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Sermon No: 90400-Covenants - Part 9c- The Abrahamic Covenant - JACOB



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SERMON TOPIC: Covenants - Part 9c- The Abrahamic Covenant - JACOB

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 21 July 2021

Topic Groups: JACOB, COVENANTS, GENESIS

Sermon synopsis: Just as Isaac was chosen over Ishmael, so Jacob was chosen over Esau. There are other examples of God choosing younger brothers over older ones.
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COVENANTS

THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT – JACOB

The promises to Abraham have 3 distinct strands:

Blessing to the nations

Descendants

Land

God appears to Isaac (the son of the free woman), not to Ishmael (the son of the slave woman) and re-affirms all the 3 Abrahamic covenant promises.

Gen 26:3-5 (NKJV) Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you … and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed…

PROMISES REAFFIRMED TO ISAAC

STRUGGLE FOR DOMINANCE

When Isaac’s wife, Rebekah becomes pregnant with twins – it seems as if they are already struggling for dominance while in her womb.

Gen 25:22 (NIV) The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, “Why is this happening to me?”

THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER

Gen 25:22-23 (NIV) So she went to inquire of the Lord. The Lord said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.”

Gen 25:24-26 (NIV) When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau. After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob.

Gen 25:24-26 (NIV) When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau. After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob.

The implication seems to be that Jacob is fighting to come out first – to be the firstborn.

Just as Isaac was chosen over Ishmael, so Jacob was chosen over Esau.

Just as Isaac was chosen over Ishmael, so Jacob was chosen over Esau.

There are other examples of God choosing unlikely candidates for his covenant blessings:

Judah was chosen over his 3 older brothers as the ancestor of the royal line and the recipient of the Abrahamic blessing.

Joseph was chosen over his 10 older brothers for the birthright.

David was chosen over his 7 older brothers as king.

The judges include:

a youngest son (Gideon)

an illegitimate son (Jephthah)

a woman (Deborah), even though this was a patriarchal society that privileged men.

GOD’S CHOICES

GOD’S CHOICES

Citing the Genesis 25:23 passage, Paul writes:

Rom 9:11-14 (NIV) Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all!

God’s election of Jacob and rejection of Esau are based on his foreknowledge. This is why he can choose “before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad”.

GOD’S CHOICES

John Chrysostom (circa 347–407) comments:

Whence also he says, Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated. That it was with justice, you indeed know from the result: but He knew it clearly even before the result. *

What then was the cause of why one was loved and the other hated?... With what intent then did God say this? Because He does not wait, as man does, to see from the issue of their acts the good and him who is not so, but even before these He knows which is the wicked and which not such… *

GOD’S CHOICES

Not only is the context of Romans 9 about nations (particularly Israel), the quote “Esau I have hated” in the passage is from the book of Malachi where it is speaking of the nations of Israel (Jacob) and Edom (Esau).

Malachi 1:3-4 (NIV) “Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his mountains into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.” Edom may say, “Though we have been crushed, we will rebuild the ruins”…

The covenant terms ‘love’ and ‘hate’ are used in Malachi 1 indicating that God chose Israel (descendants of Jacob) over Edom (descendants of Esau) as his covenant people and the line of the Messiah.

GOD’S FOREKNOWLEDGE OF EDOM’S LATER ACTIONS

Nevertheless, God’s treatment of the nation Edom was based on their (future, foreseen) actions – not because of some predestined unavoidable fate.

The book of Obadiah prophesies the destruction of Edom due to its lack of solidarity with Israel, when it was under attack. It is condemned for turning away from a neighbour in need and gloating over their misfortune.

Oba 1:12 (ESV) But do not gloat over the day of your brother in the day of his misfortune; do not rejoice over the people of Judah in the day of their ruin; do not boast in the day of distress.

The Edomites had forbidden their brother nation, Israel to cross their land during their Exodus from Egypt despite Moses imploring them twice.

The Edomites had forbidden their brother nation, Israel to cross their land during their Exodus from Egypt despite Moses imploring them twice.

Num 20:18-21 (NIV) But Edom answered: “You may not pass through here; if you try, we will march out and attack you with the sword.” The Israelites replied: “We will go along the main road, and if we or our livestock drink any of your water, we will pay for it. We only want to pass through on foot—nothing else.” Again they answered: “You may not pass through.” Then Edom came out against them with a large and powerful army. Since Edom refused to let them go through their territory, Israel turned away from them.

GOD’S FOREKNOWLEDGE OF EDOM’S LATER ACTIONS

EDOM’S FUTURE ACTIONS

At the time of the sacking of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar II in 597 BC, the Edomites had even encouraged the Babylonians.

Ps 137:7 (ESV) Remember, O LORD, against the Edomites the day of Jerusalem, how they said, “Lay it bare, lay it bare, down to its foundations!”

Hence Ezekiel prophesies against Edom:

Hence Ezekiel prophesies against Edom:

Ezek 35:5-6 (NKJV) “Because you have had an ancient hatred, and have shed the blood of the children of Israel by the power of the sword at the time of their calamity, when their iniquity came to an end, therefore, as I live,” says the Lord God, “I will prepare you for blood, and blood shall pursue you; since you have not hated blood, therefore blood shall pursue you.”

ESAU I HAVE HATED

But why use the term “hate” which has such negative connotations? Doesn’t the scripture say that “God is love”?

The term for “hate” in Malachi 1 is a Hebrew idiom which meaning to “love less.” We see this in Genesis 29:30-31 where the phrase “loved Rachel more than Leah” is used as the equivalent of “Leah was hated”.

Gen 29:30-31 (ESV) So Jacob … loved Rachel more than Leah, and served Laban for another seven years.

When the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.

GOD’S CHOICES

A hyperbole is a figure of speech which is a deliberately exaggerated statement not meant to be taken literally but to emphasize a point.

E.g. "the bag weighed a ton" simply means that the bag was extremely heavy.

At times the Bible uses the terms ‘hate’ and ‘love’ as hyperboles in order to indicate a preference.

Luke 14:26 (NIV) “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.”

God doesn’t expect us to hate our families—we are explicitly told to honour our father and mothers (Matt 15:4), to love our wives (Eph 5:25), husbands and children (Titus 2:4).

God doesn’t expect us to hate our families—we are explicitly told to honour our father and mothers (Matt 15:4), to love our wives (Eph 5:25), husbands and children (Titus 2:4).

But this indicates a preference—choosing God above our families. This is apparent by cross-referencing the passage in Matthew.

Matt 10:37 (NIV) “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me”

So loving your family less is equated with the “hating” your family in Luke 14:26.

Now here is another example:

NOT WOODEN LITERALISM

Now here is another example:

Luke 16:13 (NIV) “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.”

These extremes of feeling are not meant to be taken literally; the point is that one master will get more dedication than the other.

AN OUTDOORS AND INDOORS MAN

Gen 25:27-28 (NASB 1995) When the boys grew up, Esau became a skilful hunter, a man of the field, but Jacob was a peaceful man, living in tents.

JACOB OBTAINS THE BIRTHRIGHT

Gen 25:29-30 (NASB) When Jacob had cooked a stew one day, Esau came in from the field and he was exhausted; and Esau said to Jacob, “Please let me have a mouthful of that red stuff there, for I am exhausted.” Therefore he was called Edom by name.

Gen 25:31 (NIV) Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.”

Gen 25:31 (NIV) Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.”

Traditionally the birthright belonged to the eldest son (i.e. Esau). However Jacob convinces Esau to sell the birthright for some lentil stew, confirming it with an oath.

Gen 25:32-34 (NIV) "Look, I am about to die," Esau said. "What good is the birthright to me?“ But Jacob said, "Swear to me first." So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.

Gen 25:32-34 (NIV) "Look, I am about to die," Esau said. "What good is the birthright to me?“ But Jacob said, "Swear to me first." So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.

Esau melodramatically claims to be so hungry that he is “about to die.” His motto in life is somewhat like the modern saying, “If it feels good, do it!” Jacob seizes the opportunity to trade him food for his birthright.

SELLING A BIRTHRIGHT?

Could an inherent right like a birthright be sold or transferred in this way?

There is a 15th Century BC text from Nuzi as a parallel where a man named Tupkitilla transfers his inheritance rights to a grove over to his brother Kurpazah in exchange for three sheep. *

Though Esau sells his birthright on the spur of the moment in a casual setting, it seems to have been considered binding. Neither Esau nor Isaac seem to question that Jacob has indeed obtained the birthright (25:34; 27:35-36). *

NO SECOND THOUGHT

Gen 25:31-34 (NIV) Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright.

He doesn’t seem to have a second thought about what he has done. He did it, it felt good, and only later would he come to regret it.

MISTAKE AS ESSENTIAL THAT WHICH IS NOT

What can we learn from Jacob and Esau’s behaviour?

Esau’s priorities were wrong. It’s easy to mistake as essential that which really is not.

Esau thought that he needed food. That sounds like an essential need, but it isn’t. His essential need was to obey God and seek His purpose. *

Esau mistook as essential that which really was not, and he shrugged off as not essential that which really is. *

Spiritual matters were nice, but not necessary, for Esau. So he traded his soul for a bowl of soup. *

MISTAKE AS ESSENTIAL THAT WHICH IS NOT

The people to whom Moses was writing were in danger of doing the same thing. They had left slavery in Egypt and were headed for the promised land. God had taken them on a detour to teach them to endure hardship and warfare so that they would be ready to conquer the land. But a lot of them grumbled. They thought they needed good drinking water, food, shelter, and protection from their enemies. *

MISTAKE AS ESSENTIAL THAT WHICH IS NOT

Those are essentials. If Moses couldn’t provide those things, they would go back to Egypt. They were willing to give up their spiritual heritage of God’s promises to Abraham in order to gain the comforts they lacked. But Moses is showing them that the essential thing is that they do the will of God, even if it’s difficult. If they will do His will, He will take care of the other essentials of life. *

Like Esau, have you gotten confused as to what is essential and what is not?

Like Esau, have you gotten confused as to what is essential and what is not?

Have you sold your spiritual birthright for fleeting pleasure, simply to gratify your immediate needs?

You work long hours to make extra money ‑ and ruin your family and your health in the process.

You live a very busy life, because you think making a lot of money is essential.

You spend hours watching inane TV shows, but don’t have time to nurture your soul.

You spend hours watching inane TV shows, but don’t have time to nurture your soul.

MISTAKE AS ESSENTIAL THAT WHICH IS NOT

You endanger your health and even your life by taking drugs, drinking, and sexual promiscuity.

All of this because you believe feeling good right now is essential, but feeling good throughout eternity is somehow secondary.

Esau had no thought for consequences and prefers instant gratification.

Esau had no thought for consequences and prefers instant gratification.

To paraphrase, Esau says "I want it now. I can't wait." But in so doing, he bargains away future options.

He trades his soul for fleeting pleasure. He sells his birthright, which includes not only material benefits, but spiritual blessings - for a plate of food.

He is reminiscent of Adam and Eve who trades paradise for a piece of fruit.

Jacob, however, is prepared to live with delayed gratification. He denies himself in the present in order to obtain what he values most at a future date.

He is like Moses who “chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.” (Heb 11:25. NIV)

INSTANT GRATIFICATION

INSTANT GRATIFICATION

In Hebrews 12, Jesus is also contrasted with Esau. While Esau could not miss one meal for the joy of his inheritance, Jesus “endured the cross for the joy set before him”.

Esau:

who for a single meal

sold his birthright (12:16)

Jesus:

who for the joy set before him

endured the cross (12:2)

Each of us face temptation to get gratification immediately. We want instant success, instant pleasure, instant wealth, instant popularity. And for this we trade away our future.

LOSE GREAT BLESSINGS

You can lose great blessings if you do not appreci­ate them.

Esau was born into a situation with great blessings. He wasn’t born into a pagan home, where his parents worshipped idols and abused him. *

He was the son of Isaac and Rebekah, grandson of Abraham, the friend of God. No doubt, during the first 15 years of Esau’s life, while Abraham was alive, his grandfather had taught him about God and His covenant promises. Surely that teaching had been reinforced by Isaac and Rebekah. *

Esau had great spiritual privileges. But he threw them away because he didn’t appreciate them. *

DESPISING THE BIRTHRIGHT

Later, after Jacob procured the blessing as well, Esau would accuse him of deception in both cases.

Gen 27:36 (ESV) Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has cheated me these two times. He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing.”

But in the first case there was no trickery. Jacob took advantage of Esau’s lack of willpower and exacted a binding promise from him – in a weak moment.

Esau blames Jacob because he “took away” his birthright but the author of Genesis blames Esau for “despising” it and in so doing proving himself to be "godless".

ESAU WAS GODLESS

We might think that Esau was all brawn and no brain – not a good person to have as a business partner. The more savvy Jacob knew this and took advantage of him.

But the Bible doesn’t accuse Esau of stupidity – it calls him godless. The author of Hebrews calls him a profane person. A "profaner" is one who takes the sacred lightly or treats it with contempt.

The Greek word literally describes one standing in front of a temple (where God dwells) rather than within it, suggesting one not admitted into the body of true knowledge. Esau displays his profanity by treating something hallowed—his birthright—as if it were common. *

THE BLESSING

The birthright is not the Abrahamic blessing - this was contained in the later blessing that Jacob obtained.

Gen 27:29 (ESV) “May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed.”

BIRTHRIGHT NOT THE ABRAHAMIC BLESSING

That the birthright and Abrahamic blessing are separate is reinforced by the case of Jacob’s sons, Joseph received the birthright but the Abrahamic blessing (all nations blessed by his seed) went to Judah – through whom Christ came.

1 Chron 5:1-2 (ESV) The sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel (for he was the firstborn, but because he defiled his father’s couch, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel, so that he could not be enrolled as the oldest son; though Judah became strong among his brothers and a chief came from him, yet the birthright belonged to Joseph)

THE BIRTHRIGHT

But what exactly is it that Esau sold?

The birthright had to do with:

Position: The firstborn son “inherited the leadership of the family and the judicial authority of his father.” *

Inheritance rights

THE BIRTHRIGHT

The double portion of possessions and property given to the firstborn was seemingly only introduced by Moses years later.

Deut 21:17 (ESV) but he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the unloved, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the firstfruits of his strength. The right of the firstborn is his.

It appears that in the time of the Patriarchs, the firstborn got everything.

Gen 25:5-6 (NIV) Abraham left everything he owned to Isaac. But while he was still living, he gave gifts to the sons of his concubines and sent them away from his son Isaac to the land of the east.

ESAU WAS GODLESS

If the birthright was simply acquiring the property and possessions, why would Esau be godless for rejecting that?

The birthright holder was the spiritual leader of the family. At that time God dealt with the family head and this was only ended when the Levites assumed this role.

Numbers 3:11-12 (NASB) Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Now, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the sons of Israel instead of every firstborn, the first issue of the womb among the sons of Israel. So the Levites shall be Mine.

Thus Esau placed no value on being a spiritual leader through whom God would direct the family.

TRADING YOUR BIRTHRIGHT

* https:// bible.org/seriespage/lesson-50-trading-your-soul-what-genesis-2527-34-heb-1216-17

Esau struck a bad bargain. But don’t we often do the same?

For example, a man decides to trade family time for business success. He loses his wife and children. Bad bargain! *

A Christian leader decides to exchange some of his time for sexual pleasure outside of his marriage. It costs him his ministry, a lot of family pain, and greatly damages the cause of Christ. Really bad bargain! It costs far more than it provides. *

Have you traded your birthright (that which is precious) for fleshly gratification?

TRADING YOUR BIRTHRIGHT

You might have traded your soul for something. The question is, For what? When it’s all over what will you have to show for it?

Mark 8:36-37 (NKJV) For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

We must be on guard to prevent the lusts of the flesh demanding instant gratification and forfeiting eternal treasure.

James 1:14–15 (ESV) But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

TRADING YOUR BIRTHRIGHT

A world‑class runner entered a 10‑K race in Connecticut. On the day of the race she drove from New York City, following the directions, or so she thought, given over the phone. She got lost, stopped at a gas station, and asked for help. She knew only that the race started in a shopping mall parking lot. The attendant also knew of such a race scheduled just up the road. When she arrived she was relieved to see that there weren’t as many runners as she had anticipated. She hurried to the registration table, announced herself, and was surprised at the race officials’ excitement at having so renowned an athlete show up for their event. *

THE WRONG RACE

* Ibid.

No, they had no record of her entry, but if she would hurry and put on this number, she could be in line just before the gun would go off. She ran and won easily‑four minutes ahead of the first man! *

Only after the race did she learn that the race she had run was not the race she had entered earlier. That race was being held several miles farther up the road in another town. She had gone to the wrong starting line, run the wrong course, and won a cheap prize. *

RUNNING IN THE WRONG RACE

You only get one shot at the race of life. Are you wasting your life by running in the wrong race?

If you’re living for what meets your immediate needs, just using God for what He can do for you, you’ll end up losing the spiritual blessings which count for eternity. You’re trading your soul for the wrong things. *

But if you’ll live to further God’s purpose of blessing all nations through the Lord Jesus Christ, you’ll be eternally blessed. *

SMALL CHOICES – GREAT CONSEQUENCES

Esau’s actions show us that small choices can have drastic consequences.

Someone has said that the difference between school and life is that in school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test which teaches you a lesson. A lot of times those tests sneak up on you and are over with before you realize what happened. In life, the teacher doesn’t come into the room and announce, “The next few minutes are going to be an important test. Please think carefully before answering, because the results of this test will affect you for years to come.” Instead, you’re into the test situation, you make some decisions based on your thinking and behaviour up to that time, and you come out of the test without realizing immediately what just happened. Time reveals the results. *

* Ibid.

So a teacher isn’t going to walk into the room of life and announce that your important test is about to begin. A warning light might not flash.

On the surface, it doesn’t seem like a big deal. But it’s a critical moment, and your deci­sion can shape the rest of your life. *

Maybe it’s an offer from a friend to try drugs. *

Perhaps it’s an occasion to go to bed with your boyfriend, or to cheat on your marriage. *

It may be a chance to make a lot of money in a wrong way. *

Often, you’ve got to make a quick decision. The decision you make may turn around and make or break you! *

* Ibid.

Though Esau’s decision was impulsive, it stemmed from years of disregarding spiritual things - the culmination of a series of small choices over the course of his life.

Heb 12:16 calls Esau a godless (= profane) person. He lacked God’s perspective on life. He was not concerned about spiritual matters. He lived for the here and now. *

“Who needs a birthright?” he thought. “After all, I may be dead tomorrow. What I need now is a good meal. What good is a birthright if I starve to death?” Those who cast off God’s moral standards often excuse it by saying that they had to meet their “need.” We’re buying into the notion that our needs take priority. *

Jesus said that God knows your needs and you can be trusted to take care of them. You need to seek first his kingdom and righteousness” (Matt 6:31‑33).

WHAT YOU REALLY NEED

LASTING CONSEQUENCES

What’s frightening about Esau’s impulsive decision is the drastic and lasting consequences.

Hebrews 12:17 says that “afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.” *

Later he felt badly about what he had given up. He could see that his decision had been foolish and hasty. But even though he felt badly, he had operated so long on the principle of living for immediate gratification, he couldn’t turn from his selfish ways to God. *

He later wanted what God could give him, but he didn’t want God. That would mean yielding his life to God, and that was too big a price to pay. *

JACOB WAS GODLY

We find that while Esau was godless, Jacob was godly.

Gen 25:27 (ESV) … Esau was a skilful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet [tam] man, dwelling in tents.

(NKJV) … but Jacob was a mild [tam] man, dwelling in tents.

(NIV) … while Jacob was content to stay at home among the tents.

Jacob is described with the Hebrew word “tam,” which is normally translated as “blameless” and there needs to be good contextual evidence to translate it otherwise. Such evidence is lacking. The NASB 1995 rendering is better:

(NASB 1995) … but Jacob was a peaceful [tam] man, living in tents.

JACOB WAS GODLY

Noah is described as “blameless” (Gen 6:9) and Abram is commanded to be “blameless” (Gen 17:1) using a variation of the same word (tamim).

Job is described as “blameless” in Job 1:1 using the very same word.

Four more times in Job tâm is used; once, like the verb above in Job 22:3, paralleled with "righteous", twice in opposition to "wicked" and "evildoers". So it is clear here that the word describes someone's character as beyond reproach and unbending under test or temptation. *

Deut 18:13 (NKJV) You shall be blameless (tamim) before the LORD your God

JACOB WAS GODLY

The NASB (1995) translates it as blameless (5), blameless man (1), complete (2), guiltless (3), integrity (1), perfect one (2) but in this verse as “peaceful”.

The KJV translates it as "perfect“ (9), "undefiled" (2), "upright" (1) but uniquely only in this verse as "plain".

Josh 24:14 (NKJV) Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity (tamim) and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD!

Judg 9:16 (NKJV) Now therefore, if you have acted in truth and sincerity (tamim) in making Abimelech king [cf. 9:19]

JACOB WAS GODLY

2 Sam 22:24 (NKJV) I was also blameless (tamim) before Him, And I kept myself from my iniquity.

2 Sam 22:26 (NKJV) “With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful; With a blameless (tamim) man You will show Yourself blameless;

Twice the word is used in Psalms. In Psalm 37:37 it is again paired with "upright" yâshâr just as in Job 1:1,8; 2:3. *

Again in its sole occurrence in the book of Proverbs 29:10 it occurs with "upright" yâshâr in opposition to the "bloodthirsty". *

JACOB WAS GODLY

The only other occurrences are in the Song of Songs (5:2; 6:9) where the word is used to describe the physical perfection of the lover "My dove, my perfect one". The dove was the only bird to be considered "clean", a physical token of uprightness, for sacrifice under the Mosaic legislation (Leviticus 5:7). *

Thus translating “tam” as “quiet”, “civilised”, “mild” in Gen 25:27 seems inconsistent with its usage elsewhere. “Peaceful” in the NASB (1995) is probably the best rendering of the lot.

We’re happy to think of Noah, Abraham and Job as “blameless” but not Jacob. Has the negative view of Jacob’s early character shaped the translation?

JACOB WAS GODLY

The author of the Book of Jubilees * understands it this way:

Jubilees 42:13 And in the sixth week, in the second year thereof, Rebecca bare to Isaac two sons, Jacob and Esau, and Jacob was a smooth and upright man, and Esau was fierce, a man of the field, and hairy, and Jacob dwelt in tents.

Targum Jonathan expands as follows:

But Jakob was a man peaceful in his words, a minister of the instruction-house of Eber, seeking instruction before the Lord.

In other words, this targum asserts that Jacob was already assuming the role of spiritual leader – which we saw was the true meaning of the birthright.

JACOB WAS GODLY

Jacob is typically viewed in a negative light because of this transaction where he obtained the birthright.

Yet, in contrast to Esau who is called profane or godless, Jacob is called “blameless”.

Secondly, God had formerly told Rebekah that Jacob, and not Esau, would inherit the covenant (Gen 25:22-23).

Furthermore, the Bible attributes failure to Esau, not Jacob (Gen 25:34, Heb 12:16).

Jubilees 53:6-7 says that “Esau despised his birthright … And Jacob became the elder, and Esau was brought down from his dignity.”

RIGHT THINGS FOR WRONG REASONS

Yet we learn from Jacob that we can desire the right things for the wrong reasons and try to get them in the wrong way.

Jacob was right to desire the birthright but was wrong to take it in the way he did - by taking advantage of Esau’s hunger and impetuous personality.

Although it was God’s will for Jacob to ultimately have the blessings of the birthright, he took it in the wrong way.

Jacob should have waited on God to fulfil his promises.

THE ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS?

Later in the Book of Genesis we find Jacob becoming the recipient of the Abrahamic blessing in a deceptive way.

Again he desires the right thing (to be a blessing to the nations) but acquires it in the wrong manner. He assumes the ends justifies the means.

We find that later in his life, God dealt with this deceiver by letting him get a dose of his own medicine.

RIGHT THINGS FOR WRONG REASONS

Some people are like Jacob – they are here at church today, not because they want to see God fulfil his purpose (to bless all nations through his people), but rather for what being a Christian will do for them.

Some pastors even present the gospel from the angle of what Jesus can do for you.

Don’t misunderstand‑being a Christian has wonderful benefits! God gives peace and joy. He puts broken marriages together. He gives you wisdom for raising your children. There’s hardly an area of life where God’s Word will not have a positive impact if you apply it. *

But if you’re a Christian just for what it can do for you, then you’re chasing the right thing for the wrong reason.

God doesn’t bless you so that you can live for yourself. He blesses you because he wants to use you to fulfil his purposes (being a blessing to others).

Prov 11:25 (ESV) Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.

2 Cor 9:8 (ESV) And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

2 Cor 9:11 (ESV) You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.

PRAYER: “Lord show me how I can be a blessing to others today.”

CONCLUSION

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is discord, union; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; And where there is sadness, joy.

A PRAYER OF FRANCIS OF ASSISI (1181/2-1226)

O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; To be understood, as to understand; To be loved, as to love;

For it is in giving that we receive, It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from:

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Other Scripture quotations taken from:

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

The New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.




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