Devotions

Monthly Archives: July, 2019

Esau Sells Birthright 

Jacob & Esau • Devotion #3: Esau Sells Birthright
James Clouse | Student Pastor

Do you live for the here and now? Is it important to satisfy the immediate needs in your life? In life, I feel that we often live life for the here and now. We often live life for what can satisfy the immediate need placed before us. When we are hungry, we live in the land of fast food, or the here and now. When we want coffee, there are numerous places whether it be Starbucks or Tim Hortons. When we need stuff, there is usually a mall or shopping center no further than 20 minutes away. While satisfying these needs is not wrong, or a sin, we need to ask ourselves as a church if we live more for the here and now or more for the eternity of our future. 

Esau was one who lived for the here and now. Genesis 25:29-34 says, “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.”

More people tend to focus on Jacob in this story when realizing that he forced the hand of his brother. But think on Esau for a bit. We first need to understand the importance of the birthright at this time.  

God uses the divine birthright to bring the birth of His son Jesus Christ. What an amazing blessing to be used in such a way. So a birthright was not only the inheritance and leadership of his family, but he was in the direct line to Jesus! How can Esau give away such a blessing? Esau gives this all up for a bowl of soup. We do not know if Esau was exaggerating here or if he was truly near death. However, John Calvin writes, “It would have been his true wisdom rather to undergo a thousand deaths than to renounce his birthright; which, so far from being confined within the narrow limits of one age alone, was capable of transmitting the perpetuity of a heavenly life to his posterity also.”

Esau missed out on a true blessing to fulfill the here and now. In our own lives, we need to look to the reality of our future instead of the here and now. What is important to me? Is the most important thing about money or success? Is the best choice to climb the corporate ladder? Could it be better to miss a day or two of work to serve the Lord and lead people for eternity to Christ? 

Uniqueness and Parental Relationship

Jacob & Esau • Devotion #2: Uniqueness and Parental Relationship
Isaiah Combs | Worship Leader

I grew up in a large family. There are five of us kids, and my Dad is like having five more people around. I think it is amazing that even though we all grew up together and still spend a lot of time together, we are all very different people. We all have different interests, styles, and personalities. There is a story in Genesis about two brothers named Jacob and Esau. They are the two sons of Isaac, who is Abraham’s only son with his wife, Sarah.

The two sons, just like my brothers and I, were opposites. Jacob was more of, for lack of a better term, a Mama’s boy, who was more comfortable inside cooking and cleaning. Genesis says he was a quiet man. Jacob’s brother, Esau, was the hunter type. Genesis said he was a “Man of the Field.” In our society, Esau would probably be called a man’s man. 

It is easy to figure out who was whose favorite. Jacob, because he spent more time with his mom in the house, was his mom’s favorite. We always mocked my mom growing up and even now. We tell her its clear that my little brother Luke is her favorite (It is a joke, and I have an awesome mom). Luke is seven years younger than me, is my mom’s baby boy, and is for sure a mama’s boy. He and my mom have a special relationship, He was left in the house for seven years with my mom after we older boys had grown up and left the house.  

Esau was his dad Isaac’s favorite because like all men we think with our stomach. (This would get Esau in some trouble later). Esau would feed his dad the meat he would acquire through his hunt and kill. He was also the first born and would receive the birthright and inheritance from his father.

These parent relationships between these four would end up playing a big role in the shaping of God’s chosen people.

Genesis 25:27-28 says, “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.”

It is good to let our children pursue their interests and enjoy them in those moments. Too often parents want to live their life through their child.

Prophecy & Birth 

Jacob & Esau • Devotion #1: Prophecy & Birth
Mark O’Connor | Student Director

Would it not be great as parents, if God were to let us know well in advance what it was that our children were going to be and what we were supposed to do? I wonder how I would look like a father if that were the case. Would my interactions with my kids be different? Would my personality today be the same?

We sometimes think about how much easier life would be if God would just lay out the path as clear as we could possibly see it. Think about it; if you knew from day one what it was you were going to be doing when you were grown, you would never have to stress about anything. Mark, this is what you were meant for, this is what your wife and kids are meant to do. I mean, how could we make a mess of it?

We see a family in Genesis chapter 25 that had a path laid out for them. From God Himself, Rebekah is told what her boys would be. Both would be leaders of a nation. One would be stronger than the other, but the older would serve the younger. They come into the world as God intended. Esau was full of hair, while Jacob’s skin was a smooth as a baby’s butt, confirming once again that God knew what He was talking about and is to be trusted. They had an idea of what was going to transpire in the coming years but were unsure of how they were going to get there. This all worked out in the end, but there was a deception involved that we really could not begin to understand. There is a deception on the part of both a wife and son. 

It is a very difficult thing to wrestle with, and I would be lying if I said I totally understood it. Here is what I do know. While I am not always going to understand the how and why of the way things happen, I have seen and learned enough to know that it is all part of a much bigger plan than I will ever be able to understand. We can have some peace in that if we begin to look at it through the correct lens. We do not have to know how or why, we just trust that God is in control of taking care of it. It may not be exactly how we want it to go, but it gets us there.

No Excuses 

Isaac & Rebekah • Devotion #6: No Excuses
Ryan Story | Location Pastor – Burton

People are interesting. People in group settings are even more interesting. While I am no sociologist, I have always been fascinated with one concept. Whenever a group of people are working together in any facet, family, work, or school, more often than not, one group seems to work just above the least active person. This may not be in every case but think about your life. For the majority of people, people like to work within the status quo. No one wants to be known as “the try hard,” and no one wants to be known as the low man on the totem pole. Sadly, we sometimes have that mentality when it comes to living for Jesus. We may not say it publicly, but we often think, that someone is living for Jesus a “little bit too much” or thinking, well I may not be a perfect parent, but at least my kid did not turn out like that kid. We live in a unique culture; we live in a culture that does not like pushing each other to achieve a goal. Since we live in such an individualistic society, we tend to only look out for ourselves. This is not what the Bible tells us to do. We are meant to push each other to live for Jesus more and more. We should want others to succeed more than us in our walk with God. But it seems like we tend to try to slow others down, so we do not look bad.  

There is one character I have never really liked in the Bible, and it is Isaac. I have never seen him as anything more than a dweeb. In Genesis chapter 24, Abraham sends a servant to find his son a wife. Again, dweeb, a man is meant to find his wife, but I will relent. Abraham told his servant to look for a woman with particular qualities, and she needed to do something particular. Take some time to read the story to figure out what those are. Eventually, the servant finds Rebekah. When the servant goes and asks Rebekah to leave with her to do what God wants of Rebekah, her family says something interesting.  In Genesis 24:55-56, it says, “Her brother and her mother said, ‘Let the young woman remain with us a while, at least ten days; after that she may go.’ But he said to them, ‘Do not delay me, since the Lord has prospered my way. Send me away that I may go to my master.’” Even though Rebekah’s family agreed that God had a plan for her, they still tried to slow her down! For Rebekah to say, “do not delay me” is something I wish I were able to have in my walk with God. 

My favorite thing about living for Jesus is there is no ceiling for how far we want to take it. If you want to read the Bible, do it. You cannot say that someone delayed you. If you do not read, game is on you. If you want to pray with someone at work or school, do it. Do not let situational awkwardness delay you. If you want to serve, do it. Do not let your schedule hinder you from being used by God. So often we live to the level of the lowest level of expectation. We all know times when people have slowed us down, but we also know that we tend to slow ourselves down more than anyone else. Stop making excuses for living for Jesus. Stop letting people, schedules, excuses, or past hurt slow you down.

Immediate Response 

Isaac & Rebekah • Devotion #5: Immediate Response
Philip Piasecki

These days, we want everything fast. We want our food immediately once we order it. We want someone to respond to our text message the second that they receive it. We even get mad if our Amazon package takes longer than two days to arrive! It is incredible to think about this for a second, an item that you were able to order on the internet, from your couch, that is shipped from across the country, took longer than two days to show up on your porch and you are upset? The technology we have today, to have everything instantaneously is almost magic, and yet we still want it to be faster. We treat God like this in our prayer lives as well. He asks us to have patience, wait on Him, and we will see Him move. Other times, however, we are blessed to see an immediate response to our prayer. We see an example of this immediate response to prayer in the story of Isaac and Rebekah.

The last couple days we have been looking at different aspects of the story of Isaac and Rebekah from Genesis chapter 24. Abraham sends his servant with a seemingly impossible task, go to a different country, find a wife for my son, and bring her back here. I love verse 12, “And he said, ‘O Lord, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham.’” I imagine the servant sitting there thinking unless God shows up this is going to be impossible, so he goes to the Lord in prayer. As we have seen the last couple of days, the Lord brings Rebekah to the servant, and he accomplishes the goal Abraham gave him. In verse 26 we see the servant’s response, “The man bowed his head and worshiped the Lord.” He had his prayer answered, and he immediately worshiped the Lord to thank Him. 

There is so much to learn from this Scripture when we look at it from the perspective of the servant. Daily we will find ourselves in situations that seem impossible unless God steps in the middle of it. It is at those moments that we need to bring our situation before God and ask Him to bless. So often, we do not see answers to prayer because we do not even ask Him to do something! You are mistaken if you think that God does not step in during your day-to-day life. He wants to, He is willing, and He wants us to ask Him to help. Abraham’s servant prayed and saw God immediately answer that prayer. We too can see God do incredible things like that in our life; we just need to commit to asking Him.



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