Genesis 25-27

 

Genesis 25

25 Abraham married another wife, whose name was Keturah. She gave birth to [these guys who then had kids of their own.]

  • Abraham and Sarah couldn’t get pregnant for the longest time, and then had just one son. But one is all they needed to fulfill God’s promise. And their struggles highlighted God’s gift to them.

Abraham gave everything he owned to his son Isaac. But before he died, he gave gifts to the sons of his concubines and sent them off to a land in the east, away from Isaac.

  • Maybe he knew he couldn’t trust his family to hold it together?

Abraham lived for 175 years, and he died at a ripe old age, having lived a long and satisfying life. He breathed his last and joined his ancestors in death.His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, near Mamre, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite. 10 This was the field Abraham had purchased from the Hittites and where he had buried his wife Sarah. 11 After Abraham’s death, God blessed his son Isaac, who settled near Beer-lahai-roi in the Negev.

Ishmael’s Descendants…

The Births of Esau and Jacob

19 This is the account of the family of Isaac, the son of Abraham. 20 When Isaac was forty years old, he married Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan-aram and the sister of Laban the Aramean.

  • We read about that in Genesis 24 last week

21 Isaac pleaded with the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was unable to have children.

  • Again, this pattern, which is repeated throughout the OT – a couple unable to have kids until God intervenes. He wants to make it so clear that his plan can only be accomplished by him.

The Lord answered Isaac’s prayer, and Rebekah became pregnant with twins. 22 But the two children struggled with each other in her womb. So she went to ask the Lord about it. “Why is this happening to me?” she asked.

23 And the Lord told her, “The sons in your womb will become two nations. From the very beginning, the two nations will be rivals. One nation will be stronger than the other; and your older son will serve your younger son.”

  • The two nations are Israel and Edom. If you read the rest of your OT, you will see that they constantly fight each other. The final Edomites were the family of Herod. Herod the Great tried to kill Jesus as a baby, Herod Agrippa I presided over Jesus’ trial, killed James, and tried to kill Peter, Herod Agrippa II listened to Paul’s defense. They were an evil family who worked against God’s plan.
  • And so this brings us to what is called God’s ‘foreknowledge.’ He knew already what kind of person Esau was going to be, what kind of person Jacob was going to be, and what their descendants would be like.
    • Wouldn’t it be great to have foreknowledge? Say you meet a guy or a girl, you think they’re just great, and you start dating them. And then 4 months in you find out they’re completely crazy, you try to break up with them, and they slash your tires and stalk you. If you had known what they were going to be like, you never would have dated them.
    • Now, if you had foreknowledge, wouldn’t it be dumb to date a future stalker? Well, God already knows exactly how things are going to turn out. He’s so much bigger than we are. He saw Esau. And at times like this, he picks who he knows is going to follow him. He doesn’t force it, but he does choose based on what he knows is going to happen.

24 And when the time came to give birth, Rebekah discovered that she did indeed have twins! 25 The first one was very red at birth and covered with thick hair like a fur coat. So they named him Esau. 26 Then the other twin was born with his hand grasping Esau’s heel. So they named him Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when the twins were born.

  • So we have Hairy and Scamp.

Esau Sells His Birthright

27 As the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter. He was an outdoorsman, but Jacob had a quiet temperament, preferring to stay at home. 28 Isaac loved Esau because he enjoyed eating the wild game Esau brought home, but Rebekah loved Jacob.

  • Hairy is a man’s man, Scamp is a mama’s boy. Now, I watch Top Chef, and cooks can be totally tough. But they can also be whiny. I think Jacob was the 2nd He probably really liked D&D – you know the type.

29 One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry. 30 Esau said to Jacob, “I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew!” (This is how Esau got his other name, Edom, which means “red.”)

31 “All right,” Jacob replied, “but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.”

  • What is Jacob asking for here? He is saying, “You as the firstborn son have the right to inherit our father’s position, including his position in God’s plan.”

32 “Look, I’m dying of starvation!” said Esau. “What good is my birthright to me now?”

33 But Jacob said, “First you must swear that your birthright is mine.” So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother, Jacob.

34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate the meal, then got up and left. He showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn.

  • His need seemed so immediate. What good was a birthright, a place in God’s plan, when he was going to die of starvation?
    • Except he wasn’t going to die of starvation. I mean, I say crazy things when my blood sugar gets low, but to start to think that I will die unless I get a Triscuit is pretty extreme. Yet we do that all the time, don’t we? Whatever need is strongest is the one that seems most important.
      • Q: What are some factors that led him into this choice?
      • Q: How might this apply to us today?
    • This is why God chose Jacob over Esau – Jacob wasn’t that great, but Esau had no interest in the things of God.

Genesis 26 

1 A severe famine now struck the land, as had happened before in Abraham’s time. So Isaac moved to Gerar, where Abimelech, king of the Philistines, lived.

  • This is a different Abimelech than Abraham had a run-in with in Genesis 20 – probably Abimelech Jr. (or it’s just a title for the Philistine king)

The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt, but do as I tell you. Live here as a foreigner in this land, and I will be with you and bless you. I hereby confirm that I will give all these lands to you and your descendants, just as I solemnly promised Abraham, your father. I will cause your descendants to become as numerous as the stars of the sky, and I will give them all these lands. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed. I will do this because Abraham listened to me and obeyed all my requirements, commands, decrees, and instructions.” So Isaac stayed in Gerar.

  • God reconfirms and extends his covenant

When the men who lived there asked Isaac about his wife, Rebekah, he said, “She is my sister.” He was afraid to say, “She is my wife.” He thought, “They will kill me to get her, because she is so beautiful.”

  • Family patterns

But some time later, Abimelech, king of the Philistines, looked out his window and saw Isaac caressing Rebekah.

Immediately, Abimelech called for Isaac and exclaimed, “She is obviously your wife! Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’?”

“Because I was afraid someone would kill me to get her from me,” Isaac replied.

10 “How could you do this to us?” Abimelech exclaimed. “One of my people might easily have taken your wife and slept with her, and you would have made us guilty of great sin.”

11 Then Abimelech issued a public proclamation: “Anyone who touches this man or his wife will be put to death!”

Conflict over Water Rights

·        Isaac and his family just don’t fit here. The land is promised to them, the narrative is trying to figure out which son will get the land, and Isaac can’t even find a place to dig a well.

34 At the age of forty, Esau married two Hittite wives: Judith, the daughter of Beeri, and Basemath, the daughter of Elon. 35 But Esau’s wives made life miserable for Isaac and Rebekah.

  • Hittites: People not interested in following God.
  • Our values are often revealed in our marriage choices.

Genesis 27 

1 One day when Isaac was old and turning blind, he called for Esau, his older son, and said, “My son.”

“Yes, Father?” Esau replied.

“I am an old man now,” Isaac said, “and I don’t know when I may die. Take your bow and a quiver full of arrows, and go out into the open country to hunt some wild game for me. Prepare my favorite dish, and bring it here for me to eat. Then I will pronounce the blessing that belongs to you, my firstborn son, before I die.”

  • I thought God promised that Jacob would get the blessing? And I thought that Esau sold his birthright to Jacob?

But Rebekah overheard what Isaac had said to his son Esau. So when Esau left to hunt for the wild game, she said to her son Jacob, “Listen. I overheard your father say to Esau, ‘Bring me some wild game and prepare me a delicious meal. Then I will bless you in the Lord’s presence before I die.’ Now, my son, listen to me. Do exactly as I tell you. Go out to the flocks, and bring me two fine young goats. I’ll use them to prepare your father’s favorite dish.10 Then take the food to your father so he can eat it and bless you before he dies.”

11 “But look,” Jacob replied to Rebekah, “my brother, Esau, is a hairy man, and my skin is smooth. 12 What if my father touches me? He’ll see that I’m trying to trick him, and then he’ll curse me instead of blessing me.”

  • So Jacob’s concern is not, “But that’s dishonest!” It’s, “What if I get caught?” And what does his sweet mother say?

13 But his mother replied, “Then let the curse fall on me, my son! Just do what I tell you. Go out and get the goats for me!”

14 So Jacob went out and got the young goats for his mother. Rebekah took them and prepared a delicious meal, just the way Isaac liked it. 15 Then she took Esau’s favorite clothes, which were there in the house, and gave them to her younger son, Jacob. 16 She covered his arms and the smooth part of his neck with the skin of the young goats. 17 Then she gave Jacob the delicious meal, including freshly baked bread.

  • Chuck Smith: Now the thing is, was it God’s will that Jacob receive the blessing? Yes. Did Jacob and Rebekah know that it was God’s will that Jacob receive the blessing? Yes, they did. But they made a mistake and that is they knowing what God intended, endeavored to help God out in fulfilling His purpose and thus went into the deception which was a ploy of theirs to help God fulfill His will and fulfill His purpose. Why is it that we think that God can’t do His work without our help? Why is it that we think that God is so dependent upon us to accomplish His purposes? Such is not the case. God can accomplish His purposes apart from our help. God will accomplish His purposes apart from us if necessary.

18 So Jacob took the food to his father. “My father?” he said.

“Yes, my son,” Isaac answered. “Who are you—Esau or Jacob?”

19 Jacob replied, “It’s Esau, your firstborn son. I’ve done as you told me. Here is the wild game. Now sit up and eat it so you can give me your blessing.”

20 Isaac asked, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?”

“The Lord your God put it in my path!” Jacob replied.

  • Not that spiritual an answer

21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come closer so I can touch you and make sure that you really are Esau.” 22 So Jacob went closer to his father, and Isaac touched him. “The voice is Jacob’s, but the hands are Esau’s,” Isaac said. 23 But he did not recognize Jacob, because Jacob’s hands felt hairy just like Esau’s. So Isaac prepared to bless Jacob. 24 “But are you really my son Esau?” he asked.

“Yes, I am,” Jacob replied.

25 Then Isaac said, “Now, my son, bring me the wild game. Let me eat it, and then I will give you my blessing.” So Jacob took the food to his father, and Isaac ate it. He also drank the wine that Jacob served him. 26 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come a little closer and kiss me, my son.”

27 So Jacob went over and kissed him. And when Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, he was finally convinced, and he blessed his son. He said, “Ah! The smell of my son is like the smell of the outdoors, which the Lord has blessed!

28 “From the dew of heaven
and the richness of the earth,
may God always give you abundant harvests of grain
and bountiful new wine.
29 May many nations become your servants,
and may they bow down to you.
May you be the master over your brothers,
and may your mother’s sons bow down to you.
All who curse you will be cursed,
and all who bless you will be blessed.”

30 As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, and almost before Jacob had left his father, Esau returned from his hunt. 31 Esau prepared a delicious meal and brought it to his father. Then he said, “Sit up, my father, and eat my wild game so you can give me your blessing.”

32 But Isaac asked him, “Who are you?”

Esau replied, “It’s your son, your firstborn son, Esau.”

33 Isaac began to tremble uncontrollably and said, “Then who just served me wild game? I have already eaten it, and I blessed him just before you came. And yes, that blessing must stand!”

34 When Esau heard his father’s words, he let out a loud and bitter cry. “Oh my father, what about me? Bless me, too!” he begged.

35 But Isaac said, “Your brother was here, and he tricked me. He has taken away your blessing.”

36 Esau exclaimed, “No wonder his name is Jacob, for now he has cheated me twice.[a] First he took my rights as the firstborn, and now he has stolen my blessing. Oh, haven’t you saved even one blessing for me?”

37 Isaac said to Esau, “I have made Jacob your master and have declared that all his brothers will be his servants. I have guaranteed him an abundance of grain and wine—what is left for me to give you, my son?”

38 Esau pleaded, “But do you have only one blessing? Oh my father, bless me, too!” Then Esau broke down and wept.

  • These are not tears of repentance. They were tears of anger and bitterness. He felt bad that he wasn’t getting what he wanted. He was never interested in spiritual things, but he wanted the good things that came out of it.
  • Q: Repentance vs. Remorse – How can you tell which one is which?

39 Finally, his father, Isaac, said to him,

“You will live away from the richness of the earth,
and away from the dew of the heaven above.
40 You will live by your sword,
and you will serve your brother.
But when you decide to break free,
you will shake his yoke from your neck.”

  • It’s easy to feel bad to Esau, and forget that it was his choices that put him in this situation. I mean, Jacob shouldn’t have gone about it the way he did, but God would have worked it out if Jacob hadn’t taken it into his own hands. Esau was never going to get the blessing.
  • My choice:
    • Stemmed from a lot of other choices
    • Irreversible – never can take it back, permanent damage to some of my family relationships
    • God redeemed it – there are people who have come to Christ as a result of my testimony, and I have been able to help a lot of people get under grace about their own choices they feel really bad about.
    • It’s to the point now where the healing is so great that it almost doesn’t feel like me anymore.

Jacob Flees to Paddan-Aram

41 From that time on, Esau hated Jacob because their father had given Jacob the blessing. And Esau began to scheme: “I will soon be mourning my father’s death. Then I will kill my brother, Jacob.”

42 But Rebekah heard about Esau’s plans. So she sent for Jacob and told him, “Listen, Esau is consoling himself by plotting to kill you. 43 So listen carefully, my son. Get ready and flee to my brother, Laban, in Haran. 44 Stay there with him until your brother cools off. 45 When he calms down and forgets what you have done to him, I will send for you to come back. Why should I lose both of you in one day?”

46 Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I’m sick and tired of these local Hittite women! I would rather die than see Jacob marry one of them.”

  • Esau didn’t cool off, and Jacob never saw his mother again – she died before he came home.

 

So there are some key things that we learn from this narrative:

  • Our choices are really important. And each major life choice indicates something about our values.
    • Do you have an important choice in front of you?
      • Dating/Marriage
      • School – where to go to school, which major to choose
      • Receiving Christ
    • Only the fool says, “I’ll do whatever I want and God will fix it.” God gives us way too much responsibility for that. If he will just fix it, well then, our choices aren’t really that important.
  • We will mess up. We need to try to be as wise as possible, yet we also need to get under grace when we do mess up. How will you respond when you find yourself in a mess?
  • God is a God of grace, but only if you let him be.

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