Sacrifice.  That word – sacrifice – is a word that I believe many of us know something about.  As we celebrated Christmas together, my mom brought up Christmas from when she was a child.  She marveled at how her dad – my granddad – was able to get his 4 children gifts and put food on the table.  My granddad was not a man of great wealth but he made great sacrifice to be able to provide for his family.

Sacrifice – that’s what parents do, right?  I think of my parents and how they made great sacrifices so that not only could me and my brother have great Christmases but be able to wear nice clothes and have nice things.  My parents, maybe just like your parents, were not rich people.  I tell you that as a child, it never felt like I had couldn’t get certain things because my mom and dad always seemed to make a way.  No, never wear the latest pair of Jordans (or Jordans period), and I never wore Hillfiger but my pants wore very well and I really loved my plaid shirts.

All of us have made some sacrifice or the other.  With the new year rolling in, some are choosing to make sacrifices right now.  Some are choosing to try and curse less this year.  Others are choosing to try and eat no pork or red meats.  These sacrifices are being made with the hopes of a good outcome.

Spiritually speaking, the Lord has asked us to make a sacrifice and live for Him.  However, the question must be asked, are you willing to make that sacrifice?  Are you willing to live for the Lord and not live for yourself?  I ask this question because we as genuine believer are not supposed to be living for ourselves!  We are supposed to be living for God – have you made that sacrifice?

God chose Jacob and us

My key verse for today’s sermon comes from out of Romans, it reads:

13 As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”

Romans 9:13 NKJV

This is actually quoted from Malachi 1:2-3.  Why is it said that God loved Jacob but hated Esau?  What did Esau do to have this said?

Firstly, let us understand what exactly is being said here in this scripture.  In the time of Esau and Jacob, when a father had twins, he would choose which would receive the inheritance.  Typically inheritance would be awarded to the firstborn.  However, it is said that when the father would choose one twin over the other, he “loved” the twin he gave to be his heir and “hated” the twin he did not choose to be his heir.

Esau and Jacob were twins.  However, this scripture is telling us that the Lord chose Jacob instead of choosing Esau to inherit something special.  We must also remember that the Lord does not operate with human emotion – He can not do so.  Why not?  Well, God is not human!  God is spirit.  There are many people who live under the impression that God hates them but this could not be any further from the truth.  How do I know this?

I know this because Jesus said so!  In John 3:16, we read, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son”.  Again, we should understand that God chose the world, so He gave the world His Son.  God did not have to choose us but He did!  From this, I am able to tell you for a fact that the Lord loves you.  The question still remains, however, what did Esau do to not be chosen by the Lord.

Why did God “hate” Esau?

We know that Esau was the firstborn of the twins (Gen. 25:25).  So, by virtue of his birthright, he was the heir of his dad Isaac, unless Isaac decided to choose Jacob.  Being the heir, we know Esau would have inherited all of what Isaac possessed – cattle, land, etc.  We must also remember that Isaac was the owner of a special covenant that had been made between God and his father – Abraham. 

The covenant between God and Abraham should be seen as a blessing.  God first made this covenant with Abraham when he was called Abram (Gen 12:2,7).  The covenant was a promise of Abraham becoming a great nation and it also included the promise of the land of Canaan.  Throughout the next few chapter of Genesis do we see confirmation, from God, on this covenant (Gen 13:4, Gen 15:1-6).  The better known confirmation of the Abrahamic covenant comes from Gen 22:1-18.

The Abrahamic covenant was absolutely special and we are blessed today because of that covenant.  The covenant was passed from Abraham to Isaac and it would have been passed down to Esau.  Esau should have inherited the covenant but something happened.

One day, we are told (Gen 25:29), Esau was out in the field working while Jacob was cooking a stew.  Coming in from working in the field, Esau saw the stew that Jacob had made.  We are told that Esau was weary from being in the field – many of us have worked really hard and become weary.  Esau asked Jacob, his twin brother, for some of the stew.  Instead of Jacob giving his brother the stew, he barters and says (Gen 25:31), “sell me your birthright”.

This interaction, causes some conflict from some who read this story.  The conflict being that Jacob “did his brother wrong”.  In fact, a couple years ago, I wrote a bible study on this very topic that you might want to give a read.  We are told that Esau is weary from his work (v.29).  In fact, Esau says he’s about to die (v.32).

This statement causes concern for some believers because they take Esau at his word.  We are supposed to help others, especially if they are near death.  However, I feel we must not overestimate how weary Esau was at this point in time.  Esau is certainly speaking, had more than enough energy to walk from wherever he was in the field to Jacob.  I have worked to the point of feeling like I was near death but was likely not truly near death.

What we must pay the most attention to is what Esau says about the birthright.  He says:

32 And Esau said, “Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?”

Genesis 25:32 NKJV

This is a major problem, my friends.  I imagine, that these two knew exactly what was included in the inheritance of the birthright.  I imagine this to be true because I can’t imagine that Isaac did not explain to his sons his relationship, and their grandfathers relationship with the Lord.  I cannot imagine that Isaac had not ever mentioned the covenant that God made between themselves. That’s something that is so important that you have to believe he would have told his sons about at some point when they were able to understand.

So, what Esau says about his birthright makes light of it – he’s making light of the Lord’s covenant!  I hope that you are able to see this.  Esau was taking God’s covenant for granted when he barters away, or sells away his birthright for a temporary hunger.  So, to make this very clear:  Esau chose his hunger over the special covenant that God had made with his granddad and dad.  In other words, Esau chose himself over the Lord.

Sacrifice your hunger

As I said in last Sunday’s sermon, we are to put God over everything.  God should come first in our life – He is the top priority!  We must be willing to sacrifice everything when it comes to what the Lord has for us!  We must especially be willing to sacrifice our hunger when it comes to what God has for us.

When I say hunger, I want you to understand that I am not talking about the growl of your stomach.  When I say hunger, I am talking about what you crave, what you desire, and what you hunger for in your life.  You see, we have an appetite that we try to satisfy through the world but the world cannot satisfy your hungry!  Are you willing to sacrifice that hunger for the covenant that God has made with you.

Esau was not willing to sacrifice his hunger for the Lord’s blessing.  Instead, he cried, “I am about to die” and quickly gave in to his appetite.  For many of us, we feel that God takes too long to satisfy our hunger and so we look for somebody else to feed us.  Be careful, the next bite you could take might come from off the plate of the devil.  Many of us feel that because God has not “delivered for us yet” that we are about to perish – the world is not about to end because you haven’t gotten what you crave for just yet.

What God has for us often requires us to sacrifice our own self desires and hunger.  Many of us will miss out on the greater blessing because of our refusal to sacrifice our hunger.  Some say, “Esau was still blessed”, but I tell you that whatever he had was temporary.  We are told in Malachi 1:3, that his heritage (legacy, people) and mountains (land) was destroyed by jackals. 

God has something special for you, but how badly do you want what He has for you?  Sometimes waiting is required and so we have to sacrifice our own personal clock.  Are you able to sacrifice your own personal clock?  Again, we something does not happen when we want it to happen, we think our world is about to come to an end – it is not.  Do not allow your panic to open yourself up to deception.

There are some who believe Esau was a good man.  If Esau was a good man, he was a good man that got deceived – there are many good people who get deceived every day.  The devil has conned and deceived plenty of good people into believing a lie and that is truly unfortunate.  We must learn to put God first in our life and choose Him instead of opening ourselves to being deceived.  What are you willing to sacrifice to not be deceived?  What are you willing to sacrifice to receive of God?

Listen to What Are You Willing to Sacrifice sermon audio here

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