Series of 15 Sermons by Pastor Ron Thomas On
"The Life of Jacob"

801 West Buckingham Rd. - Garland, TX 75040

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This weeks contestants: "Jake The Snake" and his hairy brother, "Big Red Esau."

Text: Genesis 25:29-34 --- "And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint:

30 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.

31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.

32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?

33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.

34 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."

Introduction: Most everyone has seen the popular daytime game show known as, THE PRICE IS RIGHT.

The show has been on television in one form or another since 1957, which is over 5000 episodes! The show is about value. The contestants play various pricing games for prizes. In the original game, four contestants were shown a merchandise item. Some items were one bid items. Each player was given one chance to guess the actual price. The studio contestant closest to it's suggested retail value or price, won the item.

Jacob known as "Jake The Snake" and his brother Esau or "Big Red," take their place to play the game. So, how much for a birthright "Big Red Esau?" What do you think it is worth? How about you "Jake The Snake?" What would you give?

Jacob and Esau are now grown boys, living at home. Esau is the outdoors man, hunting game, loving the thrill of the hunt, and the wild side of life. Jacob is content to dwell close to home, supervising his herds. Evidently both Jacob and Esau learned to cook. In verse 29, we find Jacob cooking some lentil soup. Later in chapter 27 of Genesis, Jacob and his mother will be involved in a scheme to deceive Isaac, using Esau's venison dish.

Our text finds Esau coming in from the field, tired and hungry. It says he was "faint" or weary from hunting and hunger. The smell of Jacob's cooking draws his attention. Jacob was finishing up a caldron of his famous "Big Red," which was a tasty bean soup. Esau demands a bowl of his brother's soup to relieve his hunger. Stirring his soup, Jacob brings up the subject of a birthright. It would not be a stretch to believe that Jacob had mentioned this matter of a birthright before to his brother. Esau as the first born possessed the birthright, and it obviously meant more to Jacob than it did to Esau. What was this birthright?

Israel, as well as other cultures of the ancient East gave special honor and privileges to the oldest son in every family. The birthright was a special share in the family inheritance as well as the transfer of the leadership of the family, after the father died. These special rights could be given to another other than the first born, as well as forfeited. For example, as Jacob had a family of his own, his first born son would forfeit his position and birthright because of immorality. Jacob would also transfer the birthright from the eldest to the younger, as Joseph's two sons stood before him.

More importantly, as it concerned the descendants of Abraham, the birthright was a spiritual heritage. It was the right to be a link in the line of descendants through which the Messiah would come. It was the torch of the Messiah hope.

Esau overwhelmed by his passions, controlled by his appetite, living only for the moment, tells his brother that he would die for a bowl of his soup! Verse 32 reads, "And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?" Perhaps Esau was a hungry man, even faint with hunger, but he was no where near starving to death. Intoxicated by the aroma of his brother's red lentil pottage, Esau demonstrated his weakness and vulnerability. This is the very reason he was not fit to possess the birthright, something God knew before the boys were even born! He could not believe or assess value in what he could not see! Immediate gratification was all he desired. In Philippians 3:19 the apostle Paul speaks of those enemies of Christ, "Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things." Esau made the worst possible deal! He traded the eternal for the temporal, the spiritual for the physical, the unseen for the seen!

Jacob was at the very least opportunistic. He seized upon his brother's weakness, and made a proposal. "How long has it been since you had a bowl of my 'Rig Red?' Well..... thats too long. How about a birthright for a bowl of my 'Big Red' bean soup?" This was vintage Jacob, a clear demonstration of his true nature. Jacob knew the value of the birthright and he wanted it for himself. As we mentioned before, though not recorded in the pages of God's Word, it would not be surprising to learn that Jacob had past conversations with Esau, designed to assess Esau's attitude toward his birthright, as well as set him up to surrender it. Esau agreed to the price and exchanged his birthright for a bowl of bean soup. Jacob was so generous that he threw in some bread! What a guy! Esau began to devour this bowl of "Big Red" without giving another thought to his birthright! It meant nothing to him.

What a moment! Jacob was honing his sales skills and his first victim was his brother, Esau. Taking the birthright, Jacob was a traitor toward his brother and faithless towards God. The Lord had already gone on record that "the elder shall serve the younger." Jacob could not wait on the Lord. Rather than trust in God's Word, God's ways, God's timing, Jacob took matters into his own hands.

I know it sounds morbid and a bit strange, but occasionally I read the obituaries in the paper. It is fascinating to read in one narrow column, the summation of people's entire lives. I look for any evidence of faith, any hint of their preparation for eternity. I ask myself, "Did this person make the most important investment? What this person ready to meet God?"

Just this last week, two famous people died, one was a famous singer, Peggy Lee; and the other was Stanley Marcus. Reading about Mr. Marcus, it quoted him as saying that religion was only necessary to help people deal with this life. He said he felt comfortable facing death, having made no commitment to any religion.

There is a price to be paid when we do not value the right things. In Mark 8:35-37, we read these words of Jesus. "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Everyday of our lives, we are making an investment. Life is the most precious commodity we possess. Why? It is a limited resource. We do not know just how much we possess. One thing is for sure, today we have less than we had yesterday! No one can save time. It must be spent. It must be invested. We spend the hours and days of our lives on things we value. We spend our money, our affection and energy on the things we deem worthy! Jesus tells us that a whole life can be spent, invested, in things that do not profit!

In our story from the life of Jacob, we see failure all around. It was not just Esau who had misplaced values.


This whole scene might not have happened if Isaac had taken his responsibility as a parent, and transferred the birthright earlier. The Lord had told Rebekah even before the birth of the children, that the older would serve the younger. Isaac knew the Word of the Lord and most likely both Jacob and Esau, knew the pronouncement of the Lord. It was not Jacob's responsibility to wrestle the birthright away from his brother. Isaac was the one who should have taken care of the matter early on.

As the two boys grew, it was obvious that the Lord was right. Esau was the rough and rugged hunter, and Jacob was the more refined and intelligent one. Where Esau was quick to use his brawn, Jacob was quick to use his brain. To an observant father, it was clear who would best serve the family and the future possessing the birthright.

Isaac had the authority of God's Word behind him, yet he did not take his responsibility. Why? Perhaps it was because of his favoritism. Remember verse 28? "And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob."

Every parent loves to quote Ephesians 6:1-3. It reads, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth."

This is where parents stop. They hardly ever quote verse 4. It reads, "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Parents are to lead by example. It is one thing to set a standard and make rules and another to keep them. When parents live a double standard, when they fail to keep their end of the bargin, when they fail to fulfill their responsibility, it opens the door for disrespect and rebellion!

We live in a day when children suffer because of derelict parents. A so called mother is on trial for making her daughter live in a closet. More and more, children are left on their own to fend for themselves. What a tragedy!


What did Esau lose when he traded his birthright for a bowl of beans? Esau would answer, "Not much."

Losing his birthright did not diminish his prospect for worldly possessions. Esau lost his birthright, yet went on to be a man of wealth and influence. All of Edom was at his disposal. Notice Genesis 36:6-8. "And Esau took his wives, and his sons, and his daughters, and all the persons of his house, and his cattle, and all his beasts, and all his substance, which he had got in the land of Canaan; and went into the country from the face of his brother Jacob. 7 For their riches were more than that they might dwell together; and the land wherein they were strangers could not bear them because of their cattle. 8 Thus dwelt Esau in mount Seir: Esau is Edom." Later when he and Jacob were reconciled, Esau had no need for the presents and gifts sent by the hand of his brother Jacob. Genesis 33:9. "And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself."

Losing his birthright was no entitlement to a life of ease. Jacob gained the birthright, yet his life was marked by suffering, sorrow, and pain. At the end of his years, Jacob stood before Pharaoh and gave the following summary of his life. He told Pharaoh in Genesis 47:9, "The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage."

There are preachers who preach the gospel of prosperity, a health and wealth gospel. They preach that if we get saved and have faith, God will prosper us materially. They preach that if we are in the perfect will of God, then we will never be sick. They view salvation as a spiritual birthright which guarantees us health and wealth! This teaching and preaching is not biblical nor does it line up with reality. God is never in debt to any of us. Our relationship to Him and service for Him never places God in debt to us. Our riches are eternal in Christ Jesus. Student of the Word teaches us that what seems good can actually be bad, and what seems bad can be good! The psalmist said, "It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn Thy statutes."

Losing his birthright cost Esau his standing among God's people, as well as eternal reward. Notice Hebrews 12:16-17. "Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. 17 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." Esau failed to believe, to trust in what he could not see, touch, or taste. He had no appreciation for what God was doing in his life, and through his family. Esau lived for the present, not the future! Spiritual matters were a waste of time. Life was about pleasure.

What a contrast we see with Moses. Hebrews 11:24-27 says, "By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing Him who is invisible." Here is a young man who possessed spiritual sight. He saw the big picture. Moses was tuned in to SPIRITUAL REALITIES and he ordered his life, made his choices, invested his life accordingly.

Driving through Pennsylvania, a family visited an Amish community. One of the children observing that they used horses and buggies instead of cars, asked his dad, "Why do these people ride horses and not drive cars?" The father responded, "Son, they don't believe in cars." Thinking a moment, the son responded, "But, can't they see them?" Moses saw the invisible, do we?

There is more to this life than eating, drinking, sleeping, working, and playing. Someone said, "This life is merely the dressing room for eternity." We are spiritual creatures created in the likeness and image of God, our Creator.


There was a battle going on inside Jacob. He knew what he wanted. He knew what he valued. He knew what the Lord had said about his prevailing over his brother. Esau's attitude and actions no doubt provoked him all the more. Jacob certainly thought within himself, "Why should Esau possess the birthright? He could care less about the future or the family. When is my father going to wise up and take care of this? What if he were to die without transferring the birthright to me?" As these questions turned in Jacob's mind, time passed, and his fleshly nature took over. The hardest thing to do was to wait, to be patient, to trust in the Lord to bring it to pass. Of course there were questions Jacob did not ponder.

Questions such as: "Did God not say that Esau would serve him? Did God give His Word? Can He lie? Is this matter of the blessing important to God? Does the weight of this matter fall upon Him or upon me? Are all things possible with God? Couldn't God move Esau to one day willingly give the birthright to him?" Jacob engaged his carnal self over his spiritual self, and once again grabbed the heal of his brother.

The apostle Paul in II Corinthians 10 reminds us that we are not to "walk in the flesh," and we are not to "war after the flesh." In verse 4 says "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds." Instead of moving and manipulating people through our personality or some power play, we need to value God's power play of persistent, persevering, prayer! Instead of taking the matter into our hands, we need to place it in God's hands and wait upon Him!

William R. Inge said, "If we spend 16 hours a day dealing with tangible things and only five minutes a day dealing with God, is it any wonder that tangible things are 200 times more real to us than God?" So, what are we living for? Who are we living for? What is real to us? In what or in whom do we believe? What do we value? Are we making the best possible investment with our lives?

We would do good to remember the words of Jesus, "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"

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