Summary: Like Abraham, Keturah, Ishmael, Isaac, Rebekah, Esau, and Jacob, each one of us today have good and bad traits; and the first thing we need to do to have effective and productive lives is to know these personal traits, then control them.
Some may call it stereotyping, but we connect certain traits with a specific ethnic background don’t we?
What do people say about Asians??
What do people say about Germans or Irish People??
What do people say about Italians and Spaniards??
Isn’t it interesting that we have a tendency to think about the bad traits of people when we need to focus on the good. Christians have two opposing “backgrounds” – Christ and the man Adam.
Which traits do we focus on?
Interestingly, as I read Genesis 25 over and over again and as I prayed about the topic of the text, this is what came to me; Abraham is the father of many nations and in one chapter God not only tells us the transition of blessings from one family to another but God shares with us the good and the bad of people.
Genesis 25 ends with twin brothers with 2 different personalities and their parents were split with their love for their sons! How are we to deal with the good and bad traits within us?
Please open your Bibles and let us read Genesis 25……
Abraham remarried and had many descendants. From earlier chapters we’ve learn much about Abraham. But even in 3 verses of Genesis 25, v5-8, we can note several things about Abraham. Abraham had good and bad traits.
Abraham remembered God’s promise and so he left much to Isaac; but he gave gifts to the rest of his family. We can note one of Abraham’s bad traits is falling for women; he fell for the Egyptian Hagar and he had many concubines. God does note for us that Abraham lived a good long life. But let us remember that Abraham matured spiritually over time!
Abraham married Keturah.
Keturah’s descendants had good and bad traits. There are 2 descendants that the Bible talks much about. Sheba brought a strong nation but were idol worshipers. And remember who came from Midian??
Zipporah was a Midianite, a strong godly woman, who married Moses!
Jethro, Zipporah’s, father was a great counsel to Moses!
Now what about Ishmael and his descendants?
What can we learn about them in Genesis 25:12-18?
1st of all, did you notice the difference of how God described Ishmael’s death compared to Abraham’s? Although Ishmael lived 137 years, we do not read that he lived life to the full.
And look at the end of v18, Ishmael’s descendants lived in hostility with each other!
In v19-34, we can note the good and bad traits of Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, and Esau.
What can we note about Isaac and Rebekah?
What were their good traits?
V21, 22: They prayed to God.
V26: For over 20 years, we note no problems with their marriage. They had a strong marriage.
But what can we note from v28??
V28: They played “favoritism” with their kids.
And finally we can note 2 brothers born at the same time and grew up in the same environment but were completely different because each had their own good and bad traits.
What can we note about Esau? Would you say he was a good looking baby?? Esau was dark red and very hairy! Now some of you may find that attractive, but I think most would think that Esau was an ugly kid.
I remember my wife Elsa having her first baby. It was a C-section and like a good husband I was there watching it all. When the baby came out, she kind of look like this (show picture of baby) but naked, very dark, and very slimy! The nurse was handing me the baby and asked, “would you like to carry her to the nursery?” I said “no thank you!” I was thinking to myself, “will our baby always be that slimy? She’d slip right out of my hands if I try to carry her!”
Thank goodness, that dark, slimy baby was cleaned-up and became this (show Mariel’s picture) beautiful, gifted woman!
Esau was not a good looking baby but he grew up to be v27: a manly man who loved the outdoors!
Esau was a skillful hunter!
But what can we note from v30? Esau was impatient; perhaps we can even say he was lazy!
What can we note about Jacob?
V27: a quiet man; a “home” body. We can note that Jacob loved to cook, but likely he loved to be creative! But what can we note from v31-33??
Jacob was cunning!
In our future studies, we will learn how Esau and Jacob handled their good and bad traits. We will find out whether they knew their good and bad traits. Were they able to handle them properly?
Obviously, you will not be able to handle properly what you don’t know. 2 Peter 1:5-7 tells us, For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. And v8 (our Scripture of the Week) follows, For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.