Ten Life Lessons from Jacob and Esau — Genesis 30
1. When the LORD chose Jacob over Esau to carry on the genetic line from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to King David and Jesus Christ, God’s decision had nothing to do with their ultimate salvation. The LORD is King, and He had to choose between these two twins to achieve His plan of salvation — both could not be directly in the ancestral line of Jesus the Messiah. God has an individualized purpose for each of His children, and God’s gifts to each one will differ according to His plans.
2. God did not approve of Esau and Jacob making a bargain regarding Esau’s inheritance (birthright). Esau’s inheritance was not his to sell; it was Isaac’s to give. We need to prayerfully consider our rights and responsibilities, and the possible long-term consequences of our decisions.
3. God did not approve of Rebekah’s and Jacob’s deception and lying, but their deceptions did not interfere with His purposes. God does not want us to use evil, sinful, or wrong ways or means to achieve our goals or what we suppose are God’s goals for us.
4. The LORD told Rebekah before her twins were born that the older would serve the younger, and the LORD did not need or desire a deceptive mother and son to achieve His plans. The LORD will not always change His plans for us because we have sinned, but our sins have consequences.
5. Both Esau and Jacob enjoyed the different ways of life they had chosen. Jacob’s way of life better prepared him to become a success in agriculture and in passing on the family’s traditions and knowledge of God to his wives and children. We can look at our gifts and interests for an idea of how God wants to lead us, but that is no substitute for prayer and Bible study and our seeking God’s will for us.
6. In obedience to his mother, Jacob deceived his father Isaac. We are not to honor our parents by doing wrong even if they command or want us to sin.
7. On his way to Haran, the LORD met Jacob and promised to bless him and be with him (not because he had sinned, but despite his sins). Jacob asked the LORD to help him return to his homeland in peace. God did as he promised and answered Jacob’s prayer. God often continues with us despite our sins, but we must not take God’s presence for granted, especially if we refuse to repent and choose to continue living in sinful behavior.
8. Rebekah, Jacob, and Laban suffered for their sins. Isaac and Esau suffered because of Rebekah’s and Jacob’s sins against them. Leah, Rachel, and Jacob suffered because Laban sinned against them. In God’s way, God gave some justice in this life to those who had suffered because of the sins of others, and God justly disciplined those who sinned against members of their family. Our sins will hurt others and ourselves. In this life, we will sometimes experience God’s blessings as a part of our receiving justice for harm done to us, and God’s punishment as a way of teaching us not to disobey His commandments.
9. Though Laban had cheated Jacob by changing his wages ten times, the LORD was with Jacob as He promised, and the LORD blessed him and gave him justice by making him a wealthy man at Laban’s expense. God is with His children even when it seems He is not, and God will bless and give justice to His children in various ways in this life and/or in the next.
10. The LORD gave justice to Esau when Jacob refused any of the inheritance he had stolen from Esau by lying, and perhaps even gave Esau his own inheritance by giving him gifts — gifts from the wealth that the LORD had given him as he worked for Laban. Thus, the LORD helped Jacob return to his homeland in peace and make peace within his family. God will often help us make restitution to those we have hurt by our sins, thus bringing peace into a fractured relationship.
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