Do Opposites Really Attract?

Consider cats and dogs, two very different species. Can they be friends or are they destined to always be at odds with one another?

Our cat, Tink, despised our dog, Meghan, when they were first introduced many years ago. Today, however, Tink loves to snuggle with Meghan as often as Meghan allows.

But Tink and our other cat, Gunny, still despise each other after living in the same household for roughly ten years. 


There’s a larger age difference between the two cats than there is between Tink and Meghan. Plus, Gunny’s personality differs from Tink’s.

Gunny is a cat that needs lots of mental and physical stimulation, a true huntress. Tink, however, stays in the same spot most of the day. Until she deems it is time for food, that is. Then she finds whatever human is nearest to her proximity to pester until fed.

Meghan’s personality is best described as accommodating to whatever the activity may be. If resting, she’ll gladly rest. If heading outside, she’ll gladly go along. Oh, and food time is a significantly joyous event. Essentially, Meghan gets along well with every member of our household.

What does this illustration of animals and opposites attracting have to do with Genesis 25:28?

Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. (Gen 25:28 ESV)

There are four people mentioned in Gen 25:28.

Isaac and Rebekah are the parents of Esau and Jacob. (See Gen 25:21)

Esau and Jacob were twin brothers who differed from one another.

Consider The Lord’s response to Rebekah when she inquired why the babies were jostling each other during her pregnancy:

And the LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.” (Gen 25:23 ESV)  

What strikes you with the Lord’s response?

Then, at the time of birth, we learn:

The first came out red, all his body like a hairy cloak, so they called his name Esau. 26 Afterward his brother came out with his hand holding Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them. (Gen 25:25-26 ESV)

Does this birth description align with God’s response to Rebekah in Gen 25:23? Why or why not?

We are told the following about the twin’s activity preferences:

When the boys grew up, Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents. (Gen 25:27 ESV)

Make a list of Esau’s traits.

Make a list of Jacob’s traits.

Now think about what we know about Isaac, their father.

Is Isaac active or quiet in Genesis 22:3 and Genesis 22:6?

Compare Genesis 22:5 with Genesis 22:7. What does waiting until he is alone with Abraham before asking questions reveal about Isaac’s personality?

Looking at Genesis 22:9, describe Isaac’s activity.

What action is Isaac doing in Genesis 24:63?

Abraham sent a servant to find a wife for Isaac (Gen 24:4). Scripture never mentions whether Abraham consulted or informed Isaac of this plan. Rather, Abraham’s servant is the one who informs Isaac when he is returning with Rebekah.

How does Isaac respond in Genesis 24:67 upon receiving this information from Abraham’s servant?

With this review of what we know about Isaac at this point in scripture, how would you describe his personality and preferences in how to live?

Would you say Isaac is more like his son, Esau, or Jacob? Why?

Review our verse for today again:

Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. (Gen 25:28 ESV)

What is the reason mentioned for Isaac’s love of Esau?

Unlike Isaac, his son Esau is a hunter who brings back tasty food.

Like Isaac, Jacob is a quiet man who preferred to stay in the tents rather than hunt with his brother Esau.

Yet Gen 25:28 says Isaac loved Esau. Is this a sign that opposites attract? Why or why not?

Did you notice there is no reason given in Genesis 25:28 for why Rebekah loved Jacob?

Review what Rebekah was told by the Lord about Jacob and Esau before they were born.

And the LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.” (Gen 25:23 ESV)  

Also, in Genesis 25:22, when Rebekah inquired with the Lord about her difficulties during pregnancy, there is no mention of Isaac being informed.

Do you think Rebekah would have hidden from Isaac her pregnancy struggle and the answer from the Lord? Why or why not? Keep in mind scripture does not say.

If Isaac knew the Lord’s answer to Rebekah that the younger son, Jacob, would eventually rule the older son, Esau, how does that impact the meaning of Genesis 25:28?

Why would Isaac, a predominantly quiet, reserved personality, love Esau, a son who differed from himself, over Jacob? 

Could Genesis 25:28 be a warning that Isaac is focusing more on his creaturely comforts than on God’s designs for the family line? Why or why not?

Personal Application

Describe your personality and activity interests.

Make a list of those in your life with whom you have the most in common. 

Now make a list of those in your life with whom you have the least in common.  

Who do you favor, those you have the most in common or least in common with? Why?

Have you ever unintentionally hurt someone’s feelings because you favored someone else? If so, describe how you made amends if you were able.

Has someone ever hurt your feelings because they favored someone else over you? Describe how you handled the situation.

Is there any creaturely comfort that you are more preoccupied with than the people in your life? Why or why not?

How does the state of your relationship with God impact how you love others?

Do you regularly spend time alone with God to reflect on when you feel the deepest sense of connection with Him, others, and yourself?

What actions can you take today or in the week to come to show your love for those you favor least? Why is this important to do?

In the words of Paul, an apostle of Christ:

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Phi 1:9 ESV)

Share in the comments how this post inspired or challenged you.


Barbara Lynn


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