Studies in Torah

Genesis 25:19–28:9: Esau lives out why ‘following your heart’ can be folly

Where we came from and who our parents are doesn’t necessarily define who we are or who we will become. We need to recognize the good around us and become wise to the frequent folly of “following your heart.” This is what we can learn from the life of Esau, the brother of Ya’akov and son of Yitzkhak, detailed in the Torah section תּוֹלְדֹת Toldot or Toledot, covering Gen. 25:19-28:9.

The parashah name means “generations,” from the verb יָלַד yalad (H3205), commonly translated in the King James Version as “begat.” Someone comes from someone else. There are toldot of the Earth (Gen. 2:4) of Adam (Gen. 5:1), Noach (Gen. 6:9), Noach’s sons (Gen. 10:1), Shem (Gen. 11:10), Terah (Gen. 11:27),  Yishmael (Gen. 25:12) and Yitzkhak (Gen. 25:19).

Rivkah is given a prophesy of her children.

“The LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb; And two peoples will be separated from your body; And one people shall be stronger than the other; And the older shall serve the younger.”” (Genesis 25:23 NASB)

Prophecies demonstrate God’s:

  • Foresight (knowledge and control of events).
  • Insight (knowledge of what’s really happening now or happened at a certain point).

Esau had red hair and lots of it. So much so that when Ya’akov dressed up as Esau, he had to wear goat hair leather to approximate Esau’s presence. King David was similarly described.

History shows us the truth of Edom and Israel as they wrestled each other throughout history.

  • Amalaki came from Edom and attacked Israel during the Exodus.
  • Edom turned away Israel from safe passage during the Exodus.
  • David made Edom a vassal after border skirmishes.
  • Edomi cheered and helped by inaction the destruction of Yerushalayim by Babylon (Obadiah 11).
  • Edom = Rome = Christianity: Rabbinic view of Psa. 137:7 equated Edom with Yerushalem-sackers.

When you read the Psalms and Prophets, Edom is one of the codewords for nations that war against Israel.

What did Abraham know, and when did he know it?

“because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My laws.” (Genesis 26:5 NASB)

Jewish tradition claims that Abraham knew all the written Torah even before it was written. But God gave Abraham certain things to protect, such as God’s direct orders, such as the sacrifice of Yitzkhak. He did have some understanding of ceremonial rules, Abraham didn’t know why but he did them as God instructed. At the very least, these were things that God directed Abraham and his family to guard certain things and they did it.

Certain blessings are irrevocable and prophetic. Yitzkhak’s blessing on Ya’akov is an example of that. Yitzkhak was a prophet speaking for God in this case. This was the same blessing and prophesy God gave Rivkah years before.

Faith tested

Rivkah didn’t trust God enough to watch to see how God Himself would make sure that Ya’akov got the blessing and instead she had her own idea. She paid a big price for that.

Many of the problems we see in the middle east and our current events are caused by those who are trying to “help” God and make the matter worse instead of better.

The generations leading up to Messiah was planted many millennia before Yeshua was born. How these generations interacted with each other then is playing out now, including the recent Islamic terrorist attacks in Paris. It makes you want to study the “why” and “now what” of the promise made to Yishmael.

It’s bad enough that Ishmael was blessed to be a son of Abraham, but he was given so much power that his generations, most of whom have not accepted Yeshua as Messiah, are with us to this day, wrecking havoc.

No automatic citizenship in the Kingdom of God by inheritance

Salvation isn’t inherited, contrary to Pharisaical teaching (Matt. 3:7–9; Luke 3:7–8). The prophecy of the older serving the younger was given when “the twins … had not done anything good or bad.” God doesn’t choose people based on their physical descent but on their spiritual descent.

Romans 9:1–15 gives us the answer. Apostle Paul was grieved greatly because most natural-born of Israel did not accept the Messiah, the One who all the toldot were pointing toward.

“I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.” (Romans 9:1–5 NASB)

What we think is happening may not be the end result. We have to trust God in what he is doing when he set up the nation of Israel but also when he set up the nation of Yishmael.

Just because the majority follow a particular belief, doesn’t make the majority belief valid. Truth is not a democracy. The majority can be wrong.

The toldot leads us back to the ultimate source and authority: God. An argument either stands or falls not based on how many people believe it. Something is either true or false on its own. Don’t dismiss an argument just because someone you dislike believes it.

A valid prophecy came out of the mouth of the High Priest Caiaphas who framed Yeshua on trumped up charges to have him killed. A man that evil still spoke a valid prophesy.

The genealogy of Yitzkhak, Yishmael, Esau and Ya’akov did not determine their life path. Their own choices did that.

Satisfied with completeness

Esau was a man of the field. He was restless, always in search of prey, something new. Esau was never satisfied. Yitzkhak loved that in him.

Ya’akov, on the other hand, was a peaceful man, living in tents. He was a complete man was content to be with his ancestors.

When Ya’akov is called the “complete” man, that word in Hebrew is תָּם tam (H8535), complete; from primitive root תָּמַם tamam (H8552), to be complete, in a good or a bad sense. Ya’akov was a mild mannered man.

The Messiah wants us to be “complete” not lacking in anything. King David was certainly not a wallflower but he was complete. He didn’t seek fame and glory. He only sought after God and His will.

Esau operated totally in the flesh. His Canaanite wives are another example of that.

You wonder if Yitzkhak was tipped off when Ya’akov gave credit to God for the hunt. Would Esau speak like that? I doubt it based on what we know of Esau up to this point.

The promise of something in the future, what we might called delayed gratification, was not as thrilling or important as the here and now.

Esau always followed his heart, which was not a good thing.

“Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.” (Hebrews 12:14–17 NASB)

The beginning the battle between Esau and Ya’akov did not start at Yitzkhak’s feet, but when they were still in their mother’s womb. Esau didn’t lose the blessing at the time of the deception but when he sold his birthright for a bowl of soup. Esau had regret, but not repentance.

Don’t “sell yourself” for the ungodly pleasures and passions that last only a minute. Don’t be a “hunter” of passionate experiences.

You see this often in people after a court verdict. What are they crying about? Loss of freedom? Or do they understand they did something horribly wrong.

God designed us with the ability to see, hear, feel, taste, but not all that we sense is “profitable” for making us “complete,” i.e. content.

“All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.” (1Corinthians 6:12–13 NASB)

Just because God is sovereign over all things doesn’t mean we can partake of things dominated by the evil one. Am I going to have the short view of immediate gratification or do I take the long term of eternity?

Monthly memorial of the coming Kingdom of God

When you have Shabbat and a Rosh Chodesh on the same day, the haftarah reading is Isa. 66:1-24. “Posers” for God ultimately aren’t  interested in the things of God. When we see extremely violent people killing innocent people, we know that God will put an end to that in His time. We have to see over the horizon. We have to see beyond the bloodshed and death of the current time.

The posers think they are fantastic, but God will expose their lie. God will lift up the humble and contrite. He listens to those who repent, who understand when they need to turn around. They hear God’s words and believe it will happen.

The destruction and misery of this world will come to an end.

The fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom. Are we in a place where God is going to show us mercy or not? That fear of the Lord should keep us grounded.

The war against God and the righteous will end. The Shabbat and Rosh Chodesh are eternal memorials of salvation.

Speaker: Jeff. Summary: Tammy. 

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