Summary: What are your values and priorities? Do they lead you to be blessed by God in an abundant way or a rather skimpy way?
“Are You Living an Esau Lifestyle?”
INTRODUCTION: Have you ever wondered why children in the same family who were brought up in the same way can turn out so differently? Maybe one becomes successful in school and the other drops out. Maybe one obeys the laws of the land and the other is always getting into some kind of a scrape with the law. One has long range goals and the other just lives from day to day thinking “Whatever.”
In today’s scripture we see a family who sees these extreme differences in their twin sons. Isaac and Rebecca’s twins, Esau and Jacob turned out having very different lifestyles which caused themselves considerable grief as well as their family.
Today’s message is entitled, “Are you living an Esau lifestyle?” You might ask, “What in the world is that?” I think we can apply this Old Testament scripture to our lives today because we see these same characteristics showing up in our families and in our friends and co-workers--and yes, even in ourselves.
Right from the beginning there was favoritism evident in this family that caused problems in the long run. Isaac loved the oldest of the twins, Esau, because he was a rough, rugged, outdoorsy type. He liked to hunt and Isaac liked to eat the meat he brought back from his hunting trip. Jacob was Rebecca’s favorite. He stayed closer to home and had a different personality altogether. When it came time to give the birthright to the oldest one of the twins, Rebecca tried to figure out a way to get it to her favorite, but Isaac wanted it to go to his favorite, Esau. Rebecca and son, Jacob, were schemers and came up with a plan to DECEIVE Isaac who was getting old and who couldn’t see very well. They would trick him into blessing the wrong son--the younger one instead of the one to whom the birthright actually belonged.
What was the birthright and why was it so important?
Although the birthright was usually given to the oldest son, it could be forfeited by behavior that was offensive or opposed to God’s will. In this case Isaac intended to give the birthright to Esau, its rightful owner.
You might say, “Well what was the big deal about it? So, he lost it.” There were five major things contained in a birthright which directed the lifestyle of a person who received it.
1. First of all the oldest son would receive a larger part of the father’s property (He would benefit FINANCIALLY).
2. He would have the rule and authority over the youngest members of the family (he would have POWER).Gen. 27:9
3. He would have the sacred dignity of being the family priest (He would have STATUS. Ex. 4:22).
4. He would have permanent possession of Canaan for their future inheritance and access to it (a rich and fertile choice land for PRODUCTIVE crops).
5. He would have fellowship with God. (SPIRITUAL ACCESS).
Are you living an Esau lifestyle? How can we relate to this today?
1. Esau’s Values--Our values: Esau placed no value on the birthright. He was impulsive and only lived for the moment. He didn’t consider the consequence of his decisions. He made bad choices. He married women who were outside the line of promise and into families that God had rejected. Later he chose an Ishmaelite wife, but the blessing would be coming through ISAAC and not ISHMAEL. He married the daughter of Ishmael. He was a proud, self sufficient, arrogant person who thought he could do everything on his own. He didn’t take responsibility for his actions and blamed others for his losing the birthright. He is presented as a VICTIM of his brother’s deception. He couldn’t blame Jacob, Rebecca, or Isaac or even God for losing the birthright. Scripture says, “He despised his birthright.”
Esau only valued the world and the bowl of stew was so tempting to him. Jacob, found just the right moment to seize the birthright away from him. In a moment when he was hungry, the stew looked like a good trade.
What do people value today? What do you value? Are we inclined to spend our time making bad bargains that only bring us grief and pain? I think we do so much of the time. We might think, “Well, it is the person who is not a Christian who is living an Esau lifestyle--not me.” That is true for many people who are exchanging their eternal soul for things that have no eternal value whatsoever. Scripture says, “for what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). If you are not a Christian today, you are making a bad bargain.