Preached at the Wheatland Mission on July 15, 2017. Text from Genesis 25:19-34.

“Jacob I have loved (but why) and Esau I have hated (really?).

 I am not a boatman. But, I do know, that when you are canoeing or paddling on a river, you want to avoid snags. Submerged tree limbs and sand bars. Am I right?

Reading the Bible is like taking a boat out on a river. As we make our way through the text we often get snagged, not by debris or limbs, but by a theme (such as slavery or violence) or a specific story (think of Jephthah’s daughter or the Levite and his concubine) that is so disturbing, strange, and seemingly un-Christian, that we don’t know how to proceed.

We are thus, snagged. We are stuck in our reading and perhaps in our faith and we don’t know how to proceed. When this happens, we get out of our canoes, wade to the shore, and give up on the river altogether. Getting snagged, for some, means quitting the faith or, at least, moving their faith to the backseat.

One of my snags has been a little verse in Malachi 1:2-3 and later quoted in Romans 9:13: “Jacob I have loved and Esau I have hated.” It just seems so unfair. Esau was tricked, mistreated, and ganged up on by his younger brother and his mother! The “snag-story” of Esau begins with this week’s Old Testament reading: Continue reading “Snagged”