December 6, 2020 – Genesis 25 – 26

Lesson Date: December 6, 2020

Focal Scripture Passage: Genesis 25:7-8, 19-34; 26:1-5, 23-25

AIM: To lead students to discover that Esau did not understand the true value of his birthright so he sold it for a cheap price, and to encourage them to realize the great value of their birthright as children of God so they don’t “sell” it cheap.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Genesis 25 – 26 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Write the following phrases on the marker board or chalkboard in random order. Add to or change the items as necessary to be applicable to the group you teach.

A bowl of soup

Your salvation

Success in your career

A new car

Your wedding ring

New clothes

A family heirloom

Your family

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Read the list of items written on the board. Ask: “Do all those items have equal value?” (no).

Ask the class to rate the relative value of the various items on a numerical scale, with 1 being the most valuable item and 8 being the least valuable. Write the numerical values they suggest beside the phrases.

Point out to the class that some things have monetary value, while others have a value greater than money. If we don’t realize the relative value of things we are in danger of selling or giving away something valuable for a very cheap price. Tell the class today’s lesson is about a man who did just that.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  • Review.
    • Tell the class that we are halfway through our study of the book of Genesis.
    • Be sure everyone present has a copy of the new Sunday School Member Quarterly.
    • Remind the students that in last quarter’s study they learned about the Creation, the Fall, the Flood, and the Tower of Babel. They spent several weeks learning about Abraham.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (Abraham sent his most trusted servant off to a faraway land to find a bride for his son, Isaac).
    • Remind the class that Isaac was a type of Christ, and chapter 24 was a beautiful picture of how the Lord sought us when we were in the faraway land of sin and made us His beloved bride.
  • Isaac Prayed for Children.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 25:7-8.
    • Tell the students that Abraham died at the age of 175; Isaac was now the patriarch of his family, but he had no children.
    • Read Genesis 25:19-21.
    • Ask: “Why did Isaac pray for his wife, Rebekah?” (because she was barren).
    • Tell the class Isaac set a good example for us in this: we should take our needs and concerns to God in prayer.
    • God heard and answered Isaac’s prayer, and Rebekah conceived.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 25:22-23.
    • Ask: “Why did Rebekah pray to God?” (because her unborn children “struggled together within her”).
    • Tell the students the Lord told Rebekah four things in verse 23 about the twins she was carrying.
    • Ask them to name those four things. They should name the following:
      • Two nations were in her womb.
      • Two different types of people would come forth from her.
      • One group of people would be stronger than the other.
      • The elder would serve the younger).
    • Explain that ancient people placed much value in the birthright that belonged to the firstborn male child.
      • The firstborn male usually received a double portion of the inheritance.
      • He was also destined to become the ruler of the family upon his father’s death.
      • Younger sons were required to serve and obey the oldest son.
    • Stress the fact that it was odd and unusual for an elder brother to serve his younger brother, but that is what God said would happen.
    • Read Genesis 25:24-26.
    • Ask: “What did they name the firstborn son and why did they call him that?” (Esau, because he was red and hairy; Esau means “hairy”).
    • Ask: “What did they name the second son and why did they call him that?” (Jacob, because he held onto Esau’s heel; Jacob means “heel holder” or “supplanter” – one who uses trickery to take the place of another).
    • Summarize: Isaac prayed for God to open Rebekah’s barren womb and give them children. God announced that the elder son would serve the younger. Twin boys, Esau and Jacob, were born to the couple.
  • Jacob and Esau Grew Up.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 25:27-28.
    • Esau and Jacob grew up to be quite different men.
    • Ask: “In what ways were they different?” (Esau was a rugged outdoorsman and skillful hunter, while Jacob was a homebody who stayed in the tents).
    • Ask: “What problem existed in their family?” (parental favoritism; Isaac loved Esau but Rebekah loved Jacob).
    • Stress the fact that favoritism within a family is always a recipe for trouble!
    • Summarize: Jacob and Esau grew up to be quite different. Their parents each chose a favorite son, so strife grew in the family.
  • Esau Sold His Birthright.
    • Read Genesis 25:29-30.
    • Explain that pottage is something cooked in a pot such as soup or stew.
    • Tell the class that Jacob cooked some soup. Esau came in from a day in the fields and he was very hungry.
    • Ask: “What did Esau ask Jacob?” (he asked for some of the red soup).
    • Explain that the name Edom means red, so Esau and his descendants were known as Edom.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 25:31-34.
    • Ask: “For what price did Jacob offer to sell his brother the soup?” (Esau’s birthright).
    • Ask: “How did Esau respond?” (“I am about to die – what good is a birthright?”).
    • Tell the students that Jacob made Esau swear an oath to make the deal legal. Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for bread and soup.
    • Ask: “What does verse 34 reveal about Esau?” (he despised his birthright).
    • Explain that we use the word despise to describe extreme hatred, but in the Bible it means to take something lightly or count it as worthless. Compared to his immediate hunger, Esau didn’t see any value in his birthright.
    • Read Hebrews 12:16.
    • Summarize: Esau was a fleshly person who was more concerned with meeting his immediate needs than with valuable things. He sold his birthright for a bowl of soup.
  • God Repeated the Abrahamic Covenant Promises to Isaac.
    • Read Genesis 26:1-5.
    • Tell the class that Isaac moved to Gerar (locate Gerar on the Map of Canaan) because of a famine.
    • Ask: “According to verse 2, what did God warn Isaac not to do?” (go down into Egypt as his father had done during a previous famine).
    • Tell the students that God made seven specific promises to Isaac in verses 3-4. Ask them to find those seven promises. They should name the following:
      • I will be with you.
      • I will bless you.
      • I’m giving this land to you and your descendants.
      • I will keep the promises I swore to your father.
      • I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven.
      • I will give your descendants all this land.
      • All nations will be blessed through your descendant (Jesus Christ).
    • Note the fact that these were the same things God previously promised Isaac’s father, Abraham. God repeated the promises to Isaac.
    • Ask: “According to verse 5, why did God promise these things to Isaac?” (because of the faithfulness and obedience of his father, Abraham).
    • Tell the students the value of a parent’s godly influence cannot be over-emphasized.
    • Tell them verses 6-11 reveal that Isaac lied about his wife’s identity, just as his father Abraham once did (Gen. 12:10-20).
    • Read Genesis 26:23-25.
    • Explain that Isaac moved from Gerar to Beersheba (locate Beersheba on the Map of Canaan), where the Lord appeared to him and repeated His promises to be with Isaac, bless him, and multiply his descendants.
    • Ask: “According to verse 25, what did Isaac do in response to God’s promises?” (built an altar and called upon the name of the Lord).
    • Summarize: God repeated to Isaac the covenant promises He had previously made to Abraham. Isaac built an altar and called upon the name of the Lord.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Tell the students that yard sales can be a great way to clean out some unneeded “stuff” and make a little money, but sometimes we don’t recognize the true value of things. For example, one woman bought an old oil painting at a yard sale for $20, but later discovered it was a valuable piece of art worth more than $10,000. The seller didn’t like the painting: he was happy to get rid of it and make $20 at the same time. He lost a fortune by not recognizing the painting’s true value.

Esau did not recognize the value of his birthright so he sold it for a bowl of soup and some bread. He was more concerned with his immediate needs and desires than the long-term value of his birthright. If we don’t place the proper value on things we might sell them for yard sale prices.

Direct the students’ attention once again to the list on the board. The most valuable things don’t really have monetary value – things like our salvation and our family are more valuable than money. Sadly, though, many people throw away valuable things for a momentary pleasure or fleshly desire. They sell priceless things for a cheap bowl of soup!

Tell the students if they belong to Jesus Christ they have a very special birthright as a child of God. The Bible says it this way: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1).

Esau sold his birthright and never again had the same standing in the family. Christians are eternally secure and can never lose their place in God’s family; but they can, through poor choices, lose their testimony and the privilege of serving God. We must be careful to value things that are truly valuable, living our lives with the end in mind. If we don’t, we are in danger of “selling” our birthright as a child of God for a cheap bowl of the world’s sinful “soup.”

Encourage the students to realize the high value of their birthright as children of God so they don’t “sell” it cheap. Voice a closing prayer.

 

CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize 1 John 3:1. Encourage them to live up to their birthright this week. Remind them to do the Daily Bible Reading Guide each day this week.

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