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Category Archives: Discipleship

Esau’s Lost Blessing

30As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, when Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of his father Isaac, his brother Esau came in from his hunting. 31He also prepared savory food, and brought it to his father. And he said to his father, “Let my father sit up and eat of his son’s game, so that you may bless me.” 32His father Isaac said to him, “Who are you?” He answered, “I am your firstborn son, Esau.” 33Then Isaac trembled violently, and said, “Who was it then that hunted game and brought it to me, and I ate it all before you came, and I have blessed him? —yes, and blessed he shall be!” 34When Esau heard his father’s words, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, “Bless me, me also, father!” 35But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully, and he has taken away your blessing.” 36Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright; and look, now he has taken away my blessing.” Then he said, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?” 37Isaac answered Esau, “I have already made him your lord, and I have given him all his brothers as servants, and with grain and wine I have sustained him. What then can I do for you, my son?” 38Esau said to his father, “Have you only one blessing, father? Bless me, me also, father!” And Esau lifted up his voice and wept. 39Then his father Isaac answered him: “See, away from the fatness of the earth shall your home be, and away from the dew of heaven on high. 40By your sword you shall live, and you shall serve your brother; but when you break loose, you shall break his yoke from your neck.” 41Now Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him, and Esau said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are approaching; then I will kill my brother Jacob.”  (Genesis 27:30-41, NRSV)

Has anyone ever taken something that was yours?

How does that make you feel? I remember in college my roommates and I as were moving out of the house we were living in had stored somethings in the frat house of some of my roommates, and while our stuff was there, someone stole a nice wooden cd case I had and about 50 CDs. I never saw those disks or that case again and it really made me mad because it seems as if it was one of the frat brothers who did this. I was upset. Not upset enough to kill as Esau was.

You see the reading tells us that Esau was so mad with Jacob because he had stolen his birthright and then his blessing, that after the time for mourning his father was over he was going to kill his brother. Now Isaac is still alive when Esau says this. He is mad. But Jacob had done some pretty bad things, making Esau give him his birthright for a bowl of stew, and lying to their father to steal Esau’s blessing.

What would you have done if you were Esau?

Is Esau right for how he feels?

What should we do to people who wrong us?

 

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The Scheme Succeeds

18So he went in to his father, and said, “My father”; and he said, “Here I am; who are you, my son?” 19Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me; now sit up and eat of my game, so that you may bless me.” 20But Isaac said to his son, “How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son?” He answered, “Because the Lord your God granted me success.” 21Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come near, that I may feel you, my son, to know whether you are really my son Esau or not.” 22So Jacob went up to his father Isaac, who felt him and said, “The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” 23He did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s hands; so he blessed him. 24He said, “Are you really my son Esau?” He answered, “I am.” 25Then he said, “Bring it to me, that I may eat of my son’s game and bless you.” So he brought it to him, and he ate; and he brought him wine, and he drank. 26Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come near and kiss me, my son.” 27So he came near and kissed him; and he smelled the smell of his garments, and blessed him, and said, “Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field that the Lord has blessed.28May God give you of the dew of heaven, and of the fatness of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine. 29Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be everyone who blesses you!” (Genesis 27:18-29, NRSV)

Have you ever tricked someone for gain?

We were out to eat with friends the other day and my wife and I paid the bill and the other couple gave us cash to cover their portion, and they gave me way to much and I said nope let’s figure this out again because that is too much. Now I could have just said thank you for covering more than you needed to, or not said anything at all, but I couldn’t.

But here clearly Jacob lies and Isaac hears the voice of Jacob, but because his eyesight is bad and he feels the hairy skin and smells the animal smell from the flesh on Jacob Isaac thinks this is Esau. So Jacob tricks Isaac into blessing him, and like yesterday I wonder why this is here, why did this happen.

It happened to show us that even at our lowest God is with and every action has consequences. Jacob must face Esau in the future and it is an anxious time for him. But even through that God is with us.

So who have you tricked and what was the follow up?

 

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A Scheming Son and Mother

When Isaac was old and his eyes were dim so that he could not see, he called his elder son Esau and said to him, “My son”; and he answered, “Here I am.” 2He said, “See, I am old; I do not know the day of my death. 3Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field, and hunt game for me. 4Then prepare for me savory food, such as I like, and bring it to me to eat, so that I may bless you before I die.” 5Now Rebekah was listening when Isaac spoke to his son Esau. So when Esau went to the field to hunt for game and bring it, 6Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “I heard your father say to your brother Esau, 7‘Bring me game, and prepare for me savory food to eat, that I may bless you before the Lord before I die.’ 8Now therefore, my son, obey my word as I command you. 9Go to the flock, and get me two choice kids, so that I may prepare from them savory food for your father, such as he likes; 10and you shall take it to your father to eat, so that he may bless you before he dies.” 11But Jacob said to his mother Rebekah, “Look, my brother Esau is a hairy man, and I am a man of smooth skin.12Perhaps my father will feel me, and I shall seem to be mocking him, and bring a curse on myself and not a blessing.” 13His mother said to him, “Let your curse be on me, my son; only obey my word, and go, get them for me.” 14So he went and got them and brought them to his mother; and his mother prepared savory food, such as his father loved.15Then Rebekah took the best garments of her elder son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them on her younger son Jacob;16and she put the skins of the kids on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck. 17Then she handed the savory food, and the bread that she had prepared, to her son Jacob. (Genesis 27:1-17, NRSV)

Why did Rebekah and Jacob steal the blessing Esau was to be given by Isaac? To me, this story has always seemed odd to have in the story of the forefathers of our religion.

So why is it here? Well if you follow through the story of Jacob, he starts all kind of trouble and eventually gets renamed to Israel. Israel goes through a lot of troubling times. But through it all God is with him.

Even when he and his mother trick his father. And when he has to be reunited with his brother that he bought his birthright from and stole his blessing.

This story I believe is here to show us that even at our worst, God is still walking with us. Wondering why we are doing these things, but always with us.

 

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Jacob Buys a Birthright

29Once when Jacob was cooking a stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was famished. 30Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stuff, for I am famished!” (Therefore he was called Edom.) 31Jacob said, “First sell me your birthright.” 32Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” 33Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank, and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright. (Genesis 25:29-34, NRSV)

What would you give up for food?

Of course if you are dead a birthright does you no good, but really?

Esau gave up a bigger portion of his fathers estate and the right to carry on the family name.

So for a bowl of stew Esau gave up his birthright.

What would you sell your birthright for?

 

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Two Sons for Isaac and Rebekah

19These are the descendants of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham was the father of Isaac, 20and Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah, daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, sister of Laban the Aramean. 21Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord granted his prayer, and his wife Rebekah conceived. 22The children struggled together within her; and she said, “If it is to be this way, why do I live?” So she went to inquire of the Lord.23And the Lord said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples born of you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the elder shall serve the younger.” 24When her time to give birth was at hand, there were twins in her womb. 25The first came out red, all his body like a hairy mantle; so they named him Esau. 26Afterward his brother came out, with his hand gripping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them. 27When the boys grew up, Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, living in tents. 28Isaac loved Esau, because he was fond of game; but Rebekah loved Jacob. (Genesis 25:19-28, NRSV)

Rebekah was barren, which is interesting because Rebekah means answer to prayer. Because Rebekah was the answer to the prayer of Abraham and Sarah that Isaac would have a wife, and of the servant who went to their homeland to find her. But she was not able to have children, so Isaac prayed and the had twins.

And the twins fought in her womb and she was told that the two sons would become two nations that would be in battle. Not really what you want to hear when you struggled to get this blessing.

But therein is the story, and everything works together for good through God.

 

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God gives a Promised Child

The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. 2He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. 3He said, “My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. 4Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. 5Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” 6And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.” 7Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it.8Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate. 9They said to him, “Where is your wife Sarah?” And he said, “There, in the tent.” 10Then one said, “I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him. 11Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?” 13The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’14Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son.” 15But Sarah denied, saying, “I did not laugh”; for she was afraid. He said, “Oh yes, you did laugh.” 21The Lord dealt with Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as he had promised. 2Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the time of which God had spoken to him. 3Abraham gave the name Isaac to his son whom Sarah bore him. 4And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. 5Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. 6Now Sarah said, “God has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.” 7And she said, “Who would ever have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.” (Genesis 18:1-15; 21:1-7, NRSV)

When have you laughed at something that you thought couldn’t happen?

Here we see a person who sees some visitors and offers them hospitality. He gave them water to wash their feet and gave them a place to rest. Then he went and enlisted the help of Sarah for bread and a servent to help prepare a calf. He then was a good Wisconsin resident and grabbed some curds and milk with the bread and calf, and the reading seems to imply that Abraham prepared it all, as he sat it before the visitors.

But the visitors had a reason for visiting. They asked Abraham who was with them alone, “Where is your wife Sarah?” Now they knew this couple well enough to know their new names God had given them. and they asked where Sarah was. Did they not know where Sarah was or was this something deeper? But Abraham says in the tent as if to possibly say where else would she be? So the visitors continue, “I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.” And Sarah laughed because she didn’t believe in her old age that she would have pleasure with her husband. She didn’t understand how this would be possible. The whole narrative here implies there is tension between Abraham and Sarah and they are not happy. The laughing is not because it is funny, the laughing is that nervous laughter of unbelief. Sarah and Abraham did not believe God could do what the visitor said.

And then when Sarah and Abraham have a son, not by miraculous ways but the way it always happens and they name him Isaac, which means laughter! Because God has brought their relationship back together and brought joy to their lives, even when we can not see it, the joy in the Lord is there.

Know that even in the darkness that the laughter will come.

 

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The Promise of a Child

15God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” 17Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said to himself, “Can a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Can Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”18And Abraham said to God, “O that Ishmael might live in your sight!”19God said, “No, but your wife Sarah shall bear you a son, and you shall name him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. 20As for Ishmael, I have heard you; I will bless him and make him fruitful and exceedingly numerous; he shall be the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this season next year.” 22And when he had finished talking with him, God went up from Abraham. (Genesis 17:15-22, NRSV)

What a promise!

What would you think if God told your wife who is 90 will have a son?

We would all probably laugh at that. We don’t see how that can happen.

There are many times when God tells us or shows us God is going to do something and we can not believe it because it has never been done before or we do not understand how it can happen.

But when God makes a promise you can believe it!

 

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