Summary: Jacob and Esau sought the blessings from Isaac. How did Jacob end up with the prize? This text discusses and contemplates the whole issue.
Jacob Sermon Series # 1 - The Obtaining of Blessings - Genesis 27
Donald Trump’s TV show called “the Apprentice” has become a hit in the ratings in the past two years. I have watched it about two or three times. It makes me glad I am not working within that type of an atmosphere. Talk about a stab in the back, dog eat dog world. If that’s what it takes to get ahead, to lie and slander and be down right rude to your co-workers, who of us with the Spirit of forgiveness and kindness and brotherly love would want such a job?
As we begin our Sermon Series on Jacob, it takes us to a similar situation. Isaac seems to be a godly version of Donald Trump (without the hair spray and arrogance) - as Isaac’s twins - Esau and Isaac are both after the one prize of the blessing. This “blessing” was really a unique thing. It carried with it the promise not only of the Promised and - but also the Promised Savior. It seems completely foreign to us in some senses. It was just a matter of words spoken. When we say to someone, “I hope you strike it rich,” or “have a nice day,” these are really just empty wishes with no power behind them. Yet when Isaac, the patriarch of God spoke them, they were regarded and believed to be the very words of God - with the power of God behind them. This was no mere superstitious belief. Time would prove how God’s blessings indeed were guaranteed through Isaac’s words. How would this all turn out? Who would get the blessing? What can we learn from it? We’ll see today as we consider the theme -
How Can I Get Blessed?
I. What does the “law” state?
Put yourself in Isaac’s shoes. You’ve got the most important blessing - the future of the world - on the tip of your tongue. The last thing you would want to do is to throw this Pearl before a swine. Wow, what a responsibility. Isaac had a 50/50 chance - if you look at it merely as a random act - of getting it right. He had to choose between giving the gift to Esau or Jacob. How would he know which to give it to?
Let’s start by looking at the two boys. Genesis 25:24-26 says, “When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau. After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob.” From the very birth of the two boys, Esau had inherited advantages over Jacob. He was a manly boy - all hairy and ruddy - a man’s boy. This was no sissy. He also had the Law of God on His side. Later on through Moses God wrote,
Deuteronomy 21:15-17 If a man has two wives, and he loves one but not the other, and both bear him sons but the firstborn is the son of the wife he does not love, when he wills his property to his sons, he must not give the rights of the firstborn to the son of the wife he loves in preference to his actual firstborn, the son of the wife he does not love. He must acknowledge the son of his unloved wife as the firstborn by giving him a double share of all he has. That son is the first sign of his father’s strength. The right of the firstborn belongs to him.
This law had already been practiced in principle throughout the ages. The firstborn child was the one who was expected to receive the blessing of the inheritance.
As they grew up, these differences in the boys were magnified. Genesis 25:27-28 The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was a quiet man, staying among the tents. Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob. Esau became a man’s man. He married much earlier than Jacob - who seemed to be more or less of a seeming momma’s boy throughout his first seventy seven years of existence - never even leaving home. This had an effect on the way that Isaac looked at them. He favored Esau. He liked Esau more. He wanted to bless Esau. It seemed like the “natural” thing to do.
Yet there were differences in the spirit of the two boys. This is quickly established in Genesis 25:29-34 -
Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom.) Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.” “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?” But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright.