birth of Esau and Jacob and the purpose of God in their birth and the
things surrounding their lives as witnessed in the doctrine of divine
AIM: That we
might understand the purpose of God in displaying the ruin of all in
order that he might show mercy.
lived to see the next generation appear, but not the lesson that would
be left for us all in all that transpired.
1. It is evident that
Isaac had a sense of the promise and the role that he and his sons had
in it and so was concerned that all be done in order.
Abraham, he was impatient and sought the Lord accordingly and was heard.
3. It is in the New Testament that the full impact of these things is
realized along with the explanation and clarification of the doctrine of
the election of grace.
The purposes of God are not always seen in the present but come to be
realized in time and will appear in perfection in eternity. “His
purposes will ripen fast, Unfolding every hour; / The bud may have a
bitter taste, But sweet will be the flower.”
I. A struggle
foretold (vv. 19-23)
1. Generations of Isaac and the lineage of
Rebekah is here drawn to our attention that we might see further the
mystery of the divine operations in that which was to come.
prayed for Rebekah in that she was barren. It had been twenty years and
in that he knew of the promise he prayed with the desire that it be
1) He was answered as the Lord was intreated and
conception quickly followed but perhaps not as anticipated.
struggle between Esau and Jacob began in the womb and it was not
1) The resultant pain was sensed as having some connotations
beyond her understanding and
2) She sought the Lord and learned that
it was indeed more complex
4. We learn of the contrasts even before
1) Two nations – these children would father nations that
would be in conflict
2) Two manner of people would emerge despite
3) Two levels of outward strength with the Lord
making the difference
4) The elder to serve the younger!
distinction made (vv. 24-28)
1. The birth of the twins – it is
certain that they were not identical.
2. Their appearance was noted
1) The first was red and hairy and took on a superior
2) The second took hold on the heel of his brother as if
trying to emerge ahead of him.
3) Remembering what Rebekah had heard
from the Lord.
3. The hunter and the homebody
1) Esau was the kind
of man men see as heroes or at least he-men – the rugged hunter and
outdoorsman who would impress us all.
2) Jacob was a simple man
dwelling in tents – unimpressive and a homebody.
3) The affection of
Isaac was upon Esau who brought him venison and
4) Rebekah loved
Jacob (It may have been that here thoughts were influenced by what the
Lord had revealed to her before the birth and it is possible that Isaac
did not know this).
4. The whole issue is put into perspective by
Paul in writing to the Romans: And not only this; but when Rebecca also
had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (For the children being
not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of
God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that
calleth;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it
is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say
then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. (Romans 9:10-14).
5. They were both without merit in the womb and manifested depravity in
III. A birthright despised (vv. 29-34)
1. There came a
day when Esau came in from the field and found Jacob cooking a pot of
2. Esau was exhausted and desperate and asked Jacob for
1) The character of both is revealed at this point in that Esau
was all about the things of this world and Jacob was an opportunist.
2) We would have thought that a brother seeing a brother in need would
have been glad to help.
3. The birthright was no small matter in that
it included a double portion of the inheritance, headship over the
family and perhaps even a priesthood?
4. Esau, in his sense of
independence, saw no need of the birthright and agreed with an oath.
1) So, the first part of what the Lord had revealed to Rebekah was
accomplished by the supplanting of Jacob.
2) But the word of Esau is
that he despised his birthright.
5. It is evident that Jacob would
not distinguish himself – The purpose of God stood. And
6. See then,
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see
the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest
any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be
defiled; Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who
for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that
afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected:
for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with
tears. (Hebrews 12:14-17)
7. Esau became the example of contempt for
the things of God and Jacob was the object of mercy.