The Time Is Now
What do you have planned for tomorrow?
Many people buy American made...
Craftsmen / Snap-On
“You Reap What You Sow”
My mother-in-laws garden
What about the warranty?
Her green thumb / my black one
Illustration of need addressed.
Connect illustration to present day hearers.
“If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans”
Transition = Show this need or similar issue was also the question behind the biblical text.
Clearly state the theme of the text/sermon.
Title & Text
The Time Is Now
Esau wanted to receive the blessing from Isaac but by then it was to late.
That God would renew our minds by His Word.
That today God would change us and not allow a mere exercise in religion.
THE SERMON BODY
30 As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, when Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, Esau his brother came in from his hunting. 31 He also prepared delicious food and brought it to his father. And he said to his father, “Let my father arise and eat of his son’s game, that you may bless me.” 32 His father Isaac said to him, “Who are you?” He answered, “I am your son, your firstborn, Esau.” 33 Then Isaac trembled very violently and said, “Who was it then that hunted game and brought it to me, and I ate it all before you came, and I have blessed him? Yes, and he shall be blessed.” 34 As soon as Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry and said to his father, “Bless me, even me also, O my father!” 35 But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully, and he has taken away your blessing.” 36 Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has cheated me these two times. He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing.” Then he said, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?” 37 Isaac answered and said to Esau, “Behold, I have made him lord over you, and all his brothers I have given to him for servants, and with grain and wine I have sustained him. What then can I do for you, my son?” 38 Esau said to his father, “Have you but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father.” And Esau lifted up his voice and wept.
Talk about missing it by the skin of your teeth. Jacob has a narrow escape from the wrath of Esau and the anger of his father. He just barely escapes with the blessing as his brother is walking in. You can almost feel the tension as they pass each other in the hallway from Isaacs chamber. Have you ever been in either of these mens positions? Have you ever just barely squeaked out a victory or just narrowly lost in defeat? Did they speak to each other as they passed by? Did they even make eye contact? How could Jacob have looked Esau in the face after this charade? We can tell by the text how narrow a gap of time has passed after the one to before the other with the words the author uses. The way the Hebrew reads it is almost as if Jacob holds open the tent flap for Esau to cary in his meal!
Have you ever been so excited about something that you don’t notice something else happening? Like when you are a kid you are so excited about playing a game with your friends that you don’t even notice that you have to go to the restroom until it is an absolute emergency? How excited would Esau have had to be to miss his brother wearing his best clothes with a couple of goat skins hanging from his neck and arms?
Remember Jacob does nothing for this blessing all he does is brings the two goats to Mamma who prepares them. Esau now is coming in from seeking to be obedient to his fathers request after his successful hunt. The text says that he also prepared food for his father. While Jacob was stealing and deceiving Esau was working, Esau was hunting, Esau was seeking to be obedient! You can almost hear the swell of self satisfaction in his voice as he heralds his own return bringing with him his fathers feast.
Listen to the respect and honor that Esau has for his father, it is different then that of the words of Jacob. He says “Let my father arise and eat of his son’s game, that you may bless me.” Jacob said “now sit up and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me.” Jacob just wants to get this thing over with so he can get out of here before anyone figures it out and Esau on the other hand wants to revel in the ceremony of it all.
Well Isaac might have been blind but he sure was not stupid. Who are you would be a natural answer if you thought you had just said goodbye to your son Esau and in comes your son Esau. This is obviously more serious then loony tunes but it reminds me of when Bugs would put on a costume to fool Elmer Fudd. By the way if you are visiting and don’t know me well I bet you can still guess the age of my children by my frame of reference so far I have talked about wetting pants and loony tunes, just take a wild guess right!
Let my father arise and eat of his son’s game, that you may bless me.
now sit up and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me.
Anyhow, Isaac is just confused for a moment as he asks the question. Who are you? Making sure this is not just Deja-vu and that he really does understand the situation his fear and anger are confirmed as Esau responds that he is his firstborn son, that he is actually Esau!
Isaacs anger is palpable! His anger is white hot! The Hebrew here again could not be more descriptive. He trembles very violently is our translation in the ESV. His neck veins bulge, his face turns red, his knuckles white, and through gritted teeth he responds to Esau’s answer with a rhetorical question. Who was that who just got blessed then? We can know this question is rhetorical because of the doubts that Isaac had earlier as well as the statement he makes in verse thirty five referring to Jacob.
Place yourself for a moment into this story. Lets say your Isaac, and this gets revealed to you. You are absolutely livvd by the trickery of your son who just stole from your other son and deceived you in one dastardly scheme. What do you do? Well of course you do what any good parent would do you scream out for the naughty child to come to you. You make sure that you use the first middle and last names just so that if your tone failed to communicate your seriousness at least the fullness of their name would convince them that you mean business. You tell them to march right in and to explain what they did. You tell them that they owe both you and their brother an apology. You tell them that they are going to have to give their toy back to their little sister and go to time out until you can come and talk to them again.... wait a minute that is my house not Isaacs right? But that is what we do right?
What does Isaac do… “Yes, and he will be blessed”. Wait a minute whats up with that? Lets put a pin in that and come back to it in just a minute.
Lets look at Esau’s response to this information. The text says:
“He cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry”. Of course he did, can you imagine how he must be feeling right now. The Hebrew used to describe Esau’s emotion in his weeping is as one who just lost a horrific accident take place where they lost a dear loved one or the scream of a person who is in the process of being violated.
When I was in KY going to school I worked at a hospital as a heart tech while there I had a friend who suffered the loss of a baby who was born early due to complications and battled for life for seven days until he finally went to be with God. Neither parent was a believer. I will never forget the gut wrenching scene of that mother on her knees with her face and hands in the dirt as she whaled over this child. Words fail us to speak of such sorrow, of such anger, of such pain.
This is Esau...
Esau’s knees buckle and he clings to Isaacs robe as he pleads with him for something, anything. “Bless me! even me also, O my father!”.
Isaacs answer brings no comfort to Esau. In fact they again seem a little strange given the chain of events so far. Like the bottom dropping out of a paper bag, so Isaacs answer drops all hope out of Esau’s heart. Isaac tells him that their is no other blessing to give that Jacob has taken his for himself. We see that Isaac even recognizes the deceit that transpired but yet does not retract his blessing from Jacob.
This is the instant that the seed of bitterness is planted in the heart of Esau which we see later starts to sprout in verse forty one of this same chapter when he plots to kill Jacob. Esau makes a play on the name of Jacob referring to him as a cheater who is rightly named such because he is indeed a cheat according to Esau. Esau takes us as readers back to chapter twenty five as he blames Jacob for “taking away” his birthright and now the icing on the cake he “takes away” his blessing also. Esau seems twice the victim here as Jacob makes off with everything.
For the second time now Esau asks his father for a blessing and for the second time Isaac declines. Isaacs response seems harsh but is one we might also give to a child of our own. My favorite desert is blueberry pie, my birthday is coming up in a week and so if history is a teacher I am sure Elisa will be baking me one soon. As all of us do I try to save as little as possible for others when it comes to my favorite desert. So I will cut up the pie and leave a section for the kids to share. If as sometimes happens Elisa and I implement the tactic of divide and conquer and she leaves with two and I stay home with two and we just so happen to have some pie… Well when the other two come home finding the pie gone my answer will be similar to Isaacs.
“With pie and ice-cream I have sustained them. What then can I do for you my child?” or in laymen's terms, “sorry, the pie is gone bro!”
Ironically in a house where the oldest is six the rest of the section would be our outcome also...
Esau for the third and last time asks again for a blessing from Isaac asking if there is only just the one he has to give and repeats his plea verbatim from above and follows this with another episode of weeping.
This section closes with an anti-blessing for Esau from Isaac which parallels his blessing given to Jacob, you will have to look at them side by side on your own time later this week.
What I want to ask you is the question we must ask when we look at a text like this: Why would Isaac just continue to allow his blessing stand on Jacob even after he found out what he had done? That is a good question in my opinion and not just because I asked it myself. It is a natural question from a human perspective for us to be asking. The answer to this question can be found earlier in Genesis when we heard God give his proclamation that “out of these two sons will be two nations and the one will serve the other”. This scene therefore is acting out the fulfillment of God’s will. We see the reason for this blessing other places in scripture as we had talked about before where God says that “Jacob He loved but Esau He hated”.
Now the question is not why Isaac upheld the blessing because we know that it was fore-ordained by God. The question now must be this, why did God hate Esau and love Jacob when it appears so far that Jacob is the bad guy?
To get the answer to this question we must turn to the new testament. Turn firstly with me to Hebrews chapter twelve and lets pick it up in verse fifteen.
15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16 that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.
Turn firstly with me to Hebrews chapter twelve.
Esau never got over the experience with Jacob and the stew did he. He never took ownership of his own faults, never admitted his own failures which led to his distress. Instead he buried it deep down in his own heart and allowed it to grow into a root of bitterness. Remember what he says in the text for today, Esau blames Jacob for “taking away his birthright” but according to events in chapter twenty five Esau sold it of his own free will! Esau was so caught up in the here and now that he did not think of his future or the consequences of his choices. But that was not his only fault was it, no he was sexually immoral also. Remember how this section started in chapter twenty six verse thirty four and thirty five? Esau took two wives and not only that but these women were daughters of the land to which no wife was to be taken for the offspring of Abraham.
The main issue according to the writer of Hebrews was neither of these two things however. These two things were but symptoms of Esau’s main problem, the text says he was unholy! According to the translation you are using it might put it another way perhaps it says profane but really I think that the NASB and the NIV have it right when they translate it as godless. Esau was unrepentant in his own heart and therefore missed out on the future blessing and the eternal rewards of God because he was godless. The Message, puts it this way:
But that was not his only fault was it, no he was sexually immoral also. Remember how this section started in chapter twenty six verse thirty four and thirty five? Esau took two wives and not only that but these women were daughters of the land to which no wife was to be taken for the offspring of Abraham. The main issue according to the writer of Hebrews was neither of these two things however. These two things were but symptoms of Esau’s main problem, the text says he was unholy! According to the translation you are using it might put it another way perhaps it says profane but really I think that the NASB and the NIV have it right when they translate it as godless. Esau was unrepentant in his own heart and therefore missed out on the future blessing and the eternal rewards of God because he was godless.
Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God’s blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears.
Look then upon the sad condition of this piteous individual in verse seventeen and seek to be warned by it.
“For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.”
Last Sunday we talked about counterfeit christianity and many of you told me that it was a powerful word, praise God for that but I then ask you, so what! You preached a good sermon pastor, great, so what! The greatest message ever delivered makes no difference if it is not applied to the lives of the one who hears it. Do you desire to inherit the blessing? Then repent and apply the Word of God to your life today! Today is the day of your salvation! Today is the window of opportunity for you to turn and seek God! Today is the day to commit to living a life dedicated to Christ! Today is the day to witness to others! Today is the day for you to serve this body! Today is the day!!
22 He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ 28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. 29 And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. 30 And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
Feast for the Full
27 So he came near and kissed him. And Isaac smelled the smell of his garments and blessed him and said, “See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field that the Lord has blessed! 28 May God give you of the dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth and plenty of grain and wine. 29 Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be everyone who blesses you!”
39 Then Isaac his father answered and said to him: “Behold, away from the fatness of the earth shall your dwelling be, and away from the dew of heaven on high. 40 By your sword you shall live, and you shall serve your brother; but when you grow restless you shall break his yoke from your neck.”
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.
13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles.
17 For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.
12 Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.
Expose the structure of the text.
Main points should support the theme.
points should follow textual sequence unless good reason to change.
A recent popular saying from the youth of our nation was YOLO meaning you only live once. A truer saying I do not have, I would only add this plea… Then let every day of it count for the eternal glory of God!!
use simple and clear transitions to give structure to movement.
Use verse references before quoting so that listeners can read along.
2 For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
Use personal observances to illustrate difficult concepts.
Poem by: Edgar Albert Guest
Don’t introduce new material.
He was going to be all that a mortal should be Tomorrow. No one should be kinder or braver than he Tomorrow. A friend who was troubled and weary he knew, Who'd be glad of a lift and who needed it, too; On him he would call and see what he could do Tomorrow.
narrow the focus don’t expand it.
Each morning he stacked up the letters he'd write Tomorrow. And thought of the folks he would fill with delight Tomorrow. It was too bad, indeed, he was busy today, And hadn't a minute to stop on his way; More time he would have to give others, he'd say Tomorrow.
Clinch the goal.
The greatest of workers this man would have been Tomorrow. The world would have known him, had he ever seen Tomorrow. But the fact is he died and he faded from view, And all that he left here when living was through Was a mountain of things he intended to do Tomorrow.
Give concrete applications.
Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.
2 For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
Pray for forgiveness for our apathy and slothfulness.
What it stands for
Pray that God would give us eyes for eternity.
Fellowship With Each Other