Summary: Two main points from the life of Esau: 1. He was more concerned about the here-and-now than he was with the here-after. 2. Godliness comes by choice.
One Mother – Two Nations
Part #1 - Esau
“Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the field, but Jacob was a peaceful man, living in tents.” Genesis 25:27 (NASB)
God has always shown blessings to his people – take Rebecca as an example. For many years she had be barren. Now the Lord opens her womb – not just with one child – but with two. God takes that which seems dead – barren – and gives it life. God has often done this. Sarah, the wife of Abraham – bore Isaac; Rebecca, the wife of Isaac – bore Esau and Jacob; Rachel, the wife of Jacob – bore Joseph; Hannah, became the mother of Samuel; Elizabeth became the mother of John the Baptist.
Thomas Adams a puritan theologian gave three reasons for this:
1. To show that Israel was multiplied, not by natural succession, but by God’s grace.
2. To exercise the faith, hope, and patience in the promises of God.
3. That by the miraculous child-bearing of barren women a way might be made to believe the birth of Christ by a virgin.
God has always been faithful to His people.
Isaac prays – God hears – Rebecca conceives.
But she just does not conceive one child – she conceives two. And in the process of time she feels a struggling in her womb. She knows that it is more than an upset stomach – so she prays to Lord and asks, “What is going on?”
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." Genesis 25:23 (NASB)
Two nations indeed. Two people – the one so unlike the other – although they both came from the same mother. One a “skillful hunter, a man of the field.” The other a “peaceful man, living in tents.” Today I want to talk about one of these individuals. I want to talk about Esau. Verse twenty five tells us:
“Now the first came forth red, all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau.” Genesis 25:25 (NASB)
From this verse we find three things:
1. He was the first born son
2. He was red
3. He was hairy
We also know from verse twenty seven that he was a skilled hunter. He was not just a hunter – but a “skillful” hunter.
I know that in our time and culture – most of us do not hunt to survive. But in Biblical times – as well as the founding days of America – it was important to be a “skillful” hunter. If you watch ‘Swamp People’ on television or “World’s Deadliest Catch” – you understand what I am talking about. These are television shows which display the skills of hunters and fishermen. They must be skilled in order to survive. It is by hunting and fishing that they earn their livelihood.
Brute force is not enough to capture a prey. Even among animals there is that common sense that causes them to avoid their pursuers. Fish - will not be taken with an empty hook – nor birds with every snare. Fish must have bait – birds must have a net, and he that wants to be successful must be a cunning hunter. Look at what Amos chapter three tells us:
“Does a bird land in a trap on the ground if there’s no bait in it?” Amos 3:5 (GW)
The answer of course is, “No!” No bait – no success. Have you ever gone fishing with a bare hook? How did that turn out? For most of you – not too good.
Now I must say that there was a time when I caught fish with an empty hook. I was living in Alaska at the time and we went down to the coast when the salmon were running. At the point where a stream emptied into the bay thousands of salmon were there trying to get up-stream to spawn. You could take a weighted treble hook – cast it out in the water – draw your line tight – and then yank as hard and as fast as you could and you would snag a salmon. The fish were in the water so thick that your hook – when you pulled – would hit one.
But let me tell you – snagging salmon took skill too. My brother-in-law Bill was standing next to me and he was pulling in salmon after salmon. I would cast out and nine times out of ten – I was getting nothing. I kept working on it and working on it – but still nothing! Finally I asked Bill how he was pulling in so many fish. He said, “You have to watch the water – if you look out there – see where the water is rippling – that is where the fish are.” And you know what? He was right.