READ: Genesis 25-26
THINK: Have you ever been painfully hungry or thirsty-so much that your stomach was cramping, your head throbbing and your parched tongue was clinging desperately to the roof of your mouth? In that moment, nothing else mattered. The thought of food consumed you. What you wouldn't have given for a supersized soda, a jumbo pizza, a juicy cheeseburger, or-if you're a vegetarian-a heaping fruit salad (or perhaps you would have caved in and gone for the cheeseburger too)! But would you have really given anything for a meal-even your inheritance? Esau was willing to give up everything that was rightfully his just to satisfy his immediate appetite. In the end, he sacrificed his future for a momentary desire. Inconceivable as that is, people do it all the time; they pursue temporary pleasures while passing up eternal rewards. Are you that hungry for anything but God?
RESPOND: Why did Abraham leave his full inheritance to Isaac? (See 25:5 and 25:6 notes.) What can we learn from Isaac's response to God when it seemed that Rebekah couldn't bear children? (See 25:21 note.) In what way did Isaac demonstrate persistent faith, just as his father Abraham? (See 25:26 note.) What unusual situations would characterize the relationship between Rebekah's two sons? (See 25:23 notes.) What hint does 25:28 give regarding the potential dysfunction in Isaac's family? What was the "birthright," and how did Esau show reckless disregard for it? (See 25:31 note.) What did Esau really give up when he traded the birthright for food? How is Esau's example a warning to us? How would Isaac demonstrate faith during the famine? (See 26:3-4 note.) In what way did Isaac repeat his father's mistake (26:7-10)? Why do people tend to make many of the same mistakes their parents made? How can understanding this tendency help us make better choices, particularly regarding our families? Why do you think Isaac prospered more than others in the land? Are wealth and prosperity true measures of spiritual faithfulness? Why or why not? (See 26:12 note.) Like Isaac, how can you live so that others recognize God in your life?
PRAY: Ask God to help you never take for granted the privileges and opportunities He gives you to succeed and to honor Him. Pray that you will not be so foolish as to trade eternal reward for temporary pleasures. Ask God to help you live in such a way that others will see His goodness and love through you.
ACT: Make choices today that will have eternal impact rather than just temporary fulfillment. Make a conscious effort, in words and actions, to reflect Christ's character. Be careful to set a good example for your friends and family.
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