In some cultures, the male firstborn or older male sibling is often favoured upon and given better privileges and blessings. This is because the male firstborn was thought to be the leader and heir to the throne or family estate. We see many examples around us where the male firstborn is given special treatment and education, with the expectation that he would eventually take over from his father as patriach, leader of the tribe, or even king.
However, when it comes to God, the firstborn is not necessarily His choice to lead His people. One example of this could be found in today's reading, where Jacob, using wile and conniving ways, managed to trick his father into getting the inheritance and special blessing supposingly reserved for the firstborn. It certainly doesn’t seem fair that Jacob would get away with such trickery
but he does, although the blessing certainly included a lot of
suffering: He had to flee Esau who was bitter and vengeful, as a consequence of what he had done; He got married and ended
up with a father-in-law who was just as bad or even worse a trickster than he was; He had to
eventually face Esau. Yet, God works in mysterious ways, and even helped Jacob. Esau was
the firstborn but he seemed to have no concern for spiritual matters, whereas Jacob was sneaky and a cheat, but God knew that he
had within him what it took to be the leader of his people. The
culture of the time said that Esau was the chosen one, but God chose Jacob instead.
This does not mean that God is encouraging any of us to become wile, crafty or tricky to achieve our ends, since His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts, and what He had allowed to take place is eventually for His purposes and His glory. May we surrender ourselves to God' plan, and let Him use our talents and abilities for His greater glory.