Summary: Unfortunately, Family Feuds don’t only occur on a game show...they are a reality.
Pt. 4 - The Fixed Fight
At odds. At each other’s throats. Fights. Family Feuds. Good TV. Terrible life. When Family Feuds slip over into real life they are very seldom laughing matters. Family Feuds create life long limps and open wounds. Wrong words, looks, actions from family have life altering impact. Unfortunately, these feuds are common and no family is immune to them.
As we conclude this series, I can’t possibly skip or fail to examine one of the most famous feuds in Scripture. This feud had generational roots and impact. The main characters are well known and their story is familiar.
Text: Genesis 25:27-34 (Message)
The boys grew up. Esau became an expert hunter, an outdoorsman. Jacob was a quiet man preferring life indoors among the tents (girly man or at very least a momma's boy). Isaac loved Esau because he loved his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.
One day Jacob was cooking a stew. Esau came in from the field, starved. Esau said to Jacob, “Give me some of that red stew—I’m starved!” That’s how he came to be called Edom (Red). Jacob said, “Make me a trade: my stew for your rights as the firstborn.” Esau said, “I’m starving! What good is a birthright if I’m dead?” Jacob said, “First, swear to me.” And he did it. On oath Esau traded away his rights as the firstborn. Jacob gave him bread and the stew of lentils. He ate and drank, got up and left. That’s how Esau shrugged off his rights as the firstborn. (Freebee - one of the fruits of a feud is that we capitalize on other people's needs to meet our own - hurt people/hurt people and hurt people use people. Wished I had time to deal with the fact that Esau is the perfect picture of our current culture. We will give up everything simply because we don't have the ability to delay gratification.)
Genesis 27:32-37, 41
His father Isaac said, “And who are you?” “I am your son, your firstborn, Esau.” Isaac started to tremble, shaking violently. He said, “Then who hunted game and brought it to me? I finished the meal just now, before you walked in. And I blessed him—he’s blessed for good!” Esau, hearing his father’s words, sobbed violently and most bitterly, and cried to his father, “My father! Can’t you also bless me?” “Your brother,” he said, “came here falsely and took your blessing.”
Esau said, “Not for nothing was he named Jacob, the Heel. Twice now he’s tricked me: first he took my birthright and now he’s taken my blessing.” He begged, “Haven’t you kept back any blessing for me?” Isaac answered Esau, “I’ve made him your master, and all his brothers his servants, and lavished grain and wine on him. I’ve given it all away. What’s left for you, my son?”
41Esau seethed in anger against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him; he brooded, “The time for mourning my father’s death is close. And then I’ll kill my brother Jacob.”
Jacob looked up and saw Esau coming with his four hundred men. He divided the children between Leah and Rachel and the two maidservants. He put the maidservants out in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last. (He had learned the art of favoritism well). He led the way and, as he approached his brother, bowed seven times, honoring his brother. But Esau ran up and embraced him, held him tight and kissed him. And they both wept.
This account is one of favoritism, trickery, stealing, and feuding. Esau is deceived twice by his brother Jacob. He forfeits his birthright for beans and then to make matters worse he loses his blessing due to Jacob’s antics. Scripture says that Esau is so angry that he vows to kill his brother. It makes sense as to why he would want to do so. This account and feud spans the pages of many years. It also teaches us some things we need to know.
1. Lack of agreement leads to feuds.
We tend to focus on the favoritism that the parents are guilty of in this story. What we fail to see is the root of the problem. The favoritism is the fruit. The root was lack of agreement. The parents weren’t in agreement about their sons. Scripture teaches us clearly by saying “if two of you agree on earth . . . It will be done.” So, we have rightfully concluded that agreement makes us powerful. But long before that statement was made we see the object lesson of this family and they teach us that the power of agreement may only be surpassed by the power of disagreement. Far too often feuds are nothing more the fruit of lack of agreement. We can’t get on the same page and that lack of agreement results in such a division that for years we are destroyed. Remember I told you last week that “Our ability to see things differently is a gift not a curse!” However, our difference in perspective can not result in disagreement. Unity is blessed. How many of us are living under the curse of disunity simply because we have failed to understand the necessity to be in agreement. In other words, we must learn to be in agreement even when we disagree. Feuds are one of the favorite and most frequently used tools of the enemy not just because they destroy relationship but because they assassinate agreement. The feuds make us powerless!