Biblical Story Of Jacob And Lessons To Learn
TEXT: Genesis 25-35
INTRODUCTION: We shall be considering the life of Jacob and the lessons we are to learn from it. Jacob was Isaac’s and Rebecca’s son and the younger brother of Esau. Jacob was more loved by his mother because he was quiet and thoughtful, wise, staying at home and caring for his Father’s flock while Esau on the other hand was more loved by Isaac because he was always out hunting, bringing animals to his father.
It was already also prophesied at their their conception that the older(Esau) shall serve the younger(Jacob).Which means that from birth, Jacob had been prophesied to be greater than Esau.
JACOB REQUESTED FOR ESAU’S BIRTHRIGHT AND GOT ESAU’S BLESSINGS: Gen 25:29-34
One evening, Esau came back from hunting and was really hungry. He met Jacob cooking some porridge and asked that he be served some portion of it. Jacob agreed to give him some but at the expense of his birthright. It was customary in the land that a first child’s inheritance/birthright is usually twice as much as that of the other children and Jacob being a wise child requested for that birthright using his brother’s present state as an avenue. Esau for hunger sake was quick to do away with his birthright for a portion of Jacob’s porridge. Jacob ensured that his brother made an oath to him to give up his birthright.
When Isaac was come of age with his sight gone bad and fearing that he might die, he requested Esau to go hunt him an animal and prepare a meal for him that he may eat it and bless him. Rebecca overheard this conversation and went ahead to hatch a plan with her favourite son Jacob to ensure that he gets Esau’s blessings from Jacob for Isaac.
Rebecca advised him to disguise as Esau by wearing an animal skin to have the hairy skin of Esau and also offered to prepare the meal that Isaac would eat.
Their plan worked and Jacob received Esau’s blessings even before he came back from hunting the animals and preparing the meal for his father to eat. He sought for his blessings with tears from his father but it was too late because his father already gave out the blessings to Jacob.
LESSONS TO LEARN
- We must not use people’s predicament to harm them or rob them of what is rightfully theirs like Jacob who used Esau’s state of hunger to rob him off his birthright.
- We must not be greedy of other men’s gain. We should appreciate what is ours and learn to live with it and allow others enjoy what is theirs.
- We must also learn to deny ourselves of immediate self gratification. To give up larger glory for immediate smaller blessings is foolishness. We must learn to deny ourselves of present enjoyment for greater enjoyment.
JACOB FLEES TO PADDAN ARAM AND HIS DREAM AT BETHEL
On hearing the atrocity Jacob committed against him, Esau promised to kill Jacob. His mother overheard it and told Jacob to run to her brother’s place. Isaac also called for Jacob and blessed him warning him never to marry a Canaanite woman.
Jacob fled and on his way, when he got to Bethel, he slept and had a dream. He saw a stairway resting on the earth with its top reaching to heaven and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There God appeared before him and promised to give him the descendants of the land he was lying on and promised to increase and multiply him with people serving him and blessing people through him as well. When he woke up he set up stones as pillar and poured oil on top of it and called the place Bethel and he made a vow that God will be his God if He goes with him on the journey.
Jacob got to Paddan Aram and met Laban, his mother’s brother. After staying with him for a month ,Laban offered to pay Jacob wages for his service. Instead of wages, Jacob offered to serve Laban for 7 years in return for Rachel because he loved her. Rachel was beautiful and full of form. After seven years, rather than give Rachel to Jacob, Laban gave him Rachel’s older sister, Leah because it was customary that the older gets married before the younger. To get Rachel, Jacob was asked to serve for another 7 years. He did and eventually had Rachel. Altogether he had 2 wives. Rachel and Leah. Eventually, when Laban’s attitude and those of his sons changed towards him, he fled with his wives and children without letting Laban know for fear of what he might do to him. Laban chased them and caught up with them after seven days but God appeared to Laban a night before not to harm Jacob and there they they made a covenant never to hurt each other behind each other’s back.
LESSONS TO LEARN
-There are consequences to pay for every action. Even though he had receive Esau’s blessings and he seem like the blessed one, part of the consequences of stealing from his brother was serving Laban for 14 years just to get a wife. He labored for 14 years for a wife. Laban cheated him of 7 extra years, he served six years for Laban’s flocks and also cheated him of his wages ten times .We can choose our sins but we can never choose the consequences. This is why we must be careful of our actions.
It may even look like we got away with our actions at the beginning but somehow our sins definitely know how to catch up with us.
JACOB PREPARES TO MEET ESAU AND WRESTLES WITH GOD Genesis 32
Jacob sent his servants to Esau to find favour on his sight for reconciliation. On receiving the news that Esau was coming to meet him with 400 men he became afraid and separated the people with him into two groups to go ahead of him to Esau as a gift offering hoping that Esau would have been pacified before he meets him.
That night after he has sent forth all he had including his family, a man wrestled with him but could not overpower him and ask that he let him go but Jacob refused and said “I will not let you go unless you bless you”. Then the man ask what is your name and he replied ” Jacob” and the man said from this day your name shall no longer be called Jacob but Israel. When the sun arose in the morning, Jacob limped because the man had touched his hips and Jacob called the place Peniel because he wrestled with God and won.
LESSONS TO LEARN
- There is always a moment of encounter for every man where God changes our destiny for good. At this point of encounter with God we must give it everything we can so that God can change our lives like he did with Jacob.
JACOB MEETS ESAU Genesis 33
After Jacob wrestled with God, Esau approached with his men and he went ahead to bow seven times as he approached Esau. Esau ran to meet him, embraced him and kissed them as they both wept. Thereafter the servants, Leah and her Children and Rachel and Joseph also came to bow before Esau.
Jacob found favour with Esau because he welcomed him and Jacob gifted Esau all the gifts he brought for him after he had insisted that he took them.
Jacob finally pitched his tent in Shechem
LESSONS TO LEARN
- Believers must learn to seek forgiveness from those they have hurt and should also do restitution if they have stolen anything. Being born again is not enough. If we have wronged people in our past, once we are in Christ we must learn to go back and say “sorry” or return whatever we have stolen.
- An encounter with God cause us to find favour with men. No man has an encounter with God who doesn’t find favour and mercy with men. When in distress, we should learn to seek God for help in faith that he will hear us.
We must contented with whatever is ours because our greed will hurt others and hurt us as well. Although Jacob got Esau’s blessing but he would not have labored much and being on the run almost all his life.
We may cheat others of their rights but we will never eat the benefits in peace. We must do our best to make restitutions when we hurt others.
Parents must also not have favourite amongst their children. Even when they do, it must not be shown to the children because it causes strife between children. All children are ours to raise and support in love together in agreement not in disunity.