Summary: You cannot despise your birthright and receive the blessing.

Blessings and THE Blessing

(Genesis 25:34, 26:34, and 27:1-40)

1. The Pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower were not the first to celebrate Thanksgiving in the New World. Several groups before them had done similar things.

2. But the Plymouth Rock Thanksgiving is the one we model our celebration after; for one thing, it included turkey:

Governor William Bradford sent "four men fowling" after wild ducks, geese, and turkey.7 The warriors brought five deer. The feast probably consisted of the following items (constructed from original sources and historical research by the Plimoth Plantation):

Seethed [boiled] Lobster

Roasted Goose

Boiled Turkey

Fricase of Coney (rabbit)

Pudding of Indian Corn Meal with dried Whortleberries (blueberries)

Seethed Cod

Roasted Duck

Stewed Pumpkin

Roasted Venison with Mustard Sauce

Savory Pudding of Hominy

Fruit and Holland Cheese

4. What -- no green bean casserole, no cranberries, and no sweet potatoes? Well, I guess stewed pumpkin would taste a bit like sweet potatoes! It would be fun -- and expensive (with lobster) to duplicate this menu, but I think most of us would rather have our family favorites.

5. During the first Thanksgiving season, our pilgrim fathers celebrated God’s blessings. They enjoyed the privilege of a bountiful harvest and plentiful food. But they knew that God had expectations for them. The privilege of the Thanksgiving Feast was coupled with the responsibility to contribute work to the community. Privilege and responsibility go together.

6. The birth right involved a lot of responsibility, and Esau did not want it -- at least as a young man.

7. Esau wanted Isaac’s blessing without the responsibility of the birthright.

8. Today, many of us want privilege without responsibility. For example, our elected politicians have made all sorts of impossible promises; those who won now have to face the reality of responsibility.

9. Their decisions may well be life or death ones, not just talk anymore. All of a sudden, the answers are not as easy as they were. Responsibility comes with the privilege.

MAIN IDEA: You cannot despise your birthright and receive the blessing.

I. Both Jacob and Esau Had Many Blessings, But Only Jacob Would Receive THE Blessing (Genesis 25:34, 26:34, and 27:1-40)

Background: Isaac thinks he is going to die, but will live 43 more years!

• There is an understanding that whoever Isaac officially blesses will be blessed; it is considered a prophetic utterance…probably revealed thusly to Isaac…

• In the logic of the ancients, cause and correlation are often confused; rather than think that a prophet’s words reveal God’s will, this can wrongly turn into this kind of thinking, "whatever the prophet says has to happen."

• Joke about the Amish man who confused correlation with cause:

An Amish boy and his father were visiting a mall. They were amazed by almost everything they saw, but especially by two shiny, silver walls that could move apart and back together again. The boy asked his father, "What is this, Father?" The father [never having seen an elevator] responded "Son, I have never seen anything like this in my life, I don’t know what it is."

While the boy and his father were watching wide-eyed, an old lady in a wheel chair rolled up to the moving walls and pressed a button. The walls opened and the lady rolled between them into a small room. The walls closed and the boy and his father watched small circles of lights with numbers above the walls light up. They continued to watch the circles light up in the reverse direction.

The walls opened up again and a beautiful 24-year-old woman stepped out. The father said to his son, "Go get your mother."


A. Esau’s Spiritual HARDNESS (25:34, 26:34)

1. He sells his birthright for lentil stew

2. He marries wrongly -- the pagans from the land

3. Esau reminds me of someone who does not have a living relationship with the risen Christ, yet he thinks he’s the same as those who do -- he just doesn’t get it; he may at times look like a Christian, but he cannot think like one!

B. ISAAC’S Plan (1-4)

1. The Jews often write up Isaac and Jacob and Rebekah as saintly and filled with good intentions. For example, one Rabbi writes, "…we read of Isaac’s plan to give his son Esau the material blessings, so that he could protect and support Jacob who would spend his life in the spiritual realm of Torah study and prayer…"

2. Nonsense. He knows the prophecy that Esau is supposed to serve Isaac, but he tries to secretly thwart that…he liked Esau better…more in common with him; he knows what he is doing is wrong, or he would be public about it.

Despite his poor motives, God had apparently revealed that his blessing would stand, for Hebrews tells us:

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