Summary: Father’s Day sermon about trading important and eternal things for cheap and temporary things.
Genesis 25:19-34 – Mighty Expensive Stew
(Got lots of help, including some direct quotes, from other preachers on SermonCentral for this one. Thanx, guys!)
In the summer after my 1st year of Bible college, I hung around a lot with 2 girls. One of them I knew from Bethany, Christina, and the other was her cousin Jody. They worked for a lady who lived a few minutes away from me, so we hung out a lot that summer.
Jody’s dad had been a game warden, and I think they had had a farm as well. At any rate, Jody knew animals, and liked them well. One night after I had biked down to see them, Jody drove me back home. It was probably 10 or 11PM. Now, in those days, there were public dumps. You know, you’d take your own garbage to a landfill site and leave it there. Anyway, the dump was between my house and the one she was staying at for the summer. The garbage had to be dumped off, so she took it when she drove me home.
Well, we drove into the dump, and when we went around the corner, the road was flooded with glowing eyes. We had stumbled upon a nest of raccoons. So what did the animal lover do? She got out of the car and walked up to the baby raccoons.
Now, I like animals, but that was nuts. They were wild animals in the most unsanitary place you could think of. But Jody didn’t care. She reached down and picked one of the little darlings up. I was going crazy in the car because of the whole thing. She brought me the thing to pet, but I wouldn’t go near it. By and by she put it down, unloaded the garbage, and we drove off, neither of us thinking twice about it.
Come to find out, though, it scratched her on the hand. She developed a nasty infection. They almost had to amputate her hand because of the scratch. All because she thought she was familiar with animals. All because she didn’t take the issue seriously enough.
Today, I’d like to talk to you about similar mistakes that we make. In particular, this being Father’s Day, the mistakes we men make that cost way more than we were willing to spend. We’re taking a one week break from Joshua, and we’re ending up today in Genesis 25, with the story of Jacob and Esau, 2 brothers who had a great deal of difficulty getting along. Let’s read v19-28 first.
So here’s the picture. Isaac, one of the patriarchs of the Jewish faith, and promised son of Abraham, and his wife Rebekah have twins. The 1st to arrive was Esau, which means “hairy”. The 2nd was Jacob, grasping at Esau’s heels. That name means “he grasps the heel”, which paints a picture of deceiving someone. The troubles did not end at birth.
The firstborn, Esau, was his father’s favorite, but Jacob was his mother’s favorite. Time passed and they grew up. Esau became a mighty hunter. This may not be such a great compliment though. Bible commentator Henry Morris points out that hunting was unnecessary because with a large flock of sheep, there was plenty to eat. This may mean that Esau was always away hunting as opposed to being at home helping with the chores and the sheep. We might be able to say that Esau was irresponsible.
We do know that Esau was impulsive, as we will see in the next section of the story. Read v29-34. So here’s the picture. Esau had been out hunting, and he came home starved. So starved, in fact, that he thought he would die if he didn’t eat something. That was very unlikely. But that’s how he felt. That’s what happens when people run on how they feel: “I don’t feel like doing the right thing today.” That’s being impulsive, and it’s dangerous.
Well, Jacob played Let’s Make a Deal with him. Jacob, who was perhaps smarter, definitely craftier, and a momma’s boy, stayed home and cooked. And he got the better deal for it. Esau staggered into camp, and wanted some stew. Jacob had been cooking some lentils and bread, and Esau got a good feed out of it. But not until he had traded his birthright for the meal. It was a sad trade-off for Esau.
You see, the birthright was a serious thing. The birthright gave whoever owned it 3 things: 1) a superior rank in his family, 2) a double portion of the paternal inheritance. That is, all of the children shared the inheritance, but the firstborn, the usual receiver of the birthright, received a portion twice as big as the others. Say, if there were five children, the inheritance was divided into six parts, and the guy with the birthright received two and the others one each. And, the birthright gave a 3rd benefit: 3) the priestly office in the family, responsibility before God in regards to the family. The birthright, as you can see, was not something to be treated lightly.