Summary: A teaching message on Genesis 26:34-28:9.

Genesis Series #52 July 07, 2002

Title: How to Avoid Making a Mess of Your Life



Welcome to New life in Christ. Today we continue with message #52 in our verse-by-verse study of the Book of Genesis.

Read Genesis 26:34-28:9

Opening Prayer

As a pastor, I sometimes provide biblical counseling to people and families that are experiencing turmoil. They may be experiencing trouble in their marriage, in their family relationships, in their ministry, in their finances, in the career, or even in their spiritual walk with God. Sometimes the situations are such a disaster that I often think to myself, "What a mess!" The sad part is that often these messes are the result of their own decisions and actions. Many times when life is a mess, it is our own creation!

Fortunately God can turn messes into masterpieces, so I can give these people hope and direction, but wouldn’t it be much better to avoid the mess to begin with? The obvious answer is "yes" so the subject I will share on today is, "How to Avoid Making a Mess of Your Life."

In this story from Genesis we see a family in turmoil. Through their own actions they create an incredible mess. As the story progresses we see a husband and wife plotting against each other, we see one brother, Esau, weeping bitterly about what he has lost and hating his brother Jacob so much that he plots to murder him, and we see that Jacob has to flee for his life to a distant land where he will be separated from his family for what turns out to be 20 years. This is a situation in which nobody wins. This is a mess in every sense of the word. Life isn’t like an episode of the "Brady Bunch" where everything gets straightned out by the end of the show, therefore it is vital that we learn how to avoid these types of messes. We can learn from this family some practical life lessons on how to do just that. Obviously we cannot learn what to do from their positive example, but we can learn what not to do from their negative example.

In a sense this family’s life is like the totally wrecked cars that the police often place on the side of the road to warn people about what happens when we disobey the traffic laws. We learn from these warnings and these negative examples what not to do or we will end up in the same kind of a wreck.

In this story, I believe we can to learn 2 ways to avoid making a mess out of our lives.

1. To avoid making your life a mess don’t make your decisions on the basis of wrong values.

2. To avoid making your life a mess don’t resort to wrong means of gaining what is good.

We all have to make choices in life. We to make choices about relationships, purchases, careers, ministries, education, entertainment, etc.. . The values that guide these choices will in large part determine whether these choices result in a blessed life are messed up life. Making decisions based on wrong values is one way to quickly make a mess of your life. What are wrong values?

There are many examples of wrong values but the list would certainly include sensuality, materialism, selfishness, and godlessness. In other words we should not make our decisions based on what is pleasing to our senses (sensuality). Our choices should not be based on what will generate the most income or enable us to gain the most possessions. We should not make our decisions on purely selfish motives, which means cosidering what we want but not what God wants. Did Esau and Isaac make choices based on wrong values? The answer is clearly "yes."

Read Genesis 26:34-27:4

To make choices that lead to a fulfilling life we must base our decisions on what is important and valued by God. This is what Esau and Isaac did not do. First in verse 34 of Chapter 26 we’re told that Esau married Canaanite women which were "a source of grief to Isaac and Rebecca." Remember, one of the things God values is purity in marriage. In Old Testament times this meant not marrying any Canaanites because they were a pagan people. Remember how Abraham sent his servant to his family’s homeland to get a bride for Isaac? He did this because he made his decisions based on right values. Certainly Esau was aware of God’s priorities in marriage. Why then did he marry a Canaanite woman? For the same reason he sold his birthright for a bowl of stew, he was making his decisions or choices based on wrong values and therefore making a mess of his own life. He could have waited and made the effort to marry an acceptable woman. He wanted what he wanted and his immediate desires were his only consideration. That is a foolish way to make decisions. What were the results of making a decision based on wrong values? A mess! His life serves as an example to us.

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