God’s Sure Promises

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Genesis 25:24-26:624And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. 26And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them. 27And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. 28And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob. 29And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: 30And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom. 31And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. 32And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? 33And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. 34Then 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. 1And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar. 2And the Lord appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: 3Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; 4And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; 5Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws. 6And Isaac dwelt in Gerar: (Genesis 25:24‑26:6)
At last the two sons were born, Esau being the first­born and Jacob the young­er. Esau was a man of the field, and Isaac loved him because of his venison. Are we not like Isaac in this way quite often? We love people, not because of their faith, or devotedness to the Lord, but because of what they do for us. It reminds one of the Scripture, “A gift doth blind the eyes” (Deuteronomy 16:1919Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous. (Deuteronomy 16:19)). We need to have the single eye so that we can appreciate the kindness of others, without allowing it to blind our eyes to what we should see for the Lord’s glory.
Jacob had his failures and God has faithfully told us about them. Let us remember that although God has re­corded the failures of His people, He does it to warn us and does not excuse them. Even godly men can fail, and fail badly, when they are not watchful. Jacob was a schemer. He always had a plan of his own ready and could not wait God’s time. Don’t we often scheme like this too, making our own plans because we do not want to wait on the Lord? Such plans, when we leave the Lord out, will always bring sorrow, though at first they may seem to pros­per. God had said that Esau, the older, should serve Jacob, the younger, but Jacob thought he had to do something to make God’s promise sure. He made his own arrangements and bought Esau’s birthright. Of course Esau should never have sold it, but two wrongs never make a right, and Jacob found this out later to his sorrow.
The Birthright
Let us look a little more carefully at Esau’s act. He had a birthright. He was the firstborn, and he should not have sold his birthright for a mess of pottage. And you, too, dear reader, have a birthright. You have been born in a Christian land where we have an open Bible, and perhaps you have Christian parents too. Salvation is offered to you, and this is your birthright. Are you despising it? Are you saying as Esau, “Behold I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?” Do not sell it; do not despise it. If you do, you will come to the time, as Esau did, when many tears will not bring it back, and you will realize that it is too late. Think of the “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:3030And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:30)) that will be yours forever if you reject Christ as your Saviour. You may get a few short moments of pleasure in this sinful world in return for selling it, but what is that in view of eternity?
There had been a famine in Abra­ham’s day, and now there is another one to try Isaac. He started to go down into Egypt, but the Lord graciously in­tervened, hindering him from going all the way. How sweet were the words spoken by the Lord, “Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee.” God had not forgotten His promises in spite of the famine. When­ever God asks His children to walk in a path of faith, He sustains them if they look to Him in dependence. It is always easier, however, to get away, than to get back, and sometimes God has to use unpleasant circumstances to bring us into the place where He would have us. We shall see this in Isaac’s experiences in Gerar.
Further Meditation
1. How did Jacob try to make God’s promise sure?
2. Not valuing the rich treasures that God has prepared for us can be a real problem for us just like it was for Esau. What are some of the rich treasures that God has given to you? You can find a few of them in Hebrews 10.
3. We all benefit from meditating on God’s gifts to us. One excellent pamphlet on the subject is Seven Present Blessings Through the Death of Christ by H. H. Snell. It develops some of the rich blessings found in Hebrews 10 and other places in Scripture.