Summary: The Bible is full of heroes! They don't wear spandex or fly around in capes and cowls, but God empowered these heroes and heroines to accomplish some pretty amazing feats that can inspire us to become heroes of God ourselves. Our next hero is Jacob. (Aliterated Outline, PowerPoint)

Heroes of the Bible: Jacob

Scott Bayles, pastor

Blooming Grove Christian Church: 7/25/2021

NOTE: This sermon was adapted from my book, Holy Heroes of the Bible. If it's a blessing to you, please consider buying my book which includes chapters/sermons on 17 additional Bible heroes:

If you’re just joining us, we started a brand-new series two weeks ago on the Heroes of the Bible. Everyone loves heroes—superheroes, action heroes, real-life heroes! And the Bible is full of heroes. They don’t wear spandex or fly around in capes and cowls. But their stories—which are full of action, adventure, intrigue, drama, and even supernatural power—instill us with faith, hope, and love. They inspire us, encourage us, and model true heroism from a biblical perspective.

Two weeks ago, we explored the story of Noah and learned that Noah became a hero by being different, devoted, and diligent. Then last Sunday, we focused on Abraham, who wielded a prompt faith, a patient faith, and a proven faith, making him the quintessential hero of faith.

The next hero in our series is Abraham’s grandson—Jacob.

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Jacob was not an only child, though. Sibling rivalry is a common theme in Scripture as well as superhero stories. Marvel’s most famous sibling rivalry is that of Thor and Loki, the sons of Odin, King of Asgard. As the “God of Thunder,” Thor is his father’s son—a mighty warrior and man of action. As the “God of Mischief,” though, Loki is a cunning trickster who relies on his cleverness rather than strength. When Thor stands to inherit the throne from their father Odin, Loki utilizes his powers of deception and illusion in an attempt to steal his brother’s birthright and claim the throne of Asgard. Over the course of multiple movies, Loki establishes himself as a villain with selfish ambitions. Loki betrays Asgard, impersonates Odin, and leads an alien invasion of New York. However, when Thanos, a much more menacing villain, threatens to kill his brother along with half of all life in the universe, Loki experiences a change of heart. He chooses heroism and redemption by making a last-ditch effort to save Thor and stop Thanos. Even though he started out as a villain, in the end, Loki dies a hero’s death.

The next hero in our series shares a similar origin story.

When Abraham’s son Isaac grew up, he married a woman named Rebekah who gave birth to twin boys—Esau and Jacob. Much like Thor, Esau grew up to be his father’s son, a rugged outdoorsmen and skilled hunter. Like Loki, Jacob was physically weaker and relied on his cleverness and cunning. As the firstborn son, Esau was entitled to a special birthright and blessing. The birthright included a double portion of the inheritance from their father, consisting primarily of land and livestock. The blessing would grant patriarchal leadership of the family as well as divine favor. Jacob’s selfish ambition and jealousy over his brother’s birthright and blessing led to a sibling rivalry of biblical proportions and set Jacob on a journey from villain to hero. As Jacob’s story begins, his villainy is evidenced by his duplicity.


Jacob first demonstrates his duplicity when his brother Esau returns home from a fruitless hunting trip exhausted and hungry. Esau smells some stew Jacobs is cooking and says, “I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew!” (Gen. 25:30 NLT). Rather than freely sharing his stew with his starving brother, though, Jacob takes cunning advantage of the situation, saying, “First sell me your birthright” (Gen. 25:31 NIV). Convinced he’s about to die of starvation, Esau concedes, “What good is my birthright to me now?” (Gen. 25:32 NLT). So, right there Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother for a bowl of stew.

Sometime later, while Isaac laid on his deathbed, Jacob took a page out of Loki’s playbook, disguising himself in order to deceive his father and steal his brother’s blessing, too. Isaac called Esau to his bedside and said, “I am now an old man and don’t know the day of my death. Now then, get your equipment—your quiver and bow—and go out to the open country to hunt some wild game for me. Prepare me the kind of tasty food I like and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my blessing before I die.” (Gen. 27:2-4 NIV).

Esau immediately grabbed his gear and set out into the fields to hunt. Meanwhile, with the help of his mother Rebekah, Jacob devised a clever deception that would take advantage of his nearly-blind, aging father. Jacob disguised himself as Esau by dressing in his brother’s favorite clothes. He also covered his arms and the smooth part of his neck with the skin of a young goat to make himself appear hairier like his brother. Then he brought a delicious meal to his father Isaac, saying, “It’s Esau, your firstborn son. I’ve done as you told me. Here is the wild game. Now sit up and eat it so you can give me your blessing” (Gen. 27:19 NLT). Isaac may have been old but he wasn’t stupid, so he says, “Come near so I can touch you, my son. Then I will know if you are really my son Esau” (Gen 27:21 NCV). So, Jacob came near to his father, then Isaac touched him and said, “Your voice sounds like Jacob’s voice, but your hands are hairy like the hands of Esau… Are you really my son Esau?” (Gen 27:22, 24 NCV). Jacob assured him one last time, “Yes, I am” (Gen 27:24 NLT). Finally, Isaac catches the scent of the outdoors on Jacob’s stolen clothing, which convinces him, and he agrees to bestow his blessing upon Jacob.

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