Jacob & Esau

Genesis 25:19-34

19This is the genealogy of Isaac, Abraham's son. Abraham begot Isaac. 20Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah as wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padan Aram, the sister of Laban the Syrian. 21Now Isaac pleaded with the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord granted his plea, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22But the children struggled together within her; and she said, "If all is well, why am I like this?" So she went to inquire of the Lord. 23And the Lord said to her:

"Two nations are in your womb,

Two peoples shall be separated from your body;

One people shall be stronger than the other,

And the older shall serve the younger."

24So when her days were fulfilled for her to give birth, indeed there were twins in her womb. 25And the first came out red. He was like a hairy garment all over; so they called his name Esau. 26Afterward his brother came out, and his hand took hold of Esau's heel; so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.

27So the boys grew. And Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field; but Jacob was a mild man, dwelling in tents. 28And Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.

29Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and he was weary. 30And Esau said to Jacob, "Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary." Therefore his name was called Edom. 31But Jacob said, "Sell me your birthright as of this day." 32And Esau said, "Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?" 33Then Jacob said, "Swear to me as of this day." So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

I thought of several subtitles for this message. How to ruin a happy home. Or the definition of a dysfunctional home. The family we are looking at today was much different than the one we left last Sunday with Isaac and Rebekah happily married. They have now been blessed with two little bundles of joy. But what will become of them?

These two boy were as different as night and day. They had totally different sets of values and likes and dislikes. Most children are not alike, God likes to give us variety. But this family could have turned out much better if only mom and day would have had a few courses on rasing children.

But of course Isaac and Rebekah were also as different as night and day. This is the way it is in marriage. God has a sense of humor. We become interested in someone who is not like us but is often opposite of us. It is the difference that sparks our interest. If they were like us we would think they were boring. And we all know that marriage is certainly not boring. That is especially when it is Married With Children.

This story has many lessons for us as we live in marriage relationships and raise our children. If you can learn from another's mistakes then take notice.

  1. The tragedy of childlessness 25:19-21
    1. The child of promise who would not be born.
      1. Once again there is the struggle to have an heir.
      2. All these blessed promises are of no good unless there is someone to receive them.
    2. The sorrow of Rebekah
      1. Rebekah and Isaac have tried to 20 years but still no children.
      2. She is frustrated and by the text had caused her husband to go to the LORD in prayer on behalf of her.
    3. The prayer and the answer.
      1. The seed of the promise was to be prayed for from the Lord, that it might not be regarded merely as a fruit of nature, but be received and recognised as a gift of grace. At the same time Isaac was to be exercised in the patience of faith in the promise of God. (from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)
      2. Isaac did not need to wait as late in life as did Abraham.
      3. Nor did he and Rebekah resort to the schemes of Abraham and Sarah to get a child.
      4. But God does this all in such a way that there will be no doubt that the answer is an answer to prayer.
  2. Twins are not always identical 25:22-28
    1. These would become two distinct nations.
      1. Esau would be the father of the Edomites.
      2. They would struggle with Israel until the days of David when they were made servants.
      3. Later on they would rebel and gain their freedom.
      4. Still later on they would be forced from their homeland and a few hundred years before Jesus they would be assimilated into the Jewish race.
    2. They were different
      1. Esau was red and hairy, a hunter and an outdoors man, who often gave his father the wild game he brought home.
      2. Jacob was a peaceful man, who liked to stay at home in his tents.
      3. Each parent had their favorite child and they children no doubt played this against their parents and the other child.
    3. Favorites divide the family.
      1. Isaac & Esau
        1. Isaac was a meek man not forceful in his relationships.
          1. Now that is a good Christian characteristic.
          2. But even Christians will not be passive in raising their children.
          3. The husband is to take the leading role in the life of the family.
          4. What Isaac did not take charge of in the home Rebekah did and became person who often worked behind the scene and often to the detriment of the family.
        2. This is seen in the wells of chapter 26:17-22
        3. Each time he dug a well it was taken from him and he offered no resistence nor did he complain to the chieftains.
        4. Esau was the opposite of Isaac, a man of the field, a mighty hunter.
          1. Now there was nothing wrong with either child or their make up.
          2. The problem arose when the parents failed to appreciate each child as an individual.
          3. God did not make your children the same, don't expect them to be.
        5. This is what Isaac saw in him that bonded them together.
        6. It is also obvious that he did not attempt to build a similar relationship with Jacob.
      2. Rebekah & Jacob
        1. I think that we can see from the story plot that Rebekah is the mover and the planner in the family.
        2. Her and Jacob either had their deceitful ways in common or she had taught them to Jacob at a young age.
        3. So it was that the family was divided by the preferences of the parents.
        4. Each preferred one child over another, a mixture for disaster.
          1. What is interesting is that although Jacob felt the rejection of his father because of his preference of Esau, yet Jacob picked a favorite son on which to bestow blessings.
          2. So the sins of the fathers are visited on the children unto the third and fourth generation.
          3. We are not to love because of what people can do for us or how they perform but we must love others as God loves us, unconditionally.
      3. God intended for us to love without qualification.
        1. I remember a boy who was in Sunday School and studying this lesson who remarked that his mother didn't love the children differently but he said she hated them all the same.
        2. God loves us without qualification.
          1. He does not love us because we are deserving of His love.
          2. He loves us in spite of what we have done.
          3. That is how God calls parents to love their children.
          4. Now some are certainly more lovable that others for there will always be the ones who please us. (If you have enough)
          5. If you never had a variety then you can speak with any experience on the differences in children.
        3. One of the greatest problems in families is that children to not feel they are unconditionally loved.
          1. The see themselves as under the scope and love is expressed by those who measure up.
          2. Many parents have this problem because that is how they were raised.
          3. They felt loved because the did something.
          4. That may work for the sports star or the highly academic elite.
          5. But what about the plain Jane or that fella that will play for the Packers.
          6. As parents we need to make sure our children know that we love them and that they feel it.
          7. Oh, by the way if they don't feel it, they don't know it.

Do you know the Love of God. Do you realize that no matter what else you are going through we can never doubt the Love of God. He sent His beloved Son to die for us.


This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com