This message was part of the ‘For Such a Time as This’ series, preached at Christ Church Manchester’s church in Gorton in late 2017. The full series included the following sermons:
This sermon was based on Genesis 25:19-34
The Birth of Esau and Jacob
19These are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham fathered Isaac, 20and Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean, to be his wife. 21And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren. And the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22The children struggled together within her, and she said, “If it is thus, why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord. 23And the Lord said to her,
“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you shall be divided;
the one shall be stronger than the other,
the older shall serve the younger.”
24When her days to give birth were completed, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25The first came out red, all his body like a hairy cloak, so they called his name Esau. 26Afterward his brother came out with his hand holding Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.
27When the boys grew up, Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents. 28Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.
Esau Sells His Birthright
29Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. 30And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom.) 31Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” 32Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” 33Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.
The Shaping of Esau and Jacob
- A sibling rivalry, present from birth encouraged by parents who each favoured a different brother.
- Problem passed from one generation to another – whether we like it or not – our own up bringing moulds us – for good and bad
- We can see this in the way Jacob treats his children, favouring Joseph and Benjamin over his other ten sons because he preferred their mother.
Material over eternal
- Both Esau and Jacob act with short term and self-serving goals in mind. Esau to fill his stomach, Jacob to gain a greater inheritance. Neither considers the long term or heavenly implications of their actions.
- Ask yourself have you ever traded the eternal for the material? Chosen short term comfort over Gods eternal plan? Perhaps an extra 30 mins in bed instead of getting up to pray or binge eating instead of fasting and seeking God?
- There’s a trust issue there, trusting God for provision for his plan to work out. Being obedient under pressure often means waiting, sacrificing, letting him mould our priorities
- Esau concerned only with short term comfort Jesus turned away from comfort and endured suffering because he could see eternity
- Jacob put only himself first did whatever it took to get ahead. Jesus gave himself up so that we could get ahead.
- Everything you think rules you out God has dealt with