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Presentation 41. The passage introduces family tensions that reflects the tensions in many contemporary homes. It shows the favouritism of parents.

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Presentation on theme: "Presentation 41. The passage introduces family tensions that reflects the tensions in many contemporary homes. It shows the favouritism of parents."— Presentation transcript:

1 Presentation 41


3 The passage introduces family tensions that reflects the tensions in many contemporary homes. It shows the favouritism of parents. Jacob and Esau’s different interests and ambitions influenced their parents so that they gravitated towards one or the other. Instead of a family unit we have a family, which is becoming increasingly polarised. But the truly amazing thing is that God plans to work in and through this domestic tension and at times in spite of it. He plans to shape the life of a man on whom he had set his love and through whom he plans to advance his purpose of salvation for the world. Introduction Presentation 41

4 At times we can be unhappy about what is happening in our lives and so we take our complaints to God. When we analyse those complaints, we can sometimes discover ourselves thinking, 'God is treating me unfairly, I should be experiencing more of his blessing'. We can so easily lose sight of the fact that God's gifts are gifts of grace. This truth comes into sharp focus in the lives of Esau and Jacob. Introduction Presentation 41

5 After years of marriage, Isaac must have felt that history was repeating itself. God had made promises to his father Abraham. Promises of becoming a great nation with their own land, of great fame and of blessing to the world brought about by the birth of a Messiah. Those promises had been passed on to Isaac. He had been married for 20 years and Rebekah had provided him with no heir. All of God's promises hung on a slender thread. He needed a son. Isaac poured out his heart to God in prayer and God responded. Jacob Have I Loved Presentation 41

6 The answer took the form of twins. Esau, the more vigorous of the twins was born first but he was not God's choice for carrying on the line of blessing. God did not intend that the precious promises be passed on to him. Oh he was a natural choice - the firstborn! He was his father’s choice as subsequent events will make clear. But he was not Gods choice! God chose Jacob. God has the sovereign right to choose and bless whom he will. This is the issue expounded by Paul in great length in Rom. 9. [10-13].. The choice of God was not dependant upon the character of Jacob and Esau. Jacob Have I Loved Presentation 41

7 God decided that Jacob would be heir to the blessing while Esau was rejected from being that man. The expression, 'Jacob I loved but Esau I hated' is one of comparison rather than one of emotion. The wonder of God's electing love set upon Jacob was of such magnitude that in comparison, it appears that Esau was the object of God's hatred. The performance and character of the individuals concerned had nothing to do with God's choice. The fact that Esau was passed over by God does not excuse his subsequent behaviour. We are all responsible to God for our actions and dare not say to God: 'because you did not lavish your unmerited love upon me, I am not accountable for my actions.' Jacob Have I Loved Presentation 41

8 As Jacob grew up in the family home and examined his prospects, he must have felt frustrated. He was destined by God for blessing. His mother would have passed on God’s message 'the older would serve the younger’v23, but his father had no time for him. All of Isaac's attention fastened upon Esau. Esau was a man's man, a hardy outdoor type, athletic, adventurous, the Linford Christie of the ancient world! Did Esau possess abilities that Isaac wished he himself had possessed? Sadly many parents who have failed in particular areas then try to live their lives vicariously through the achievements and performances of their children. Jacob The Cheat Presentation 41

9 Esau was Isaac’s favourite. He was also able to give his ageing father the particular thing for which his appetite craved - wild game. Jacob the home loving boy was no more than a useful cook! Favouritism is a profoundly destructive and belittling thing. It estranges and hardens attitudes. It feeds suspicions and makes people feel insecure. Jacob felt threatened and was convinced that his father had dismissed God’s promise concerning him. Isaac had given Jacob no indication that he would get the birthright and God seemed inactive. And so Jacob reasoned it was time for him to act. Jacob sought that which was good in the wrong way. We can hardly commend his method. But he is to be commended for desiring the birthright, for appreciating its worth and the honour of possessing it. Jacob The Cheat Presentation 41

10 At birth Jacob’ hand had grasped Esau's heel and so he was given a name that means, ‘supplanter, one who muscles in’. Jacob went through life taking advantage of others. And this is what Jacob does now. Esau's exhaustion after a hunting trip provided the opportunity he had been waiting for. Jacob had studied his quarry and knew Esau’s weaknesses. He was the kind of man who lived for immediate satisfaction. A distant birthright in exchange for a tasty stew was the sort of thing Esau would fall for. The birthright has no contemporary equivalent. It involved both material and spiritual blessings. The firstborn son received twice as much property as each of the other sons but more importantly became the spiritual leader of his people and the head of his family. In Jacob's case the birthright also involved the bloodline through whom the Messiah would come. Jacob The Cheat Presentation 41

11 Did Jacob attempt to justify taking advantage of his Esau’s weakness by arguing that the birthright had been promised to him by God? Clearly, Esau placed no value upon it - spiritual things were unimportant to him. How easily we justify our wrongdoing. The world may well teach that, 'God helps those that help themselves‘, but the lesson God planned to teach was that 'God helps those who come to an end of themselves'. If Jacob was to become useful and fruitful in God’s service then his confidence in his strategy, cunning and ability would have to go. Martin Luther summed up this principle marvellously when he wrote; ‘God made the world out nothing and it is only when we are nothing that he can make something out of us’. Jacob The Cheat Presentation 41

12 Jacob wanted God’s blessings his way and in his own time. He could not wait for God to work out his will in his timeframe. God had chosen Jacob and set his love upon him. But God’s purpose of grace for his life could only begin to flourish as Jacob experienced a 'confidence shift‘. He would need to move from the ground of self-confidence to that of abandonment to God. God will often allow people to dig such a deep hole from themselves that the only way out of it is for them to call upon God to intervene and pull them out. Are you in a hole for this very reason? You have schemed and planned and sought to engineer God’s blessing but to no avail? Has your self-confidence taken an awful bruising? 'It is only when we are nothing that God can make something out of us.' Jacob The Cheat Presentation 41

13 As far a human convention was concerned the birthright should be Esau’s and his father clearly wanted him to have it. Esau held spiritual blessings lightly and trod his birthright underfoot. 'Look I am about to die, what good is the birthright to me'? v32. He was happy to exchange the rich blessings of God for a slap up meal. He was a confirmed materialist, ‘He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright.’ When the author of Hebrews wanted an illustration to indicate the folly of turning ones back upon God’s gracious provision, he wrote of Esau: See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root, grows up to cause trouble and defile many. See that no one in is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Heb. 12.15-17 Godless Esau Presentation 41

14 The words, 'Eat drink and be merry’ sum up Esau’s philosophy, which encouraged him to let spiritual matters slide. But they also describe many in our own age and some within the church. Esau was not a heathen. He had not been raised in a idolatrous environment. He was the son of Isaac, grandson of Abraham, men who had first hand experience of the true and living God. If anyone ever had an abundance of spiritual advantages it was surely Esau. Yet Esau sold that birthright for the satisfaction of the moment. As do many today, who also have the advantages of prolonged exposure to Christianity. They have heard all about the cross of Christ but have rejected Gods’ provision. Are you, like Esau ‘missing the grace of God’ ? Godless Esau Presentation 41

15 In what way can we be said to forfeit our birthright? Esau forfeited the benefits of Jesus' death. He had the promise of a coming redeemer, a shadowy figure, who had not yet stepped on the stage of human history. Today Jesus is no longer a shadowy figure. He has been known now for some 2000 years. Is not your knowledge of Christ and of the gospel far greater than that of Esau? Will you sell the privilege of being a follower of Jesus for the secular stew that the world has to offer? Secondly, are you are forfeiting the benefits of God's written word? Or are you, in the words of McCheyne, turning your Bible reading into prayer? Are you more interested in pulp fiction and TV soaps than in God's love letter to his people? Godless Esau Presentation 41

16 Is Esau's materialism not more excusable than yours? He had no Bible. Members of the early church did not possess a whole Bible. During the Middle Ages it was virtually impossible to find a Bible to read. But today Bibles are much more accessible. Major bookshops stock a variety of translations. There are talking Bibles for the blind. There are Bibles on computer disc and on the internet. No people in the entire history of the human race have had the same access to God's word and to Bible Study aids as we have. Do we despise this inheritance? Godless Esau Presentation 41

17 Thirdly, think of the access you have to gospel preaching. Esau had no preaching to access. His father would have shared something of his knowledge but if we consider true preaching to be the exposition of scripture then Esau never heard a sermon in his life. But week in week out we have an opportunity to hear God's word expounded. Not to mention the coverage on radio and TV. and the internet. What a privilege is ours. What will God say to people who treat this privilege lightly? Godless Esau Presentation 41

18 Finally, there is the benefit of Christian fellowship. There are ministers and fellow Christians, who are eager to encourage, comfort and instruct those in need. But how many believing fellowships were there in Esau's day? There were none! There were no synagogues. The very best he could hope for was whatever spiritual encouragement his father could pass on. But was Isaac's appetite for wild game at times greater than his appetite to fulfil his priestly role in leading the family in worship thus encouraging their spiritual growth? Godless Esau Presentation 41

19 Esau had no time for spiritual things. Are we any different? Esau despised his birthright. Are we like godless Esau? The behaviour of Esau is a warning to hold on to our birthright. Do not despise it. Do not miss the grace of God. Rather lay hold of it, with both hands. Determine that nothing will keep you from it. Learn too from Jacob that, while it is right to long for and hunger for the blessing of God, it is wrong to scheme and plot to secure it. It does not become ours through the exercise of fleshly energy but is a grace gift from God. Conclusion Presentation 41

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