January 09

Read Genesis 25 -- 27

In Today's Reading:

As the great Patriarch Abraham dies, we meet Isaac's family -- his wife Rebekah, their twin sons, Jacob and Esau. Which one are you able to relate to as God reveals their weaknesses, failures, and blessings?

Verse for Today:

Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? (Genesis 25:32).

Highlights:

Abraham's marriage to Keturah; his death; birth of Jacob and Esau; Esau sells his birthright; Isaac digs wells; Isaac blesses Jacob with the Abrahamic Covenant.

Esau could not have been at the point of death by missing one meal. He could have asked either his mother or one of his Canaanite wives for a meal.

As the firstborn twin, Esau was entitled to the Abrahamic Covenant, which gave him the privilege of being the spiritual leader of the tribe and serving as its priest. But, this worldly-minded man saw no value in spiritual responsibilities. Consequently, Esau sold his birthright for what he thought it was worth, just a bowl of soup to satisfy his appetite. This exposed his contempt for the Covenant promise which God had given to his grandfather Abraham. God calls him a profane person (Hebrews 12:16), and both the Old and New Testament record: Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated (Malachi 1:2-3; Romans 9:13).

Two different ways of life are evident in the lives of these twin brothers. While Esau was living to satisfy his present desires, Jacob looked beyond things on earth and became a great man of faith. As a result, he obtained the privilege of being an ancestor of Jesus the Messiah.

Jacob was often treated unfairly, such as when Isaac planned to cheat him out of his birthright by giving it to his favorite son Esau. But, at the moment Isaac realized that Rebekah had thwarted his evil scheme, he suddenly trembled very exceedingly (Genesis 27:33). He realized how he had sinned against God and said to Esau: I have blessed him (Jacob), and he shall be blessed, an obvious admission of how terribly wrong he had been. There is no hint that Isaac thought that Rebekah did wrong, for he knew God's promise (25:23) and he knew that God had intercepted his scheme. Isaac then openly conferred the Abrahamic Covenant upon Jacob (28:1-4).

Through these trials, God was preparing Jacob to be one of the great spiritual leaders of the people of God -- a prince (who has) power with God and with men (32:28). The Hebrew word Yaacov (Jacob) is translated "supplanter." One of the definitions of supplant in Webster's Dictionary is "to take the place of and serve as a substitute, especially by reason of superior excellence." Throughout Scripture, God records His highest praise and blessing for Jacob: The Lord has chosen Jacob to Himself, and Israel for His peculiar treasure (Psalms 135:4). Like Esau, many today have ignored their spiritual opportunities. Paul wrote: Demas (a coworker with the Apostle Paul) has forsaken me, having loved this present world (2 Timothy 4:10). As a warning to all, God verifies Esau's indifference to spiritual values: Looking diligently lest any one fail (fall short) of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright (Hebrews 12:15-16).

A Thought from Proverbs: Honor the Lord with your substance, and with the firstfruits (first part) of all your increase (income): So shall your barns be filled with plenty (3:9-10).

Christ Revealed:

As the spiritual Seed of Abraham (Genesis 26:4). All true believers in Christ are the children of promise (John 1:12-13; 1 John 3:9).

Word Studies:

25:16 castles = settlements or camps; 25:23 from thy bowels = from within your body; 25:27 cunning = skillful; 25:29 sod pottage = cooked lentil stew; 26:8 sporting with = caressing, expressing love to; 26:10 lightly = ignorantly; 26:13 waxed = grew; 26:14 great store = a great number; 26:19 springing water = flowing, underground spring; 26:21 Sitnah = enmity, anger; 26:31 betimes = early in the morning; 26:33 Shebah = oath; Beer-sheba = well of oath; 27:19 badest me = told me; 27:28 corn = grain in general; 27:36 supplanted = taken the place of; 27:42 as touching thee = concerning you.

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Michael Capuano (MA) and Gov. Bill Graves (KS) · Pray for your Sunday School teacher · Country: Nauru (11,000) in the central Pacific · Major languages: Nauruan and English · Religious freedom · 57% Protestant; 24% Roman Catholic; 10% Buddhist and Chinese folk-religionist · Prayer Suggestion: Cry out to God in humility (Psalms 9:12).

Optional Reading: Matthew 9

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:3