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Summary: The story of Jacob's favor focuses on the question of our ability to be used by God, and demonstrates that the nature of His grace is completely independent of human effort.

"The Power of Transforming Grace"

Genesis 25

Can God Use Me?

My past is marred by sin. I’ve got the scars, the tattoos, the wounds and the memories of all that I’ve done wrong. Can God use me?

Can God Use Me?

Other Christians can help the poor and give money to the church, but I’m barely getting by. I need help from others to just make it day by day. Can God use me?

Can God Use Me?

I struggle academically. The people in my Bible study group talk about commentaries and concordances, Word Studies and famous preachers. I barely made it through High School. Can God use me?

Can God Use Me?

I’m not outspoken. I could never lead a Bible study, and even the idea of witnessing terrifies me. Can God use me?

Can God Use Me?

My life is a mess! I’ve got financial problems, family problems and my marriage is falling apart. I see Christian families with their kids all neat and pretty, and my life will NEVER fit that picture. Can God use me?

Today we will study a story from Scripture that focuses on the question of our ability to be used by God. It is the story of Jacob and Essay from Genesis 25. This story contains more than just interesting history about Israel’s patriarchs. It is a story that is repeated in both Old and New Testaments about God’s grace.

Genesis 25:21–34 "Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord answered him and Rebekah his wife conceived. " "But the children struggled together within her; and she said, “If it is so, why then am I this way?” So she went to inquire of the Lord. " "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.” " "When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. " "Now the first came forth red, all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau. " "Afterward his brother came forth with his hand holding on to Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob; and Isaac was sixty years old when she gave birth to them. " "When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the field, but Jacob was a peaceful man, living in tents. " "Now Isaac loved Esau, because he had a taste for game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. " "When Jacob had cooked stew, Esau came in from the field and he was famished; " "and Esau said to Jacob, “Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished.” Therefore his name was called Edom. " "But Jacob said, “First sell me your birthright.” " "Esau said, “Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?” " "And Jacob said, “First swear to me”; so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. " "Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright."

The position of Jacob and Esau is presented in the following verse from this passage:

Genesis 25:28 "Now Isaac loved Esau, because he had a taste for game, but Rebekah loved Jacob."

Here’s the crux of the story - According to cultural practice and custom, Esau was the inheritor of the family legacy. He would receive a double portion of the father’s inheritance, as well as the primary position of family honor. But Jacob was chosen by God instead of Esau, who traded away his first born privileges to satisfy his hunger (Gen 25:29-34).

Esau was also a natural choice for assuming this position.

He was a Skillful Hunter (in a remote world). Genesis 25:27 "When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the field, but Jacob was a peaceful man, living in tents."

He was his Father’s Favorite (in a man-ruled world). Gen 25:28 “Isaac loved Jacob”

He was the Firstborn (in a world of pecking-order rules).

In today’s terms.....ESAU, would be the Navy Seal, the captain of the football team, the guy with the square chin, good looks, and chiseled abs, the extrovert, the straight A student, the king of the prom, the guy with a full ride to college, the man’s man, drives a 4WD Pickup, the guy who could fix a car, climb a mountain, field dress a cat, and order his meal in Italian. His Weakness was that he was IMPETUOUS

JACOB would be the introvert. The captain of the chess club, the guy with allergies, an inhaler, and his doctors phone # on speed dial, the skinny kid picked last for dodgeball, the guy who reads poetry and no date to the prom, the thinker, the day-dreamer, the mamma’s boy, the guy who drives a Prius, who gets a stomach ache from EATING Italian. His Weakness was that he was CRAFTY and deceitful.

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