and expect God to bless disobedience and rebellion? You’re not in a position to be blessed of God when you’re unrepentant and in sin. How stupid can a parent be in today’s society when his son’s a sodomite and blesses him! Won’t say a bad thing about it or him. Oh no, they’re more understanding and compassionate and loving than God. We want people to be part of God’s blessings and promises and heaven who don’t belong there. If you’re not right with God, you’re not right. If you’re not saved, you’re not saved. We need to stop kidding ourselves and others about what God’s blessing… he’s not blessing your lies and deceit and rebellion and sin.
See, we often look at this story the wrong way. We think poor Esau… cheated by his brother. We excuse Esau… but Esau was a man of the field, not of God. Isaac loved his boy because he was a good hunter, but he’d forgotten, the promises were to faith… not because you’re good at shooting some deer. Did being a good hunter, a good sportsman, good at this and that really matter? Nup. So often we prioritize and pursue things that have zero eternal value. And just because he’s a good hunter doesn’t make up for the things that are wrong with him. Being a good hunter doesn’t subsidize the fact that this boy is doing wrong in life. So often we overlook sin because someone’s got a special ability or does something good.
So many parents have relationships with their children like Isaac and Esau. Not just parents and children, but you and your friends. To prove it, see if you can talk, or see if you’ve ever talked with your “best friends” about the gospel. Have you ever told them they’re sinners according to the word of God, and they’re going to hell if they don’t repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? Nah, you’ve got your superficial venison relationship. And you are benefiting out of them like they are out of you. You’re using them as a friend to meet your needs for having a friend. That’s not what a true friendship is.
Isaac had been passed faith in God’s word, and what’s he passed on to his son? Pass me the venison. He’d gotten old and stale, he’d become about the venison, the way he saw things and valued things had degenerated. It’s amazing how things can slip, or how we can drop the ball in a certain area of life. Because Isaac was a godly man, a man of faith, but in this matter, it’s like a blind spot, it’s an area where you just think what is going on here. He’s digging his dad’s wells, but completely missing the mark with Esau.
And he got a son who rejected God for it. Meanwhile there’s a son who’s not as favorable, just a plain old boy, Jacob… that boy is about something different in life. The field doesn’t have as much of a lure to him as Esau. He’s seeking more in life. Isaac loved Esau, but it was Jacob that honored him and obeyed him. Yes… Jacob did trick him, but the penny was dropping for Isaac on the son he’d raised and who’d be blessed and who wouldn’t. He said to Esau regarding Jacob “Yea and he shall be blessed”.
Esau was actually a very successful man in life, God blessed him quite a bit. Heaps of people do well in life today who benefit from God’s goodness and grace who have zero care for God’s word. For all of Esau’s hunting in life… he had no mind or heart or soul for God and his word. Is that you today? You’re a cunning hunter in life, you’re pretty smart, you’re knowledgeable, you know what you want, you get what you want… you’re on life’s trail. But you don’t know God, there’s been no revelation of God to you, and furthermore, you don’t even care for God or any of it. A lot of people are on a journey in life, but their journey doesn’t include God. God’s promises meant nothing to Esau, and think about it… if he didn’t honour his parents, how could he honour God?
Venison is meat, it’s flesh. Esau was about fleshly needs and desires. Many people have no spiritual mind, all they have is a carnal belly with an enormous appetite for this world, that wants to be fed. They’re fleshly minded, not godly minded.
I was actually thinking too that Esau’s like the child that squabbles for the house after the parents die. He wants to get what’s in the will for him. That’s all God was to him. There’s nothing uglier than siblings fighting over what’s left and trying to get what’s theirs, and try to get the bigger and better portion and look out for their own needs and wants. That happens in many, many families today.
Esau wasn’t a poor me case… he was spoilt, he was ungodly, he was full of lust and pride. He had too much in fact, so much he didn’t have any room for the most High. Why do you think God hated him? Did God just choose to hate him because God wants to hate people and creates them to hate? No. God didn’t make Esau suffer in life, he was doing quite well… just there was no relationship and fellowship between them. Because Esau wasn’t interested.
The Bible says he despised his birthright and went his way. People go their way in life, they flip off the gospel, the Bible, everything. God extends his word, his mercy, his grace, his Son to them… and they flip him off. That’s why God will hate you too. You trample the blood of his Son, you count it good for nothing… don’t think you’ll get away with that.
Esau despised his birthright… how? He had his birthright and thus an undeserved but indescribable privilege to carry on the family name and serve his father’s God and obtain his promises… and he sold that birthright for a bowl of food. That’s like you being offered forgiveness and salvation and being like nah, I enjoy my one night stands a bit more. Stuff eternity, stuff God’s… I want my bit of fun and to please my lust.
So hopefully today, you recognize the venison. Venison was a big stumbling block in this family. Just because you get on with your kids because you compromise with them… doesn’t mean they’ll love you. Isaac might’ve thought Esau would’ve honoured him… but Esau sought out how best to spite his parents. He blamed his parents, when he was to blame. See, Esau was a blamer… just like many people in our society today. Blame, blame, blame. Never accepting responsibility and owning your own sin. It’s always easier and more convenient to blame than to repent.
Learn from Isaac and Esau today. Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field. Is that you today? You have shallow relationships and no foundation in life. You don’t care for God’s word, the gospel, truth… no that’s not relevant to your interests and pursuits in life. Isaac loved Esau… but what kind of a love was it? Praise God and pass the venison Esau! Often our Christianity is really that veneer. Who are we kidding? Just ourselves. It was because he loved the meat his son got him, and he was proud of his boy’s hunting abilities. That’s so shallow and superficial and stupid. What a stumbling block the venison was, was the venison really worth it? Is your path in life going to be worth it? Without Christ it’s not going to be. Esau went life without Christ… and it was not worth it. And it turned out, just like it will for you, that the Lord Jesus Christ is more important than your good hunting and your well cooked venison.
Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 30 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – kjvbibletruth.com/about :)