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Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 37 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 10: The Price of Duplicity *
Introduction: How many times does it seem like God needs a little
help to get those things done which you know He needs to do right
now? So far in the story of Abraham and his descendants, we have seen
what kind of trouble that kind of attitude can create. This week we
study two different approaches to "assisting" the will of God. Let's
dive into our study and learn more!
- Read Genesis 25:19-21. God had made a promise to Abraham
that his descendants would be a great nation. God led in
the selection of Rebekah to be Isaac's wife (Genesis 24).
Why should Isaac face the problem of a childless wife?
- How did Isaac face this problem? (He prayed to God to
fulfill His promise.)
- Is the "family" making progress in trusting God?
(The solution his mother had for the problem was
for his father to take another wife. Isaac does
not do that, he goes to God and asks for his
- Read Genesis 25:22-23. What tempers the joy of this
pregnancy for Rebekah? (It seems that something is wrong.)
- To whom does she turn for help? (God.)
- Notice what God told Rebekah about the future of
these two boys. How does this compare with the normal
order of things? (It is the opposite, as we will see.
Normally, the first-born is the one entrusted with
- Why do you think Rebekah had two sons? (If you read
Genesis 25:26 you will see that Isaac was married for
twenty years before he had a son. He spent twenty
years praying. God is making up for a lost time.)
- What does Genesis 25:22-23 suggest about abortion?
(God knows the unborn child.)
- Read Genesis 25:24-28. As people get older, food seems to
be more important to them. Do you think it is just food
that causes Isaac to prefer Esau? (He has a "rough and
ready" son who accepts the challenge of the hunt and is
successful. His other son hangs around the house with
mom. Isaac's preference is not so difficult to understand.
Neither is Rebekah's preference.)
- Should parents prefer one child over the other? (My
parents made it a high priority not to show a
preference between my brother and me. My father had
not been the favored child and my mother thought her
father favored his dog over her! When they married
they determined they would show no preference.)
- Did Rebekah have an excuse for her preference
because of what God had told her about the
future of the two boys?
- What is the birthright? (Read Genesis 27:28-29. This is
the blessing normally given to the son born first. Read
also Deuteronomy 21:15-17.)
- How much importance would you attach to such a
- Read Genesis 25:29-34. Which son shows a greater character
defect? (I vote for Jacob as having the greater character
defect. He was not kind, he was not generous, and he was
overreaching to obtain something that was not his. Esau's
defect was not valuing what he had.)
- What do you think the Bible means when it says Esau
"despised" his birthright? (Read Hebrews 12:16.
Hebrews reveals that I understated the defect in
Esau's character. He doesn't care about the
birthright because he doesn't care about God.)
- Does the birthright have a spiritual dimension?
- More Conniving
- Read Genesis 27:1-4. Why didn't Isaac just give the
blessing right there? Why is a meal involved? (When you
think about religious ceremonies in the Bible, they often
have a connection to eating and drinking. For example,
- Re-read Genesis 25:23. Do you think Isaac was unaware
of what God had said?
- Read Genesis 27:5-10. Is this the way you would have
reacted? If not, what would you have done? (They could
have had a family meeting where they reviewed what God had
told Rebekah and the "deal" that Jacob and Esau had
reached on the birthright. Read Genesis 26:34-35. I would
have thrown into the argument the problem with Esau having
irritating Hittite wives.)
- Was it possible to give the younger son the
birthright? Was this something that could be
discussed? (Read 1 Chronicles 5:1 and Genesis 48:17-19. This, plus what had happened to Ishmael, shows
that giving the blessing to the first born was not an
- Read Genesis 27:11-13. What concerns Jacob the most?
- How about you? Is that your greatest concern about
- Is there any way that this scheme will not be found
out? (This is what amazes me. There was no way this
would not be found out - and soon!)
- Read Genesis 27:14-20. How many lies do you find in these
- Which lie troubles you the most? (It is one thing to
lie, but I think it is worse to knowingly take God's
name to bolster your lie. He did not need to mention
God in this lie. Notice that he refers to his
father's God, not his.)
- Read Genesis 27:21-25. Isaac has doubts: the timing is
wrong, the voice is wrong, things are just not right. Why
didn't Isaac call in some third person to confirm who was
about to be blessed?
- Read Genesis 27:26-27. What convinced Isaac that this was
Esau? (He smelled like Esau because of the clothes.)
- What comes to mind when you think about this kiss?
- Read Genesis 27:28-29. How much authority does Isaac have
in giving this blessing? Would God provide Jacob the
blessing even if it was procured by fraud?
- Read Genesis 27:30-37. The fraud is almost immediately
discovered. What is the answer to the question about
whether a blessing procured by fraud will be honored?
- Does this show that crime pays? We should help God by
all means necessary? (The New Bible Commentary points
out the terrible consequences that flow from the
trait of dishonesty. Jacob left and he never saw his
mother again. ( Genesis 27:13 was thus fulfilled in
part.) Later, Jacob's father-in-law, Laban, cheated
Jacob out of seven years of labor and gave him a wife
he did not want. This deception caused a life-long
problem for Jacob and resulted, in part, in Jacob
being deceived about the fate of his son, Joseph.
Just as Jacob used a goat to fool his father, so his
sons used goat's blood to fool him about Joseph.
Life is better and easier if you are honest.)
- Look more closely at Genesis 27:36. Are Esau's
charges true? (Just the opposite, his knowing "trade"
of his birthright arguably entitles Jacob to the
- Read Genesis 27:41-46. Who is Rebekah referring to when
she speaks of losing "both of you in one day?" (Isaac and
- What kind of life does Rebekah have in the future?
(No doubt Isaac and Esau know she was part of this
deception. Esau's Hittite wives, who are already a
problem, will be even worse when they think they are
poorer because of the deception.)
- Is Rebekah still misleading Isaac? (She tells him
Jacob needs to leave to get a wife, not to avoid
being killed by his brother.)
- Read Genesis 28:1-5. Isaac is not deceived now. Why does
he repeat the blessing? (Two things. I think he realizes
that God had in mind for Jacob to have the birthright
blessing. He also believes the blessing to be
- Friend, our study this week confirms again that when God
promises us something, we do not need to "assist" Him in
getting the job done with dishonest acts. God calls on us
to trust and obey Him. Will you answer that call?
- Next week: Jacob Becomes Israel.
* Copr. 2006, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.