Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Jacob the Scoundrel

The lesson for this Sunday covers Genesis 25:19-34 and then Genesis 27.  Honestly, I'm going to split them up into two lessons.  I'll talk about Jacob stealing Esau's birthright this week and Jacob stealing Esau's blessing next week. 

Nothing displays God's unconditional mercy quite like the story of Jacob and Esau.  Here are twin boys, both scoundrels, who'll do anything to get ahead, and God decides to save the younger son.  Romans 9 talks about them, God saying he even hated Esau when they were both in the womb.  This is a part of the Bible where I'm not always comfortable with God or the doctrine of predestination.  It's in the Bible however, so it's true.  Does this contradict 1 John 4:8 which says God is love?  No.  God can't not love.  He loves us so much that he hates sin, and we all deserve eternal punishment.  Why didn't God save Esau?  How about, why did he save anyone?  I don't always understand God, but I know he is good and I know that even his hatred is love and that he only knows why he chooses who he chooses, and his way is best.

But back to the lesson.  Rebekah had twins in her stomach.  Red, hairy Esau came out first, and Jacob slipped out grabbing his heel.  When they grow up, Jacob becomes a momma's boy and Isaac prefers the manly, firstborn, Esau.  Esau is your typical macho man.  He rushes in so hungry that he'll trade anything for Jacob's stew.  Hebrews 12:16 compares Esau's rage to sexual immorality.  You will sacrifice your dignity, future, health, anything just to satisfy your appetite for a minute.  And Jacob plays into this weakness, not helping him to see his folly but taking advantage of him. 

I'm going to reader's theater this one.  I might say a word and instead of saying a phrase with it, I might assign hand motions instead.  And I think I might make some kind of fruit salad instead of a stew so that the kids can understand to not seek to satisfy themselves, but seek the Fruits of the Spirit.  I might just do pictures of fruit.

1 comment:

  1. The sad thing about the account of Esau and Jacob is that Isaac fully intended to thwart God's will and give the blessing to Esau, regardless of what God had said, and that both Jacob and Rebekah tried to help God out by using trickery in order to accomplish His will. None of the three were operating by faith.

    Jacob did not need to "steal" either the birthright or the blessing, since they were already his, but he certainly tried to do so. If he and Rebekah had simply believed God, the right thing would have been accomplished without the consequences.

    It is amazing how the grace of God prevails in spite of human unbelief and rebelliousness. Some have wondered how God could hate Esau. A better question might be, "How could God love Jacob?" You are certainly right in stating they were both scoundrels, but Jacob was the son of promise, and God's promises are always fulfilled.

    I enjoy your blog when I have time to read it. Keep up the good work.