Summary: Jacob flees from Esau and during his flight he sees a dream in which God appears to him above a ladder and blesses him. This narrative sermon shows that God remains faithful to His promise in spite of Jacob's unfaithfulness because of Jesus Christ.
Here is a man who received the promise of blessing from God even before his birth.
Genesis 25:23 – “The LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb; and two peoples will be separated from your body; and one people shall be stronger than the other; and the older shall serve the younger”.
But now he is on the verge of his death and trying to escape death by fleeing and has little hope of remaining alive.
Genesis 27:43 – “Now therefore, my son, obey my voice, and arise, flee to Haran, to my brother Laban!”
Genesis 28:10 – “Then Jacob departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran. He came to a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place.”
What a pitiful situation to be in! To be blessed by God even before your birth and then coming to a situation where you see no blessing but only impending death!
1. THE SITUATION
There are some important characters in this narrative
Let us begin by understanding the main characters in this narrative.
1. Isaac – Old Man; physically weak; no discernment; interested in hunting and eating; loves Esau more than Jacob; he is prayerful.
2. Rebekah – Despaired because of lack of children; loves Jacob more than Esau; prayerful; shrewd; cunning; deceptive
3. Esau – Aggressive; active; impatient; gluttonous; disrespect for birth right; desperate; angry; revengeful; disobedient; no consideration for parents and their happiness;
4. Jacob – peaceful; not active; obedient to mother; taking advantage of others’ weaknesses; deceitful; cunning; liar.
5. LORD – Prayer-answering; Purpose-revealing; Instructing; Guiding; Covenant-making; Promising; blessing; Emboldening;
God’s intention to bless in His dialogue with Rebekah (Genesis 25:23)
Genesis 25:23 - “The LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb; and two peoples will be separated from your body; and one people shall be stronger than the other; and the older shall serve the younger”.
We see the family here, Isaac, with his wife Rebekah, and his twin sons, Esau and Jacob. We also see God who imparts a promise of blessing. This is the situation.
2. THE STRESS
First conflict between Jacob and Esau
Genesis 25:22 – “But the children struggled within her; and she said, “If it is so, why then am I this way?”
Second Conflict between Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:29-34)
Genesis 25:29-34 – “When Jacob had cooked stew, Esau came in from the field and he was famished; and Esau said to Jacob, “Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished.” Therefore his name was called Edom. But Jacob said, “First sell me your birthright.” Esau said, “Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?” And Jacob said, “First swear to me”; so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright”.
Third conflict between Jacob and Esau (Genesis 27:19; 27:35)
Genesis 27:19 – Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your first born; I have done as you told me. Get up, please sit and eat of my game, that you may bless me.”
Genesis 27:35 – And he said, “Your brother came deceitfully and has taken away your blessing”.
Isaac’s realization of the actual situation (Genesis 27:35)
Esau’s desire for revenge (Genesis 27:41)
Genesis 27:41 – So Esau bore a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him; and Esau said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.”
The flight of Jacob (Genesis 27:43)
Genesis – “Now therefore, my son, obey my voice, and arise, flee to Haran, to my brother Laban!”
The conflict between Jacob and Esau is paralleled in other characters elsewhere in the Bible
The conflict between Jacob and Esau
The conflict between the Seed of the Woman and the seed of the Serpent
The conflict between Cain and Abel
The conflict between Isaac and Ishmael
The conflict between Abraham and Lot
The conflict between Israelites and the Canaanites
There is always a battle for blessing going on in the Bible.
There are some character parallels and pre-figurations of Jacob in the Bible
Jacob Parallels Adam
Jacob tries to gain blessing but fails and as result falls into crisis and flees to save himself from Esau.
In this sense Jacob parallels Adam in that even Adam tried to gain blessing but fails and falls into crisis and flees to save himself from God when He hears the voice of God calling him.