READ: Genesis 25 and 26

BACKGROUND: The narrative of Genesis shifts here, as Abraham dies and Isaac, his son, inherits the promise that God made to his father.
By Verse:
25:6 – Polygamy was a common practice in ancient times – even by Bible heroes like Abraham, David, & Solomon. This though, was not God’s intention for marriage and sexuality – then or now.
22 – The struggle between these twin brothers began before they were even born, and it certainly didn’t end afterwards.
23 – The ancient law of primogeniture meant that normally the younger would be subservient to the older. But God had different plans in this case.
25 – A couple of thoughts: 1. That sounds like a gross-looking baby. Hairy & red? 2. Esau is a funny name; it’s a pun. It’s kinda like having a baby that comes out with red hair and naming her Ginger. 🙂
26 – Jacob’s descendants (Israel) were constantly in conflict with Esau’s descendants (Edom).
31 – The birthright included a double-share of the inheritance. But it was WAY bigger than that. It also included all of the covenant promises that God had made to Abraham.
34 – Despising his birthright means that Esau rejected the things of God.
26:1 – This is a chronological flashback. It happened before Jacob & Esau were born.
16 – God’s people living God’s way make people uncomfortable. Always. Happened to Isaac. Happens to us. Living rightly makes others’ sin more clear to them.
35 – God had clearly indicated that intermarrying with Canaanite women who didn’t believe in him was a bad thing – this is why Abraham sent his servant so far to find Rebekah for Isaac. Esau ignored this.

THINK: During the first semester of each school year, we teach a reading class for freshman whose test scores fall below state requirements. Part of the class work includes having the students practice reading passages aloud. Sometimes what we teachers hear surprises us – students with very low scores read quite well. Their pronunciations are correct; they pause in all the right places, and rarely stumble over words. There’s a problem, though. Reading fluency cannot measure reading comprehension. It can never take the place of understanding. As I read the book of Genesis, I’m reminded of how much I am like those students. I am fairly fluent in the “tell me the story” department. I know about Isaac and Rebekah and their twin boys – beloved Jacob and the red-headed rebel, Esau. But how much do I really comprehend? Have I taken the time to think about this crazy dysfunctional family? When I do, I see the same behaviors and problems many of us face today. First, Esau cared nothing for the things of God. His empty stomach was the only thing on his mind. Back to reading class – how’s this for hyperbole: “Look, I am about to DIE,” Esau whines in Chapter 25, verse 32. “What good is a birthright to me?” What good is it? What good is it?  At the heart of this birthright (and this is something Esau clearly knew) were the very covenant promises God had made to his grandfather, Abraham. Esau wanted some stew more than he wanted a relationship with the God of the universe – and too often so do we! He thought the birthright thing was no big deal, yet it led to a lifetime of ignoring God. The consequences? Ruinous relationships with family, marriage to an unbeliever, and ultimately two nations who are fighting to this day…

By: Deb Howard

ASK: Is there something (or even someone) I want more than a relationship with Jesus Christ?

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