Summary: Esau sells Jacob the birthright showing how he despised God’s blessings. Are we guilty of despising, that is treating as cheap God’s blessings? Find out what warnings and encouragements we can learn from this episode of "Jake TV."
(As “The Price Is Right” theme song plays, invite three contestants forward.) Welcome to the Price Is Right brought to you today from St. Peter’s Lutheran Church! Before you is a lovely bag of Skittles. The contestant who comes closest to guessing the retail price of this object without going over the actual price wins the item and a chance to win another lovely prize. (After the winning contestant is determined, invite him or her forward for the next game.) Before you now are three objects: a can of tuna, a DVD player, and a Bible. Stack these objects so that the least valuable item is on the bottom and the most valuable item is on top. You may begin. (The contestant should put the can of tuna on the bottom and the Bible on top.) Well done! (Give contestant a piece of candy.) But why did you put the Bible on top of the stack and not the DVD player? This Bible only retails for $10 while the DVD player costs $60. Of course, God’s Word is the most important thing we have in this world isn’t it? It’s more valuable than anything we can buy. (The contestant may be seated.)
Although our contestant correctly identified the Bible as the most valuable item here, don’t we often forget how precious spiritual blessings are? As a result we often treat God’s Word, worship, even Holy Communion as if they were something cheap, like a plastic toy that comes from a cereal box. That’s the attitude Jacob’s older brother Esau demonstrates in our episode of Jake TV this morning. Let’s find out what warnings and encouragement we can glean as we watch Esau sell Jacob the birthright.
In our Nanny 911 episode last Sunday we learned about the birth of Jacob and Esau. Although twins, the boys weren’t identical in appearance or in character. Esau was covered in hair (in fact the name Esau means “hairy”) while Jacob had smooth skin. Esau loved the great outdoors and the thrill of hunting wild animals while Jacob stayed close to home caring for his father’s flock and puttering around the kitchen with Mom. Although Jacob was younger and the quieter of the two boys, God promised that he would be the dominant one, and the one to receive the birthright usually reserved for the eldest son. Receiving the birthright not only meant inheriting a larger portion of Dad’s estate, it meant benefiting from the promise God had given to Grandpa Abraham that the savior would come through his family line. The birthright is something each boy should have valued and sought – not so much for the property one stood to inherit but for the honor of being a direct ancestor of the Messiah. What happens in our episode shows that only one boy truly valued this blessing.
One day, Esau came home from a hunting trip famished. As he drew near the tents his family called home, he smelled something delicious. He quickened his pace to the outdoor kitchen where he found Jacob stirring a pot of lentil stew. Esau said to his brother: “Quick, let me have some of that red stew!” (Genesis 25:30a) That English translation doesn’t quite capture Esau’s desperate impatience. Esau literally barked: “Let me gulp some of that red stuff. That red stuff there!” Esau didn’t care what Jacob had cooked up, he just needed something to fill his stomach, and now! (Esau’s identification of the stew as that “red stuff” helped another nickname he had received at birth to stick. Because Esau was not only hairy but had darker skin than Jacob, he was called “Edom” – Hebrew for “red.” Now he would also be known as Edom for having called his brother’s stew that “red stuff.”)