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Do You Help Or Exploit?
Gen. 25:29-34; 27:6-8, 15-19, 34-36      Feb. 24, 2008


Introduction

This battle over a birthright seems unusual to us. Jacob and Esau knew the importance of this blessing but Esau, famished with hunger, sold it for a meal of bread, beans, and lentils. His appetite ruled him; one commentator asked how many church members would look at their watch and think of food if the preacher goes past noon? Well moving right along, what kind of a brother makes his brother promise his birthright before he will give him anything to eat? Probably some of us have seen examples of sibling rivalry that could equal Jacob and Esau. We need to ask the question when opportunities for service come, Do You Help Or Exploit?

1. Do You Help Or Exploit Through Your . . Self-centeredness? 25:29-34

A. Self-centeredness To Exploit A . . Birthright. 25:29-31
    29 Once when Jacob was cooking a stew, Esau came in from the field, exhausted. 30 He said to Jacob, "Let me eat some of that red stuff, because I'm exhausted." That is why he was also named Edom.  31 Jacob replied, "First sell me your birthright."

B. Self-centeredness To Exploit . . Bread and Food. 25:32-34
    32 "Look," said Esau, "I'm about to die, so what good is a birthright to me?" 33 Jacob said, "Swear to me first." So he swore to Jacob and sold his birthright to him. 34 Then Jacob gave bread and lentil stew to Esau; he ate, drank, got up, and went away. So Esau despised his birthright. HCSB

        The "birthright" gave the oldest son the spiritual leadership of the family, and a double portion of the inheritance. The word "birthright" is only used ten times in the Bible and six of those relate to Jacob and Esau.  It could be sold, or given away, and Esau must not have wanted to be the spiritual leader. However at this time Jacob's credentials did not recommend him for spiritual leadership either. Jacob exploited Esau to gain a second portion of the inheritance, and used bread and beans. I can't imagine the food being that good!

2. Do You Help Or Exploit Through Your . . Schemes? 27:6-8, 15-19

A. Schemes . . Concocted By A Mother. 27:6-8
    6 Rebekah said to her son Jacob, "Listen! I heard your father talking with your brother Esau. He said,  7 'Bring me some game and make some delicious food for me to eat so that I can bless you in the
Lord's presence before I die.' 8 Now obey every order I give you, my son.

B. Schemes . . Carried Out By A Son. 27:15-17
    15 Then Rebekah took the best clothes of her older son Esau, which were there at the house, and had her younger son Jacob wear them. 16 She put the goatskins on his hands and the smooth part of his neck. 17 Then she handed the delicious food and the bread she had made to her son Jacob.

C. Schemes . . Corrupted With Falsehood. 27:18-19
    18 When he came to his father, he said, "My father." And he answered, "Here I am. Who are you, my son?"  19 Jacob replied to his father, "I am Esau, your firstborn. I have done as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of my game so that you may bless me."

        Rebekah concocted a scheme, that Jacob carried out through their corrupt methods. They schemed to trick Isaac. This is certainly not an example to follow. In the background of this story we know these brothers were twins and fought even before they were born. Rebekah love Jacob more than Esau, and Isaac loved Esau more than Jacob, (Gen. 25:28). Parents should not love one child more than another, but many times one child expresses ways and manners that identifies them more to one parent that other. Esau loved the outdoors, and Jacob preferred a shepherd's life.

3. Do You Help Or Exploit Through Your . . Secondary Blessings? 27:34-36

A. The . . Request For A Secondary Blessings. 27:34-35
    34 When Esau heard his father's words, he cried out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, "Bless me--me too, my father!" 35 But he replied, "Your brother came deceitfully and took your blessing."

B. The . . Rallying For A Secondary Blessings. 27:36
    36 So he said, "Isn't he rightly named Jacob? For he has cheated me twice now. He took my birthright, and look, now he has taken my blessing." Then he asked, "Haven't you saved a blessing for me?" HCSB

        Esau came in after Isaac mistakenly gave his blessing to Jacob. Esau made a request for a blessing from his father. He sought this blessing through a loud voice and bitter cry. In the traditions of the time Isaac could not revoke the blessing he gave to Jacob. Esau called attention to Jacob's name which means, "heel-catcher, or supplanter." He did this while calling attention to the two times Jacob cheated him. Esau threatened Jacob but in later years did not fulfill his promised threat. Looking at this story may encourage us to help our fellow man rather than exploit him; I would think that is especially true as it relates to family members. Hopefully we can say we will help rather than exploit when we are asked, Do You Help Or Exploit? Amen? Amen!!