The Wisdom of Esau
If you're familiar with what the Bible records about Esau, son of Isaac, you might be scratching your head about now, wondering about the lesson title. "The wisdom of Esau--is that a typo, Stephen?"

No, it's not a mistake, but before I explain, let's first consider some things the Bible explicitly reveals about Esau:

So far, the portrayal of Esau is not good. Hebrews 12:14-17 is also worthy of our consideration:

"Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears."

Well Stephen, you're mentioning all the things I know about Esau, but where did he ever show wisdom? Genesis 33 contains the answer. This chapter records the reconciliation between Esau and Jacob, twenty years after the blessing had been stolen.

As Jacob approached Esau, he manifested a great deal of respect. He "bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother. But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept" (Gen. 33:3,4). After some introductions, Esau asked about the many gifts Jacob had sent to him just prior to their meeting. Jacob replied - "'These are to find favor in the sight of my lord.' But Esau said, 'I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself'" (33:8,9).

Do you see the wisdom of Esau now? Esau demonstrated wisdom in several ways in this context:

Admittedly, the wisdom Esau shows here is seemingly overshadowed by his various poor choices, but still it serves as a reminder that there is much we can learn from that which has been written before--even in unlikely characters (cf. Rom. 15:4).