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For 7 April 2013

Calvary Tengah Bible-Presbyterian Church Structured Bible Class Lesson 2

THE UNEXPECTED PATRIARCH A Study of the Life of Jacob Partiality and Privilege (Genesis 25:24-34; Hebrews 12:15-17) The story of Esau is one of the saddest stories in the Bible. His father and grandfather were great patriarchs and his twin brother eventually became one. Indeed, his grandfather Abraham was alive for the first 15 years of his life. Yet, this man despised such a privileged background and influence to be known as a fornicator and a profane man, Looking diligently lest any man fail 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. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears. (Hebrews 12:15-17) Esau traded his soul for the pleasures of sin. He was a man governed by his sensual lusts and passions. Esau lived for the flesh and had little regard for anything spiritual. He wanted the physical blessings but had no time for spiritual blessings. God allowed Esau to prosper materially and he became a great nation but that was a poor second. By contrast, God will bring Jacob through difficulties and heartache before re-making him a prince who prevailed with God. It will take almost a century to accomplish this work-in-progress, but God is patient in making a man of God. Ray Pritchard observes, It took him 80 years to get Moses in shape. It took Him over a hundred years to get Jacob in shape. It takes Him a lifetime with most of us because the clay is pretty lumpyfull of rocks and stones and useless material. When God starts shaping the clay of the human heart, He wont stop until the job is done. These twin boys grew up together in the same family, but both ultimately went in different spiritual directions. It is difficult to conceive of twins who were so markedly different both in their earthly and eternal destinies.
And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esaus heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them. And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. (v2427)

SBC The Life of Jacob (Lesson Two)

For 7 April 2013

Calvary Tengah Bible-Presbyterian Church Structured Bible Class Lesson 2

Just as God had revealed, twin boys were in the womb of Rebekah. However, they were not identical twins as the firstborn, came out red, all over like an hairy garment. As the second child emerged, he took hold of the heel of Esau. He was named Jacob, which has the idea of usurper or supplanter. This action and name symbolises what Jacob would eventually do in taking the place of Esau as the spiritual leader of the covenant community that emerged from Abraham. Not only did the two boys differ in appearance, they had very different temperaments. Jacob was everything Esau was not and vice versa. Esau would feel most at home in the outdoors, whereas Jacob would prefer the indoor environment. We are told that Esau became, a cunning hunter, a man of the field, which gives the impression that he was rugged, daring, and flamboyant. He was a mans man and no doubt many were impressed by him. Of the two, he appeared the more natural leader and destined to succeed. Jacob, by contrast, we are told was a plain man, dwelling in tents. He preferred home life and a quieter, less daring manner of living. Of the two, Esau comes across as more transparent and straightforward whereas Jacob had a character that was harder to read. You never knew what thoughts were working in his cunning, self-serving mind. He more than matched Esau in guile.
And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob. (v28)

These differing temperaments, doubtless, contributed to the favouritism exhibited by the parents. It was a case of opposites attracting with the passive Isaac favouring the outgoing Esau and the domineering Rebekah favouring the mild, introverted Jacob. Isaac favoured Esau, because he did eat of his venison. Sadly, Isaacs love for Esau was not based on his spiritual character but because of pure fleshly instincts. Rebekah likely thought that Esau was crude and favoured the son who hung around the home with her. She may have even misapplied Gods prophecy to justify her partiality within the home. This deliberate choice to take sides in the home produced a dysfunctional family. Eventually it would lead to a family split, which produced years of heartache and bitterness. This spirit of partiality continued down the generations, as Jacob favoured Rachel over Leah and Joseph over his other brothers. FAVOURITISM The sin of favouritism or partiality has plagued mankind for centuries. Society is driven by this principle. It judges a person by: status, looks, wealth, material possessions, academic background, temperament, race etc. All of those things with God are non-issues. However, it is easy for

SBC The Life of Jacob (Lesson Two)

For 7 April 2013

Calvary Tengah Bible-Presbyterian Church Structured Bible Class Lesson 2

believers to fall into the same way of thinking as society in their families and in the church. The Bible reveals that God is a God who treats His children equally. Jehoshaphat warned the judges of Israel, Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts. (2 Chron. 19:7; cf. Acts 10:35). Paul warned the Colossians that race or wealth do not influence God, Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all (Col. 3:11). Peter also warned that God treats every mans sin equally, And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every mans work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear (1 Peter 1:17; cf. Col. 3:25; 4:1). Just because you are a leader in the church or society does not give you any particular privilege to sin. God does not overlook sin in any believer and neither should we do so. Indeed, Paul warns Timothy that elders must be held accountable when they sin in an impartial way, Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. (1 Tim. 5:19-21) As believers, we should aspire to treat each other as God treats every saint. The early church amazed the unsaved world by how the slave and the master, the Jew and the Greek, rich and the poor were able to sit around the Lords Table and regard one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. The ground is equal at the foot of the Cross. There were times when this was not always true. One of the first divisions in the early church was based on a perceived bias between Hebrew and Greek widows (cf. Acts 6). James wrote in his epistle to warn of partiality, My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy
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For 7 April 2013

Calvary Tengah Bible-Presbyterian Church Structured Bible Class Lesson 2

name by the which ye are called? If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. (James 2:1-9) James picks up an extreme example of partiality in the NT church the favouritism of the rich man over the poor man. He makes clear that to practice partiality within the Christian church or family is absolutely inconsistent with the Christian faith. Indeed, he calls it a sin. This does not mean that there cannot be different roles and authorities within the church and the home that we submit and honour. God has ordained those and we should obey His order. But what James is condemning is partiality based on mere outward appearance. James points out how unlike God that is. Since we are children of God we ought to act like God acts. So, how we react to people is a test of how we reflect Gods character. James explains why partiality is sinful: (1) You are setting yourself up as judges (v4) this usurps Gods sovereign role as judge. Even the best of us, tend to be poor judges of other believers (cf. 1 Sam. 16:9). (2)It tends to discriminate against the weak and the poor a people loved by God (v5). (3)It leads you to align yourself with the enemies of God (v6-7), as generally it was the rich who opposed Christianity in the early NT church age. The apostle Paul warned, And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath (Eph. 6:4). One of the ways parents can provoke their children to anger is partiality in the home. Children quickly learn to take advantage of this kind of favouritism. It is true that some individuals are easier to love than others. But that does not mean that it is right to do so. While a childs interests, disposition or abilities may tempt you to be partial, a parent should love each child equally and treat each child equally. All are made in the image of God and all have precious souls. The prevailing culture should not lead us our view towards our children but the Bible. We need to be on our guard in this area both in the home and in the church.
And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom. And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. (v29-31)

This day was one of the most defining moments in the lives and relationships of these twin brothers. Jacob may well have been aware of the prophecy of the Lord that he would take the position of Esau as the
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For 7 April 2013

Calvary Tengah Bible-Presbyterian Church Structured Bible Class Lesson 2

head of the family. Even if he was, it did not excuse the method he used to take it. Jacobs mode is wrong and it is notable he doesnt seek Gods guidance on this matter. The greater portion of the blame may be upon Esau, but there are no heroes in this story. As the eldest son, Esau was entitled to the birthright. In the patriarchal families, this conferred the right of religious leadership as the spiritual priest of the home. It brought with it a double portion of the fathers estate (Deut. 21:17; 1 Chron. 5:1-2), which signified his authority over his younger siblings. So it had both a material and a spiritual dimension. It was something that should have been highly prized by Esau. As Jacob was such a cunning character it is likely he had preplanned to trap his brother in such a moment, especially when he had seen Isaac favouring Esau. Jacob knew that Esau was a man driven by immediate gratification of his fleshly desires. So when he heard Esaus request, he sensed an opportunity had arisen for him to exploit for his own ends. Jacob was not prepared to let God raise him to the position God had ordained for him. He trusted Jacobs wisdom and power to get what he wanted. It took many years of painful molding in his life until Jacob eventually learned to wait on God. Indeed, if Jacob was a spiritual man he should have been content to serve his brothers physical needs with the heart of a servant so he could testify of Gods goodness to his unspiritual sibling. This service to his brother should have been unconditional and from a loving, generous spirit, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself (Mark 12:31; cf. Lev. 19:18).
And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright. (v32-34)

Esaus hunger was genuine but he greatly exaggerates his desperate need of food, Behold, I am at the point to die. He is a man totally controlled by his physical desires. So he was willing to trade any spiritual blessing for immediate gratification of his flesh. Nothing else mattered to him. His response was irrational, immature, and characterised his undisciplined life. Shrewd Jacob was not going to let this go easily without some contractual evidence. He wanted Esau to sware an oath to make this binding. Only once that was done, did Jacob hand over the bread and pottage of lentiles. The only commendable quality in Jacob here is that he at least recognised the value of sacred things, even though he got them the wrong way. Esau left without a second thought. He had no real appreciation and no desire for the birthright so he could throw it away for some bread and soup. Esau willingly bartered it for the momentary gratification of his
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For 7 April 2013

Calvary Tengah Bible-Presbyterian Church Structured Bible Class Lesson 2

appetite. He lived by the motto, let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die (1 Cor. 15:32). That is how he despised his birthright and why the Bible calls him a profane man. He had no care for the sacred as he just lived for the secular. Esau lived for Esau! It is no surprise that we learn in Hebrews 12 that he was also a fornicator as his sensual impulses were unrestrained also. Away from the home he had ample opportunity to engage his licentious instincts with the Canaanites around him. He later was sorrowful over losing the blessing but he did not repent of his sinful profanity (cf. Gen. 27:38, Heb. 12:15-17). So Esaus decision that day had irrevocable consequences. From the worlds perspective, Esau was a man to admire. He lived for the moment and was a mans man. As a natural leader, he was able to raise a band of over 400 men to follow him (cf. Gen. 32:6). He had multiple wives and fathered many children. A great nation named Edom emerged from his descendants. His legacy lasted centuries. However, he did not impress God. That is all that ultimately matters. God called him a fornicator and a profane man. Esau succeeded but, sadly, he succeeded at the wrong things. We live in a world that encourages us to think in the way of Esau. The spirit of Esau dominates the ungodly, Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others (Eph. 2:3). Donald Barnhouse notes, History shows that men prefer illusions to realities, choose time rather than eternity, and the pleasures of sin for a season rather than the joys of God forever. Men will read trash rather than the Word of God, and adhere to a system of priorities that leaves God out of their lives. Multitudes of men spend more time shaving than on their souls; and multitudes of women give more minutes to their makeup than to the life of the eternal spirit. Men still sell their birthright for a mess of pottage. There are even believers like Samson and Lot whose desire for the flesh is greater than their desire for spiritual things. All too many trade spiritual blessings for things that really matter for things that amount to nothing more than a bowl of lentil soup. We chase the shadows of material gain, social status, academic recognition, which ultimately we leave behind. Some sell their reputation, family, health, and Christian service for fleeting material gains. That is profane thinking and profane living. All of us are susceptible to this temptation. The story of Esau is one of profound warning to us all. The slide into living for the flesh can take place in an instant. The smallest of lifes decisions can lead to life-changing consequences. We shake our heads at Esaus shortsightedness but do we not do the same often?

SBC The Life of Jacob (Lesson Two)

For 7 April 2013

Calvary Tengah Bible-Presbyterian Church Structured Bible Class Lesson 2

Believers are to be governed by spiritual impulses over fleshly ones. We need to seek Gods gracious workings in our lives to show us what is truly important, and to give us patience and self-control (cf. Gal. 5:22-23). All of us stand in the place of Esau every single day. Dont trade what has eternal significance for what has none. The little choices we must make Will chart the course of life we take; We either choose the path of light Or wander off in darkest night.

SBC The Life of Jacob (Lesson Two)

For 7 April 2013

Calvary Tengah Bible-Presbyterian Church Structured Bible Class Lesson 2 QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

1.

What examples of partiality do you see in the world, church, and family?

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SBC The Life of Jacob (Lesson Two)

For 7 April 2013

Calvary Tengah Bible-Presbyterian Church Structured Bible Class Lesson 2

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SBC The Life of Jacob (Lesson Two)