Jacob and Esau
Our bible story continues this week with the story of Esau and Jacob- twin brothers. But this is still a small part of God’s great big story…time for a song
God’s love is big, God’s love is great.
And it is this big great love of God that is in our story today. He loved Abraham and Sarah very much and gave them their longed for son Isaac. Now Isaac is all grown up and needs a wife so that God’s promise to Abraham can be fulfilled.
God would make Abraham’s descendants as countless as the stars in the sky.
Last week we learned about Abraham’s servant travelling to another country to find Isaac a wife. He found her by a well. Rebekah had gone there to get water and when she offered Abraham's servant water and enough for his camels, he knew that Rebekah was the right woman for Isaac.
Rebekah left her home with Abraham's servant to be with Isaac and they saw Isaac while he was in the field. Rebekah put on her veil to cover her face. Isaac was 40 when he married Rebekah and he loved her. Abraham lived 175 years.
Rebekah didn't have a baby for 20 years, and then they had twins! They didn’t look alike at all. The first baby was all hairy and red and they called him Esau which means red. Then his brother was born. They named him Jacob. Jacob means ‘holder of the heel.’ Isaac was 60 when they were born.
So let’s hear the story of Esau and Jacob.
God told Rebekah that even though Jacob was the younger son, he would have the birthright.
** Usually the older son received the birthright. A birthright in Bible times was a custom that the oldest received 2 different blessings. The things that you have around you, like money, land, food and animals were given to the oldest twice as much as the other children the father has. The firstborn was also considered head of the family. The other part of the blessing, being the oldest, meant he offered the sacrifices and taught the family about God. Eventually, these men were ancestors to Jesus.
The boys grew up and Esau was a skilful hunter. He liked to be outside. He was a big strong man with hair all over him. Isaac loved Esau the most. But Jacob liked to stay inside in the tent. And Rebekah love Jacob the most because he was a gentle man and stayed in the tents.
One day Jacob cooked a stew and when Esau came in from the field, he was so hungry and tired, Esau asked Jacob for some of the stew. Jacob said “Sell me your birthright and you can have some.” Esau replied to Jacob “Well, I’m so hungry I’m about to die anyway, so why not?” Jacob gave Esau bread and stew, and then Esau was sorry that he had made the trade.
(Genesis 27:1) Years later Isaac was sick and couldn’t see well. Isaac called the oldest son, Esau in to see him. Isaac was also very rich and didn’t think he was going to live much longer. Isaac told Esau "Go hunt a deer and cook it for me as I like it and bring it to me." Rebekah heard this and told Jacob. She told Jacob to get 2 goats and she would cook them for Isaac how he liked it.
After the meat was cooked, Rebekah put clothing on Jacob and fur from a goat on his hands and neck to make him hairy like his brother Esau. Rebekah wanted Jacob to fool Isaac! So, that is what Jacob did. Jacob told Isaac that he was his brother, Esau. When Isaac asked Jacob how he found the meat so fast, Jacob replied that God put it there for him.
Isaac said, “Come over here and let me feel you to see if you are Esau.” Isaac said “You sound like Jacob, but feel like Esau.” Isaac ate the meat and gave the blessing to Jacob that should have gone to the firstborn son, Esau.
As soon as Isaac was done with the blessing, Esau came in from hunting and took the food in to Isaac. Isaac said “I have already eaten and given the blessing. Your brother came in and deceived me.”
Esau was so angry with Jacob; Esau said he would kill Jacob. Rebekah heard about this and sent Jacob to her brother’s house to keep Jacob safe until Esau wasn’t so angry.
There are several things very wrong in this story:
1. Isaac did not love his children equally, he loved Esau more than Jacob.
2. Rebekah didn’t love her children equally- she loved Jacob more than Esau and encouraged him to do wrong and steal Esau’s birth-right (like a formal blessing making him head of the household on Isaac’s death).
3. Jacob knew what he was doing was wrong- but did it anyway.
4. Esau was very angry- so angry he wanted to kill his brother.
Questions for you to think about…
· Have you ever been encouraged to do something which you know is wrong?
· And did you do it?
· Have you ever been really angry with someone- so much so that you really hated them?
It is difficult in life when we feel we have been wronged and even more difficult to forgive.
Jesus knew this would be difficult for us, so he put a line into the special prayer he gave us…The Lord’s Prayer.
Let us pray this together...
Our Father in heaven
Hallowed by your name
Your kingdom come
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us”
Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours
Now and for ever. Amen.
This is a prayer to help us through each day of our lives because God wants what is best for us. It helps us to forgive.
1. Esau and Jacob
Esau and Jacob were twins- Esau was a hairy man and Jacob’s skin was smooth.
Needed 1 sheet of paper with a fold down the middle.
On the top sheet, draw a man making sure his arm and leg ends on the fold. Cut him out. When you unfold the paper you will have two men exactly the same (which is what twin brothers are, although they make look different).
Decorate one in bits of wool (or spaghetti strands) or anything “hairy”. This is Esau. The other is Jacob.
2. Fire and Stew-pot
Use your imagination to make this…..You will need some tall sticks, some smaller sticks for firewood and some orange and yellow paper for the flames. Some cotton to tie it all up with, a paperclip to hang the stew-pot. Cut out a yoghurt pot to make the pot. Have a go!
And finally…our song
Gonna jump up and down