1. How many different ways are there to repair a wall that has had water damage due to a flood?
A year or so ago Linda and I got to go on a “mission” trip to southeast Texas to help repair a church that had experienced water damage during one of the hurricanes that had come through that area. We went with Bill Jobe, a builder with a lifetime of experience. There were times when I was left alone to accomplish a small job with clear instructions as to what to do. It is a good thing I had specific instructions because I thought I had a better idea once or twice. My ideas would have led to disaster, as discovered, as the project came closer to completion. I realized that, had I done it my way, I would have had to tear out what I had done and started all over because a circuital step had been left out! With Bill’s experience we were able to complete the project in the time projected in the most efficient way!
2. How many of you remember a song from several years back by Frank Sinatra titled “I Did It My Way”? How good does that song make you feel about doing things “your” way?
3. In relationship to God, what is the outcome when we do things “our way”? (Adam and Eve, Abraham, Jacob and a host of people down through the ages have discovered what a mess we create when we try to do it our way!)
Major teachings of Genesis include: Sin is rebellion against God. Salvation comes from God alone. Covenants are key in both the Old and New Testaments; we learn that man often doesn’t keep his end of a covenant but that God always upholds His promises.
The events in today’s study occurred nearly 4,000 years ago and yet the truths of Scripture we can learn are as relevant today as they were the day they happened!
(Briefly tell about Abraham and Sarah, the births of Ishmael and Isaac, the birth of Esau and Jacob as well as the promise that the older would serve the younger. In each event the people took things in their own hands and made a real mess—that still has impact today!)
4. Today’s main theme is about deception. What may cause a person to intentionally deceive others?
5. How do you typically respond after you discover you were deceived?
(Talk about how Esau and Jacob were born and raised highlighting the favoritism in Isaac’s family. Point out that Esau was the oldest, and as a result, was first in line for his father’s patriarchal blessing! Point out that Rebekah overheard Isaac tell Esau to hunt and prepare a meal and he would give Esau his blessing. Etc.)
The old saying, “The end justifies the means” is not true with God.
A Deceitful Son! Read Genesis 27:18-23
Isaac sensed something was wrong and questioned Jacob four times. With each question Jacob could have revealed his true identity, but each time he answered with a lie.
1. How does one lie open the door for another lie?
Jacob’s four lies were about his identity, the meal, God’s help, and his appearance.
The importance of the blessing cannot be overstated. Isaac was passing down the blessing that was passed on to him by his father, Abraham. (Give the class item 9 from Leader Packet, “Birthright and Blessing”.)
So often we want our Bible heroes to be perfect. But we must remember that no one has been or is perfect, except Christ. Read Hebrews 4:15.
2. When dealing with people who don’t always act with integrity and transparency, what can believers gain by setting the example?
3. How many times can you be caught in a lie before people lose their trust in you?
To look at this deception and think it was God’s will for it to happen this way is to limit God and think that God needs our help to bring about a desired outcome! God never uses lies and deception to accomplish His will!
A Deceived Father! Read Genesis 27:24-27
1. What ways did Jacob use his father’s senses to deceive him? (Isaac heard, tasted, touched, and smelled what he was looking for—Esau. Because of his unrelenting favoritism, he believed because he wanted to believe.)
The human senses are not always reliable. The only trustworthy confirmation is God’s Word and the prompting of His Spirit. Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and John 14:25-26.
2. How did Isaac’s and Rebekah’s favoritism of their sons affect their family? (It caused deep division with each other and their sons.)
3. What are some ways favoritism is seen in the church?
4. What are some of the consequences that result from favoritism?
5. How can we prevent it?
God doesn’t show favoritism. Read Acts 10:34.
Unaware that he had been deceived, Isaac continued the blessing he had started in verse 23. However, he blessed the wrong son. Unhealthy favoritism set Isaac up for failure and can do the same in our lives.
A Stolen Blessing! Read Genesis 27:28-29
1. What are the characteristics of Isaac’s blessing? (Prosperity, Power, Prominence and Protection.)
Isaac blessed Jacob, making him master over his relatives and repeating part of the covenant issued by God to Abraham.
Read Gen. 12:1-3.
2. What are the consequences of getting ahead of God?
3. How could Jacob have handled the situation in a more God honoring way? (He could have resisted his mother’s encouragement to deceive his father.)
God desires that we resist temptation, and He provides a way of escape to avoid sin. Rather than trying to force what he wanted to happen, Jacob could have trusted the Lord to provide a blessing for him!
God would have worked out His plan if they had just trusted Him.
But God worked out His plan despite Jacob’s sinful actions, however Jacob and Rebekah suffered painful consequences as a result of their actions. The right outcome may be realized but there will always be much more pain when we don’t do it God’s way!
Summarize and Challenge!
In what areas of your life can you show integrity and trust in the Lord this week?
In what areas of your life are you trying to get ahead of God’s plan in your life?
Are you impatient with working out God’s plan?
Have you even asked God to reveal to you His plan or have you just taken off on your own course?
What one area of your life is God asking you to trust Him through your words, thoughts, and actions over the next few days or months?
Just remember realizing the desired outcome does not justify the means!