After 20 years of marriage, Isaac and Rebekah still did not have children. Isaac prayed that God would give Rebekah a child, and God answered his prayer. Rebekah became pregnant with twins, but the pregnancy was difficult. The twins fought inside her, and Rebekah asked God, “Why is this happening to me?”
God explained His plan for the twins. The boys’ families would become two nations (from Esau, the nation of Edom; from Jacob, the nation of Israel), one stronger than the other. And the older son would serve the younger. This was uncommon; the firstborn had a birthright—a double portion of the inheritance. But this prophecy showed God had chosen the younger twin to inherit the promise made to Abraham.
Jacob and Rebekah’s boys were born and the older, Esau (EE saw), was unlike the younger, Jacob. Esau became a hunter, and Jacob stayed at home. One day, Esau agreed to give his birthright to Jacob in exchange for some bread and a bowl of stew.
Isaac may have perceived the conflict between brothers as a threat to the covenant. But God appeared to Isaac at Gerar reaffirmed His promise of land, descendants, and a blessing to all the nations of the earth. (Gen. 26:4) He encouraged Isaac to be faithful like Abraham. God was at work in each generation. He showed grace by extending the promise to those who had no innate right to it, to those who did not deserve it.
As you share this story with your kids, remind them that God’s covenant with Abraham continued to the next generation. Esau sold his birthright, giving Jacob the right to the wonderful blessings God promised to his father Abraham. Through Jacob’s family, God would send the promised Savior to bring blessing and salvation to the world.
Contact a family in your church or community who has a newborn baby. Schedule a time for your family to meet the baby. Discuss how God’s family grows as people trust Jesus and are “born again.”
FAMILY DISCUSSION STARTERS
• What is a birthright, and why was it important?
• Why do you think God reminded Isaac of His promise?
• What do believers in Jesus inherit as a “birthright”? (See Gal. 3:29; Heb. 11:16; Titus 3:7.)