We have begun a sermon series entitled “The Messy Life” in which we are discussing the life of Jacob. Jacob is one of the most interesting biblical persons to me because of how much God was able to do with someone with a “flawed” character (to say the least). We all have our faults and make bad decisions, but Jacob is a great lesson to all of us.
One other individual affected by Jacob was his twin brother Esau. Before beginning this study I have not placed proper emphasis on just how subjugated and cheated Esau truly was.
In Genesis 25:29-34 Esau came in from the field starving and his brother was cooking a pot of lentil stew. Jacob easily could have offered the brother he loved a bowl of this stew, but instead Esau was given a choice to either go hungry, or sell his birthright. Now, obviously, Esau should have chosen to not sell his precious birthright, but still was faced with a difficult choice in the moment. If Jacob had not tempted him and placed this scenario in front of him, the story would have ended very differently.
In our application from this account, we are not to despise that which is holy. “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears” (Hebrews 12:15-17).
But also I think this passage from Matthew comes into play: “Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!”(Matthew 18:7). The gist of this teaching is that being tempted into sin is an inevitable, but the one who does the tempting is at fault as well. Jacob epitomized this idea as a lesson to us.