Study Guide

The story of Jacob’s life begins with the story of him and his brother, Esau, as Esau gives his God-given birthright to Jacob. While Jacob’s deceptive nature is exposed, Esau’s value for the worldly and contempt for the spiritual is exposed as well. Instead of accepting the calling of God, Esau trades the eternal to satisfy immediate, temporal comforts.
Application
  1. Esau trades something that God is doing for something that he wants—he’s making a trade for instant gratification. In what areas of your life do you trade spiritual opportunity for physical comfort or pleasure? In what ways do you lean towards being the “immoral man” (the man consumed with the world)?

  2. We are foolish to take a short-term compromise, comfort, or rest, and miss out on the long-term spiritual benefit. Where can we make short-term sacrifices for eternal gain? Matt lists the examples of materialism, busyness, self-absorption or self-importance, worshipping our children, affirmation, sex, comfort, being alone, friends, and acceptance. Which of these examples resonate with you the most and why?

  3. Matt referenced Matthew 13:44 and challenged us to take our current circumstances and what we have been given and trade it all in for spiritual value. Where can you trade your circumstances, gifts, and resources for God’s Kingdom? Where are you already making this trade?

Key Points
  • Esau’s giving of his birthright exposes what his soul truly values—He values the worldly satisfaction of hunger over the God-given birthright. Because food is an immediate need for him, food becomes a form of pleasure and comfort that he feels he can’t get from the birthright. He chooses himself over God, dismisses God’s calling on his life, and alleviates the physical discomfort by trading in the responsibility of God’s calling for temporary gratification.

  • When we wonder how God could possibly exalt Jacob, with his scheming and deceptive character, we have to keep in mind that we are just as unworthy of being exalted; yet, God exalts us.

  • For college students and young adults: In a culture consumed with connecting and never feeling alone, there are moments where it is good to be alone, to feel lonely, and to call out for something deeper and richer than just hanging out all the time. There is value to feeling lonely and suffering alone because it deepens your soul and drives you to be comforted and find true value and acceptance in your relationship with your Creator.

Scripture References