Saturday, January 15, 2022

Jacob Takes Esau's Blessing

Jacob Takes Esau's Blessing
Image Credit:  Free Bible Images

In Genesis 25, we learned how Esau traded his birthright to Jacob in exchange for a bowl of soup.  Now, we are going learn how Jacob takes Esau's blessing before his father's death.  We will find this story in Genesis 27.  

Jacob Takes Esau's Blessing

Isaac is now an old man whose eyes have grown weak so that he can no longer see.  Isaac believes he will not live much longer so he calls his oldest son, Esau, to him so that he can give Esau his blessing.  Isaac instructs Esau to go hunting to bring back food to prepare it the way he likes it.  Then when he has eaten the food he likes, he will give Esau his blessing.

Jacob Takes Esau's Blessing
Image Credit:  Free Bible Images

Rebekah, upon hearing the conversation between Isaac and Esau, waits for Esau to leave for the hunt.  Then she tells Jacob about the conversation.  She send Jacob after two goats so that she can prepare a meal as Isaac likes it.  She tells Jacob to take the food she cooks to Esau before Esau returns so that Isaac will offer Jacob the blessing instead.

Jacob Takes Esau's Blessing
Image Credit:  Free Bible Images

Jacob brings up the obvious differences between the two brothers.  Esau is a hairy man while Jacob has smooth skin.  He knows that if Isaac touches him, his father will know that he is Jacob and not Esau.  This would bring a curse on him rather than a blessing.

Rebekah tells Jacob to let the curse fall on her.  He is to do what she tells him.

Jacob brings back the goats.  Rebekah cooks the meat the way Isaac likes it.  Then she takes Esau's best clothes and gives them to Jacob to wear.  She covers Jacob's hands and his neck with goat skins so that he will appear as if he is Esau.

Jacob takes the food Rebekah has cooked to his father, Isaac.  He tells his father that he is Esau.  He tells Issac that he has brought him the food he asked for.  He tells Issac to eat the food and then to give him his father's blessing.

Jacob Takes Esau's Blessing
Image Credit:  Free Bible Images

Isaac wants to know how he found the food and cooked it so quickly.  Jacob tells him that God provided it.

Isaac asked Jacob to come closer so that he can touch him to make sure he is actually Esau.  Isaac notices that Jacob's hands are hairy like Esau but he hears the voice of Jacob. 

Isaac obviously has his doubts but he asks, "Are you really my son, Esau?"

Jacob lies again with is response, "I am."

Jacob Takes Esau's Blessing
NASB Life Application Study Bible

In spite of Isaac's doubts, Jacob manages to successfully trick his father into believing he is Esau.  Isaac asks Jacob to bring him the food so that he may eat it and then give his blessing.  After eating, Isaac asked Jacob to come kiss him.  When Jacob kisses his father, his father smells Esau's clothing so he offers Jacob the blessing that would have been Esau's blessing.

"Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field that the Lord has blessed.  

May God give you Heaven's due and earth's richness and abundance of grain and new wine.  

May nations serve you and peoples bow down to you.  

Be lord over your brothers and may the sons of your mother bow down to you.  

May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed."

When Isaac finishes his blessing, Jacob barely has time to leave when Esau comes in.  Esau had prepared food for Isaac as he had been asked to do and brought it to his father.  Like his brother had just done, Esau asks Isaac to sit up and eat the food he has prepared for him so that he will then offer his blessing.

Jacob Takes Esau's Blessing
Image Credit:  Free Bible Images

Isaac asks, "Who are you?"

Esau tells Isaac that he is his son, Esau.

In Genesis 27:33, we are told that Isaac trembled violently asking, "Who was it then that hunted game and brought it to me.  I ate it just before you came and I blessed him - and indeed he will be blessed."

Esau does not take the news well.  He cries for Isaac to bless him as well.  Isaac tells Esau that his brother, Jacob, had come in and deceitfully taken Esau's blessing. Esau tells Isaac that this is the second time Jacob has taken advantage of him.  He first took Esau's birthright and now he has taken Esau's blessing.  Esau again asks Issac if there is any blessing he has reserved for him?

Isaac tells Esau about the blessing he had unknowingly given to his bother, Jacob.

I have made him lord over you and have made all his relatives his servants, and I have sustained him with grain and new wine.  So what can I possibly do for you, my son?
Jacob Takes Esau's Blessing
Genesis 12-33 The Father of Israel

Esau cries aloud, "Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me too!"

Isaac answers:

Your dwelling will be away from the earth's richness, away from the dew of Heaven above.  

You will live by the sword and you will serve your brother.

But when you grow restless, you will throw his yolk from off your back. 

Esau holds a grudge against Jacob.  He plans to kill Jacob after Isaac dies.  

Someone tells Rebekah what Esau had said.  Rebekah sends Jacob to her brother, Laban.  She tells Jacob to stay there until Esau is no longer angry.  She tells Jacob that she will send for him when it is safe for him to come back.  Rebekah expresses to Jacob that she doesn't want to lose both of her sons in one day.

Rebekah tells Isaac that she is disgusted with Esau's Hittite wives.  She tells her husband that if her son, Jacob, takes a wife from the Hittite women, her life won't be worth living. 

Issac sends for Jacob, blesses him, and then tells him to go to his mother's father's land (where her brother, Laban, still lives.) He instructs Jacob to take a wife from his mother's brother's daughters.

Before sending Jacob on his way, he tells him:

"May God almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples.  May He give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham so that you make take possession of the land where you now reside as a foreigner, the land God gave to Abraham."

Esau somehow learns how his parents feel about his wives, that they displease Isaac and Rebekah so he goes to Ishmael (Isaac's half brother who was born to Hagar) and marries Mahalath, one of Ishmael's daughters.

You might be wondering, as I did, why Isaac did not somehow void his blessing to Jacob due to deception and give it to his older son, Esau.  You have to consider the culture of the times.  Also, these Old Testament men spoke from divine inspiration.  The Believer's Bible Commentary explains it this way.

When Esau returned and learned of the deception, he sought the blessing tearfully. But the blessing had been granted to Jacob and it couldn’t be retracted (Heb. 12:1617). However, Isaac did have a word for Esau, as follows:

Far from rich soil on earth shall you live, far from the dew of heaven on high; you shall live by the sword and serve your brother; but when you grow restive, his yoke you shall break (vv. 39, 40—Moffatt).

This suggests that the Edomites would live in desert places, would be warriors, would be subject to the Israelites, but would one day rebel against this rule. This latter prophecy was fulfilled in the reign of Joram, King of Judah (2 Kgs. 8:20–22). - Believer's Bible Commentary

Life Lesson From This Story:  Deception results in heartache.

Rebekah and Jacob's deception resulted heartache.

*Jacob's brother sought to kill him.

*Jacob had to leave his home and his parents to escape Esau's threat.

*Rebekah had to send her son (her favorite) away.

*Isaac trembled violently because his son had deceived him.

Teach the Kids

The best way to teach your children Biblical history is to read the stories to them straight from the Bible.  Make sure your kids know that these "stories" are not just stories like many other books they might read.  Be sure they know that these stories are actual events in Biblical history.
Jacob Takes Esau's Blessing
The Adventure Bible for Kids

In addition to reading the Bible, your kids can do the following activities to enhance their learning experience. 

Cathy's Corner:  Jacob and Esau from Bible Fun for Kids

Activities for a Lesson On Jacob and Esau from Classroom

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Jacob Takes Esau's Blessing
Jacob Takes Esau's Blessing




Friday, January 14, 2022

Isaac and the Wells: The Oath of Peace

Isaac and the Wells
Image Credit - Public Domain Image via Wikimedia Commons

Isaac and the Wells

In Genesis 26, we are brought to the story of Isaac and the wells, leading up to his oath of peace between himself and Abimelek.  

The story opens up with news of famine in the land, another famine besides the one during Abraham's time.  Due to the famine, Issac travels toward Gerar.  Gerar is present day south central Israel.  God appears to Isaac to tell him not to travel to Egypt.  God instructs Isaac to live in the land where God tells him to live.  God always keeps his promises.  Here He reminds Isaac of the oath He had sworn to his father, Abraham.

Do not go down to Egypt.  Live in the land where I tell you to live. Stay in this land for a while and I will be with you and will bless you.  For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father, Abraham.  I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping My commands, my decrees, and my instructions.  So Isaac stayed in Gerar. - Genesis 26:2-6

While there, Isaac tells Abimelek the same lie his father, Abraham had told. Just as Abraham had told Abimelek that Sarah was his sister, Isaac tells Abimelek that Rebekah is his sister, not his wife.  Isaac is afraid the men in the area will kill him for Rebekah because Rebekah is so beautiful.  As with Abraham, Abimelek, realizes that Isaac has lied.  Abimelek goes to Isaac with the same concern that he had encountered with Abraham.  

"What is this you have done to us?  One of the men might well have slept with your wife and you would have brought guilt upon us." - Genesis 26:10

Isaac explains that he lied because he was afraid for his life because of Rebekah's beauty.  Abimelek orders his people to not harm Isaac or Rebekah.  Anyone who harms either of them will be put to death.

Isaac stays and plants crops.  God blesses Isaac so that he reaps 100 times what he had planted.  Isaac becomes wealthy with many flocks, herds, and servants.  The Philistines grow jealous of Isaac so sent Isaac away.  Abimelek tells Isaac that he has become too powerful for them.

Isaac doesn't fight the situation.  He moves but he doesn't go far.  He remains in the Valley of Gerar.  After Abraham died, the Philistines stopped up the wells that Abraham had dug there so Isaac unstops them and renames them the same names that his father, Abraham, had named them.

Isaac's servants dig as well and discover a well of fresh water, but the herders in Gerar fight for the well, claiming the well belongs to them.

Isaac's servants dig another well, but the herders in Gerar claim that well also.

Isaac's servants dig a third well.  This time, the herders in Gerar leave him alone.  Isaac names the third well Rehoboth saying that the Lord has given them room so they will now flourish in the land.

From Gerar, Isaac goes to Beersheba.  The Lord appears to Isaac and says:

I Am the God of your father, Abraham.  Do not be afraid for I am with you.  I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of My servant, Abraham. - Genesis 26:24

Isaac does as his father, Abraham, had done.  He builds an alter and calls on the name of the Lord.  He pitches a tent there and his servants dig another well.

Now Abimelek comes to Isaac along with Ahuzzath, Abimelek's personal advisor and also Phicol, the commander of Abimelek's forces.  

Isaac asks them why they have come to him since they had sent him away.

They tell Isaac that they clearly see that the Lord is with Isaac so they want to make an oath of peace with Isaac.  

Isaac makes a feast for them.  Early the next morning, they swear an oath of peace.  Abimelek and his men go away in peace.

Isaac's servants report to them that the fourth well is a success.  They found water.

Teach the Kids

Here is a short video that is great for teaching this story to kids.

 

What lessons do we learn from Genesis 26?


1.  God always keeps his promises.  

2.  God blesses obedience and faithfulness.

3.  It is a good thing if we can settle our differences peacefully.

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Isaac and the Wells
Isaac and the Wells



Thursday, January 13, 2022

Camping Essentials That Often Get Forgotten

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Camping Essentials That Often Get Forgotten

Got a camping trip planned? Before you set off, it’s important to make sure that you’ve packed all the right essentials. Some items are obvious (such as your tent. Don’t forget your tent!). Other items are less obvious, but could still have a big impact on the comfort (and safety) of your trip. Below are some of these commonly forgotten items.

Trash Bags

If you’re staying on a campsite, there are likely to be bins to dump your trash. However, these may not be located immediately near to your pitch, so you’ll likely want to bring a bag for storing your trash so you’re not constantly having to make trips back and forth. Bags for storing dirty laundry could also be useful. 

Wet Wipes

When it comes to keeping you and your tent clean, wet wipes can be useful to have at the ready. Alternatively, consider bringing some paper towels with you. Wet wipes are particularly necessary if you have young kids.  

Toilet Paper

Most campsite bathrooms should be stocked up with toilet paper. However, for those unfortunate instances where this isn’t the case (or if you’re wild camping and haven’t got access to bathrooms) it’s worth packing some toilet paper to bring.

Wellies

Campsites can get very muddy if it’s recently been raining. This is particularly the case with busy campsites that have a lot of footfall (such as festival campsites). At the very least, consider packing some hiking boots. Don’t be tempted to pack only sandals just because it’s the heat of summer.

Batteries

If you’re bringing any camping gadgets that run off batteries, be sure to bring some spare batteries in case these items run out of power. Flashlights are a typical example of a gadget that requires batteries. While you can use your phone to provide a flashlight, a purpose-built camping light such as these ones found at EcoGearFX.com is likely to be more powerful and more beneficial if you’re somewhere remote. 

Camping Stove Fuel

Bringing a camping stove could give you the option to cook your own food. However, you won’t be able to cook much if you don’t have camping stove fuel. Different camping stoves typically run off different forms of fuel - usually propane or butane. Make sure you buy the right one. There are old skool camping stoves that you can buy to place directly on a campsite - if you plan to bring one of these make sure you’ve got firewood, matches (or a lighter) and firelighters.

Duct Tape

A roll of duct help could help if you need to make any emergency fixes while camping. Tent got a hole in it? Tent pole broken? With a bit of duct tape you can quickly fix the problem. Check out this post on camping duct tape hacks at REI

First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is something you should always bring while travelling, but could be particularly useful when camping somewhere remote if you don’t have immediate access to a medic. You can buy first aid kits that have all the essentials in such as bandages, gauzes and antiseptic liquid. With any luck, you’ll never have to use it, however it’s worth having just in case.

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Camping Essentials That Often Get Forgotten
Camping Essentials That Often Get Forgotten


Verse of the Day from Bible Gateway