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Worship Services

Jacob and Esau

February 9, 2020
Genesis 25:19-34
preached by
Pastor Jon Needham

Sermon text

Genesis 25:19–34

The Birth of Esau and Jacob

These are the generations of Isaac, Abraham's son: Abraham fathered Isaac, and Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean, to be his wife. And Isaac prayed to the LORD for his wife, because she was barren. And the LORD granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived. The children struggled together within her, and she said, “If it is thus, why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the LORD. And the LORD said to her,

“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you shall be divided;
the one shall be stronger than the other,
the older shall serve the younger.”

When her days to give birth were completed, behold, there were twins in her womb. The first came out red, all his body like a hairy cloak, so they called his name Esau. Afterward his brother came out with his hand holding Esau's heel, so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.

When the boys grew up, Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents. Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.

Esau Sells His Birthright

Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom.) Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

Understanding the text

Once again in Genesis, we meet a woman who struggles to have children. As was the case with Sarah, Rebekah’s barrenness presents a threat to the covenant promise. But as He did for Sarah, (and as He would do for Mary, the mother of Jesus), God provides a son. In fact, God provides two sons.

These two men could not be more different. Esau, by virtue of being the older brother would have naturally been the one to receive the blessing and inheritance of his father, but his character excluded him and he finds himself serving his younger brother, just as God had promised Rebekah. Jacob, the younger son, is the child of promise through which the covenant promises and family line would continue. Ultimately, Israel arose from Jacob’s descendants, while the Edomites came from Esau. Through the drama of these two boys, the faith and character of the parents were exposed and refined and the doctrine of grace was once again demonstrated.

Additional scripture

  1. Romans 9:1-16
  2. Deuteronomy 7:7-8
  3. Numbers 23:19

Applying the text

  1. What does this text teach us about the sovereign decrees and election of God?
  2. What does this text show us about the character of Esau? How would you describe his actions in this story?
  3. We are told that Esau despised his birthright. What were the consequences of this tragic choice for him? What happens to us when we, like Esau, despise the promises and favor of God?

Call to Worship

Psalm 36:5–9

Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
your judgments are like the great deep;
man and beast you save, O LORD.

How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light do we see light.

Prayer of Confession

O our God, we are ashamed to lift our faces to you, for our iniquities have risen higher than our head, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens. To us belongs open shame, because we have sinned against you. But you are a God ready to forgive. Let us be justified by your grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ. Let us have the blessedness of those whose transgressions are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; of that man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

February Memory Verse

John 1:12-13

¹² But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, ¹³ who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Resources for Parents

Every Sunday, the children's ministry team creates lessons that cover the scripture and concepts from a recent sermon. The teachers ask simple questions to help the kids learn to understand and apply what God says in the Bible.

We want to equip parents to talk to their kids about what they're learning. The following is the content that the children's classes taught this week. We encourage parents to use this resource at home to help you and your kids grow as you learn from God's word together.

Children's Lesson from Sunday, February 9

1 Peter 3:1-7

The Main Point:
God made boys and girls equal with different jobs.

Vocabulary Word for PreK and Elementary 1 Classes:
Serving God
- to use the special gifts God gave each of us to do God's word and show the world who God is.

Q: Who made all the boys and girls in the world?
A: God did!

Q: What special job does God give boys?
A: To be strong protectors.

Q: What special job does God give girls?
A: To be gentle encouragers.

Q: Whose jobs are important?
A: Everyone's!

New City Catechism Question #37

How does the Holy Spirit help us?

The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin, and he enables us to pray and to understand God's word.

(Note: All of our classes work through one question per month from the New City Catechism. You can download the New City Catechism app with all the questions and children's songs for free.)


Jon is the lead pastor and founding pastor of Coram Deo Church. He and his wife live in Bremerton with their three kids. He loves spending time with his family and riding motorcycles.


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