Sunday, July 25, 2021

Lessons from Sunday School- Double Trouble (Volume 1 Edition 2)

 Today our sermon was from Genesis 25-27.... the story of Jacob and Esau. 

There are certain themes that run through God's Word. As a child, we may miss them, because our teachers focus on the stories and we can't often recognize the undercurrent... but as an adult, when thinking of application, we begin to see them emerge. 

The Bible is a love letter to each of us, yes. It's a roadmap for direction, and a source of comfort in difficult times. But recently as I have attempted to get back into a habit of reading His Word daily, I have been reminded by others that ultimately, the Bible points to God... and to Christ. It is a redemption story that allows us to come to know our Redeemer intimately. It shows us and teaches us about God, because He desires a relationship with His children, and before you can truly have a relationship, you have to know the other individual. 

I write all that to say this- one of the themes that is interwoven through Scripture is that the first will be last. What we see about God's character, what we come to know about Him, is that He loves us with no respect of person or status. 

The simple story you may  have heard as a child: 

Rebekkah is married to Isaac. Isaac is the son of promise, but that may be too complicated for you to understand, except maybe it makes you remember, "I am a promise. I am a possibility. I am a promise, with a capital P..." Rebekkah wants to have a baby. As a child, you don't understand the significance of children, that it is only through the children that women find their worth in this society... so Rebekkah is hopeless when she can't have a baby. 

Chances are, depending on when you grew up, you didn't even really get into that whole conversation, because pregnancy and babies weren't something that you talked about in polite companies. 

Anyhow, Rebekkah is going to have not one baby... but two... and they struggle in her womb. You probably didn't hear that part of the story, either... but the grown-up in me thinks this is a perfect picture of how we all act in tight spaces. Stuck somewhere with someone else that is different than you? There's going to be a struggle. 

Chances are, as a child, you probably started the story with two babies. Two twins. Not identical. In fact, as different from one another as they could be. They grow up with different interests. The older, Esau, is a hunter. The younger, Jacob, sticks to the tent. One is a Mama's boy... and it isn't the masculine hunter. 

So, one day, Esau comes in from working outside and is famished. Surely you can relate. He's not just hungry. He's HANGRY. He demands that Jacob gives him some of that red pottage like he did before, only Jacob sees his desperation and decides that he needs something from him. 

Because Esau is the firstborn, he's slated to get the birthright. The blessing. The inheritance. 

But Jacob knows Esau. He's grown up with him, and he knows his impulsive personality. He tells him he will only share his food if Esau gives him his birthright. 

For a child, you may not know what a birthright is... but your teacher may have compared it to your mom or dad's baseball card collection, only on a much grander scale. 

Esau, in his desperation, says, "I'm so hungry I'm going to die anyway, so what good will it do me?" The Bible doesn't tell us, but I'm pretty sure that Esau is a teenager, because I can hear that statement in a surly teenage voice, cracking from hormones. 

And that one decision... an impulsive one that he doesn't even consider... sets the ball in motion. This is a good time to point out that we shouldn't make impulsive decisions. We should prayerfully consider each action and avoid making a permanent solution for a temporary problem.

Fast forward a couple of years, and Isaac is on his deathbed. He is preparing to give the blessing, a blessing that Esau should receive... but remember how I said that theme about the first being last? In this family lineage, the younger brother tends to get the blessing. This story involves some trickery. Isaac wants some venison. Esau goes to hunt it. Rebekkah dresses Jacob up in a goatskin (can you even imagine??) and cooks Isaac a tasty food. Isaac, who can't see, says, "It smells like Jacob, but it feels like Esau"... so he blesses him. 

In our adult application, this is a good time to point out that how we feel or what we feel can be deceiving... 

So Jacob gets the birthright through Esau's impulsive action, the blessing through his own deception, and Isaac dies. Jacob goes on the run because Esau is an angry man, and no amount of pottage is going to satisfy his anger... 

And Jacob, the deceiver, is a patriarch, a key member in the lineage of Jesus, because he goes on to become known as Israel and have 12 sons who birth a nation. 

God can take our mistakes and redeem them. 

God sees past our deceptions and uses all things for good. 

This story shows us that God's character is full of mercy, forgiveness, and redemption. 

We don't always understand that as kids, but as adults, when we mess up on the daily, we can appreciate it fully. 

1 comment:

  1. Here's something that struck me about that story not so very long ago...the blessing is actually part of the birthright. When Esau gave Jacob his birthright, he literally gave him the place of elder son, so the blessing was actually Jacob's at that point. The deception was Isaac and Esau conspiring on the downlow to give it to Esau anyway. Jacob didn't steal was his as a result of Esau's rash declaration earlier. But he did result to trickery to make sure he got it. Not that it was all fun and games...he had to put on his brother's dirty clothes (Isaac recognized him by his smell...). None of the family got off without some guilt on that one.