The lives of Jacob and Esau trouble many. Neither boy appears to be all that righteous. In this lesson, we will examine their lives and the outcome. God is sovereign, but what does that mean?
A. Okay, if you are on social media you have probably seen the dress. The question is what color is it. The original dress on the screen. But the point I want to make is that it has polarized people in this debate. The question is, is this dress “blue with black lace fringe or white with gold lace fringe? Then there are many of us who simply say, “it doesn’t matter.” But this dress has caused a social frenzy and huge popular debate. But what is the point in a sermon?
B. There are people who will argue over this when there is no point at all except wanting to say, “I’m right.” The idea that we are willing to argue over things that don’t matter and forget what really matters is exactly my point.
C. Today we are going to take a look at a set of twins that were at constant odds with each other. Why? I don’t really know. I know from our text that God said that was going to happen. I know that God saw beyond these two men and saw two nations of people that would come from them. I know God has a plan, purpose, and way of doing something that, even when I don’t it, I get that God gets it. Two people. Two ways of living. They argue and get into trouble. They get caught up in the moment and forget the bigger picture. Welcome to the world of Jacob and Esau and us.
I. The Stage Is Set (verses 21-22)
A. Let’s come back to our text and I want you to see a few take-aways from the story today. The first is not about Jacob and Esau, but is about Isaac and Rebekah. There reason I want to start here, is there is something in the opening words in the text that you don’t see as much in the lives of the boys.
B. Read again verses 21-22. Both Isaac and Rebekah prayed or inquired of the Lord. Isaac prayed for his wife, and Rebekah inquired about what was happening during her pregnancy. These two people understood the need to go to God when you have a problem or a question.
C. We are going to contrast the parents with the kids in just a moment. To start, let me challenge us to realize the need to take things to God in prayer. If we will just begin right here – in prayer, we will at least admit that someone greater than knows what is best. I don’t always understand, but I have to trust that God knows. I trust that God’s plan, purpose and will is more important than me. When I am at this point, I am at peace.
II. The Boys
A. That brings me to the boys. Genesis 25-33 tells the story of Jacob and Esau. I want you to see a few things that happen in the lives of these two men before we see the full story.
B. The Bible tells us that as the boys grew up, Esau was a skilled hunger, a man of the field and Jacob was quiet man, dwelling in tents. In other words, Esau was an outdoorsman and Jacob preferred the indoors. Problem #1 is the parents. Isaac favored Esau and loved to eat meat. Rebekah favored Jacob. That is all the bible tells us. But it does set the stage for the conflict between these two brothers.
C. The first conflict is found in Gen. 25:29-34. Okay, so we have a very expensive bowl of soup. The name “Jacob” has two meanings. It means “he takes by the heel” or “he cheats.” It is true in both cases. In this case though, Jacob is fixing dinner when Esau comes in the field hungry. Hunger can lead a person to do things they would not normally do. We see in society where hunger has caused people to steal, hurt or even murder others. Great hunger is an intense feeling. In this case, it was so powerful that when Jacob asked for the birthright, Esau sold it for a bowl of stew.
D. Think through that for a moment. The birthright gave a person a double portion of the father’s inheritance. In this case, Esau would have 2/3 and Jacob 1/3 of Isaac’s inheritance. It also set up the oldest (who had the birthright) to be the leader of the family when the father died. The bible says that Esau “despised” or “showed contempt” for his birthright.
E. Heb. 12:16 speaks to this incident and calls Esau “unholy” or “godless.” Read verses 16-17. The Hebrew writer refers to at least one, maybe two incidents.
F. The first, we just read, the second takes place at the end of Isaac’s life in Gen. 27. There, Jacob deceives his father, dresses up like Esau and receives a blessing that makes him ruler over his brother. In that passage, Esau comes in and finds out what happened and begs with tears for his father to bless him, but Esau says to his father, “Jacob has cheated me two times. He took away my birthright and now he has taken away my blessing.”
G. But here is what I want you to understand from the story of these two men. It is not that Jacob was good and Esau was bad. In fact, Jacob deceives his father. But when you examine the lives of these two men, you find that Esau acts to please himself. Not just with the selling of this birthright, but also with the women he chooses to be his wives. Esau looks only at the moment, at instant gratification and there is not a reference to him praying, inquiring of God or looking at any spiritual blessing. Jacob has his sins, but there at least times when Jacob seems to think about God and where God interacts with Jacob.
A. But their story from Genesis still does not sit well with me. Why did God choose Jacob? Paul gives me the only answer I can understand. Listen to Rom. 9:10-13.
B. Why? I don’t know. I trust God has a plan, purpose and a way to bring about his will. It is called sovereignty. God is God, not me. Paul would continue to deal with this subject for which he uses Jacob and Esau as an illustration. He asks, “Is there injustice on God’s part? And answer it, God decision is the right one. It is as though Paul says, “God is sovereign. End of subject.” The rhetorical questions, “Who are you to answer back to God?” Paul talks about God being potter and us the clay to be used for a greater plan and purpose. One that in God’s glory is done to bring people to himself. That’s good enough for me.
C. Do I trust God? That question is answer by my actions. Do I pray believing that God will’s is going to happen or do I pray asking God to do my will? That question is answer by my actions. Do I seek the instant gratification by willingly giving up the birthright and blessing that God wants to bestow upon me at a later time? That question is answered by examining my faith.
A. Jacob and Esau. What lessons do that they teach? Many. But today, I wanted us to see the importance of keeping God as the center of you thought. Esau did not.
B. But the bigger lesson is that God is God and I am not. Sometimes, stories we read don’t make sense to us as we try to think about the why’s. Can you be okay with a lack of knowing everything the mind of God sees as a much bigger picture than just right now? If there is anything I get from the Bible is that God always knows what is right. That his plan, his purpose, his will is always right. I don’t ask you this morning for simple blind faith. I ask you to have faith that God is in control by seeing how God has a way to taking things and bringing about something for his glory.
C. Maybe today you are struggling. Maybe today you are content it you willingness to rest in God’s sovereignty. What I know is that if you need us to walk with you, pray with you, or just be with you, we encourage you to come forward as we stand and sing.