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Genesis 25:24-26:35 - Living Water - Part 1
Vs. 24-25 - “When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau.” (Esau, in the Hebrew = “hairy”).
This kid’s so hairy that mom’s gonna crazy glue goat skin to him so they can trick blind dear old dad into thinking he’s Jacob, and we’ll get to that in a few weeks.
Vs. 26 - “After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them.”
This is classic - Jacob sticks his hand out of the womb, grabs Esau, and is like: “You get back in here, alright! I’m #1, I’m gonna be the eldest here!” By the way, Jacob, in Hebrew, is “heel catcher.”
So both these boys. Consistent with what we’ve seen in the past pages of Genesis so far, in the Hebrew tradition, were named after the circumstances surrounding their birth.
Now, “heel catcher” was NOT a compliment. It means “Schemer, kaniver,” it meant this is a kid you don’t want to turn your back on! And that is how his life, in the beginning, starts to develop.
Then vs. 27 fast forwards this a bit: “The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was content ( a peaceful man) to stay at home among the tents.”
Vs. 28 - Heres comes the problem right here. Parents, pay attention! “Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.”
Isaac loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob. And it’s this dysfunctionality that’s going to launch a world of hurt within this family.
Early on these 2 boys had very different temperaments. How many of us have kids and look at them like: What the heck, they're so different. They come from the same gene pool, yet somehow they don’t act or think the same! Kinda like with our 3 boys!!
The father would naturally gravitate towards the manlier of the 2, the hunter, the athlete or whatever, and that’s who Esau was. He was the tough guy, hanging out in the field and eating raw meat!
And Jacob, it says he was a peaceful man. Other translations have “plain, quiet, mild, or content.” That doesn’t mean he was a girly boy or a sissy in any way, cause in the weeks ahead we’re gonna see this dude wrestles with an angel all night long! So Jacob wasn’t a pansy, and yet, I want you to see something interesting here that points to the dual nature we all share, because Jacob does give us a picture of the believer, and we’ll check that out in a bit. In Jacob, especially early on, we are going to see the same struggle going on that we see in ourselves!
That we have these kinds of dueling natures within us. Paul talks about this in Gal. 5:16-17 and Romans 7, in how our flesh strives with the Spirit and that they are always warring against one another.
So Jacob and the flesh, he has a sort of tendency of being a “schemer” and yet God is presenting him as compliant. In fairness to Jacob, it’s really his mother who drives him and pushes him into this scheming nature and we’ll see that in the next message. In Esau, there is no spiritual nature to compete! The dude’s ALL flesh! And what we’ll see play out is a picture of the believer in Jacob and a picture of the unbeliever in Esau.
What we’ve got at the end of the day are the parents playing favorites! What we have beginning to develop in this household is division and turmoil because mom and dad don’t have the sense to treat these kids with equal affection. And as parents we have to be so very careful on this point.
And now it all comes to a head in vs. 29.
29-34 - “Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom).
Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.”
“Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright
But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.
Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left.
"So Esau despised his birthright.”
The birthright was the person that would take over the spiritual headship of the family once the father had passed.
Jacob was no one’s fool. He was a schemer, and Jacob knew, that although it was a spiritual right, that it also carried with it material blessings as well, because the spiritual blessing was the covenant of Abraham and part of the covenant of Abraham was what? ALL of Palestine!
So Esau here is really a picture of the natural man, the unbeliever. He’s ready to sell his soul for a bowl of red beans and rice! He’s ready to sell all that he has because he’s hungry TODAY!
Paul explains this in length in 1 Cor. 2:10-16. Natural man will sacrifice next week, he will sacrifice eternity as long as the flesh can be content today! Natural man’s default is not to think any further out in front of him than the end of his nose.
Now Jacob, not a whole lot better here because he’s scheming for what God has already given him! God has already given him his birthright!
Join us next week as we continue with this story in Genesis chapter 26. Blessings to you all.