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Crossroads: When You Fight With Your Siblings – Jacob and Esau

Genesis 25:19-34

Stats about Jacob and Esau

• Sons of Isaac and Rebekah
• Jacob was a liar and a cheat; he was a quiet man
• Esau was large, hairy, strong, and loved hunting
• Jacob seems to have been the smarter of the two

My Story

My sister was born when I was 7. I’m pretty sure her first phrase was directed at me and was “you’re not my momma.” We have had a love/hate relationship ever since, as most siblings do. Thankfully, now that we are both grown, it’s mostly love. She’s the more athletic one, and I’m the more academic one. We are as different as night and day. We used to fight all the time, a fact that made our mother very angry when we were on vacation and she just wanted a break. Even helping my sister with her homework tended to devolve into me saying, “I don’t understand why you don’t understand this” and her getting frustrated with me. I know that we are not alone in this love/hate relationship. If you have a sibling, or if you have more than one child, you understand this. It is normal. It even happens with siblings in the Bible.

Your Story

Tell a story to your family about a time when you and a sibling (or someone who is like a sibling) had a fight/argument/didn’t get along. What happened? Were you able to apologize or did they apologize to you? Was the apology accepted? How is the relationship now?

The Bible Story

Jacob and Esau were brothers who had issues from the very beginning. Jacob came out of the womb holding on to Esau’s foot, trying to be the first to be born.

Read Genesis 25:19-34 in The Message.

“This is the family tree of Isaac son of Abraham: Abraham had Isaac. Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan Aram. She was the sister of Laban the Aramean. Isaac prayed hard to GOD for his wife because she was barren. GOD answered his prayer and Rebekah became pregnant. But the children tumbled and kicked inside her so much that she said, “If this is the way it’s going to be, why go on living?” She went to GOD to find out what was going on. GOD told her,
Two nations are in your womb,
two peoples butting heads while still in your body.
One people will overpower the other,
and the older will serve the younger.

When her time to give birth came, sure enough, there were twins in her womb. The first came out reddish, as if snugly wrapped in a hairy blanket; they named him Esau (Hairy). His brother followed, his fist clutched tight to Esau’s heel; they named him Jacob (Heel). Isaac was sixty years old when they were born. The boys grew up. Esau became an expert hunter, an outdoorsman. Jacob was a quiet man preferring life indoors among the tents. Isaac loved Esau because he loved his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. One day Jacob was cooking a stew. Esau came in from the field, starved. Esau said to Jacob, “Give me some of that red stew—I’m starved!” That’s how he came to be called Edom (Red). Jacob said, “Make me a trade: my stew for your rights as the firstborn.” Esau said, “I’m starving! What good is a birthright if I’m dead?” Jacob said, “First, swear to me.” And he did it. On oath Esau traded away his rights as the firstborn. Jacob gave him bread and the stew of lentils. He ate and drank, got up and left. That’s how Esau shrugged off his rights as the firstborn.”

Jacob ends up taking Esau’s birthright as well as Esau’s blessing. Esau is furious that his brother tricked him and tricked their father into giving Jacob Esau’s blessing. Esau even plotted to kill Jacob. So Jacob ran to Haran and worked for Laban, his uncle. Many years later, Jacob and Esau made up, and Esau forgave Jacob for what he had done.

Discussion

Talk about dealing with siblings (if you have more than one child). Talk about ways that you as a parent can help your children get along better. Make sure to name the different things that each of your children are good at, recognizing them as separate individuals.

Prayer and Action

• Thank God for siblings, and for people to whom you are very close. Ask God to help you see all the things your sibling does well, and the ways in which you can help your siblings. Pray for your children, that they will find ways to work together with their siblings.
• If you have more than one child, find ways for your children to work together this week- it may be on a family project, playing a game together, etc. When they do argue, allow them to cool off before they try to work it out.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

Kevin Head began serving as Minister to Young Families at First Baptist Roswell, Georgia, in February 2012. He has pastored three churches in Kentucky and more recently served as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Lumberton, North Carolina. In 2007, Kevin and his wife, Amy, began a ministry-based counseling practice called New Perspectives for Life in East Cobb, Georgia. He is a graduate of Furman University (B.A.) and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Ph.D., M.Div.) in Louisville, Kentucky. Kevin was ordained by the First Baptist Church of Belvedere, South Carolina. His model of ministry is based on John 8 and the amazing, continual grace of Jesus Christ. Kevin and Amy have two children, Jenna and Joshua.

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