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This past weekend, we had an amazing online experience with you! We shared a wonderful time of worship, enjoyed a powerful and timely teaching, and experienced a refreshing time of community while having conversations, praying together, building one another up, and sharing in the Word of God through online groups.
Continuing our study through “Origins: The Dreamers,” Pastor Doug Sauder taught from Genesis 27. In this message, we discovered why we all long for the blessings of God, why we can’t steal a blessing, and how blessings are truly received.
Dive deeper into this teaching on your own, with your family, or in your online group! Watch the video below to see a recap of this weekend’s teaching. You can also scroll down to check out expanded notes and summaries from the teaching, family discussion prompts and small group questions, and get informed on some of the great resources available to you.
To watch the message in its entirety, click here.
Let’s recap some of the key talking points from Pastor Doug’s message:
Being blessed is a wonderful thing. There are many simple, trivial things we count as blessings, such as finding a good parking spot when it’s raining, getting out of a traffic ticket, or finding a random $20 bill in your jeans. Those blessings are great and can really make your day, but there’s something truly special about intentional blessings. Whether it’s a birthday party, a surprise trip to visit a family member, or an extremely thoughtful gift, the truth is that those who love us most can bless us the most.
A Blessing Is God’s Favor: Psalm 30:5 (NKJV) tells us, “For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” God’s favor is perfect, His acceptance is complete, and His grace is all-encompassing.
In this message, we looked at a story of blessing, favor, and family. In Genesis 27, Isaac—the seed of blessing, the son of promise, the offspring of the father of faith—is close to death and decides it’s time to pass down the blessing to his son. Now, while Isaac and Rebekah certainly built a legacy of faith for their sons, at the same time there was a lot of dysfunction in this story. And in addition to the blessings that were to be passed down in this chapter, we also see a lot of the brokenness and dysfunction that was passed down—apathy, impulse, favoritism, deception.
Pause and Ponder: What has been passed on in your family, whether good or bad, life-giving or brokenness? What patterns do you see in your family over generations? You may see patterns of faith, but also maybe patterns of addiction or racism. What can you learn by looking back?
Practice: Do an honest genogram of your family to really evaluate what has been passed down—hereditary patterns and psychological factors that impact your current relationships, philosophy on the world, etc. Genogram charts can be found online.
Despite the fact that Esau sold his birthright as firstborn son to his brother Jacob in Genesis 25 for a bowl of stew, Isaac still intended to bless Esau, whom he favored. The blessing being referred to here has no equal or equivalent; it is the distinction of becoming the custodian of God’s promise, His covenant. Only one could inherit it. And Isaac had only one blessing to give between his twin sons . . . brothers who were struggling to get the blessing. Esau sold his birthright, and then as Isaac spoke with him in secret to give him the blessing, he still intended to take it. Jacob, along with his mother Rebekah, sought to deceive Isaac into blessing Jacob instead. And the deception works, but it comes with a price.
Sin has a way of finding us out. Jacob perpetually feels he doesn’t deserve the blessing, so he continually strives to earn it. Esau becomes filled with bitterness, rage, and revenge and takes no responsibility despite the fact that he sold his birthright. Rebekah never gets to see her beloved son again, nor any of her grandkids. And Isaac has to live with knowing he should have blessed Jacob to begin with.
Rebekah tried to help God fulfill the promise, believing that Jacob was the one the blessing was intended for. But God doesn’t need our help! Rebekah did what she thought best for her child, but did not honor God. As a parent, we should never compromise to help our kids. What Jacob really wanted was to receive the blessing legitimately. And for 20 years after this, he deceives and tries to gain God’s blessing, but when he finally wrestles with God and has his hip thrown out of joint, Jacob finally comes to the place where he submits to God (the name Israel, which God changes his name to, literally means “governed by God”) and receives the blessing. It is only then Jacob is able to pass along the blessing.
Our Soul Longs for a Father’s Blessing (Genesis 27:1–29): The true blessing we’re all seeking, whether we realize it or not, whether we fully understand or admit it, is from God. You see, in each of us there is a longing, a deep need for something beyond what our earthly circumstances can offer. Some have called it a God-shaped hole in our hearts.
In the same way that both Esau and Jacob longed for the blessing of their father Isaac, we all long for the life-giving, life-filling, and purpose-fueling blessings of God in Christ.
You Have to Receive the Blessing by Faith (Genesis 27:30–40): We can’t trick God into giving His blessings. We can’t earn the blessings of God or buy them. The blessings of God can only be received by faith. Ephesians 2:8 says we’ve been saved by the grace (charis: “unmerited favor”) of God through our profession of faith. And then the next part of the verse is so powerful. It tells us that this salvation is not of ourselves, but it’s the “gift of God.” 2 Corinthians 9:15 calls this gift of God indescribable. Now, here’s a powerful thing you need to see . . . the gift being referred to here that was not of ourselves is both His unmerited favor of salvation and our faith to accept it. That’s right, our faith is a gift from God that doesn’t come from us. It’s birthed in us by the Holy Spirit and we need only to respond to it.
Theologian Joseph Barnes put it this way: “It is certainly true that faith is the gift of God. It exists in the mind only when the Holy Spirit produces it there, and is, in common with every other Christian excellence, to be traced to his agency on the heart. This opinion, however, does not militate at all with the doctrine that man himself “believes.” It is not God that ‘believes’ for him, for that is impossible. It is his own mind that actually believes, or that exercises faith.”
There Is a Blessing for You (Ephesians 1:3): After devising a scheme to “steal” the blessing, Rebekah claimed, “Let the curse fall on me” (Genesis 27:13 NIV). Does this absolve Jacob of his wrongdoing? Of his sin? No. Rebekah is responsible for her sin and Jacob is responsible for his. Each acted in opposition to the nature and ways of God. In the eyes of God, we cannot accept the responsibility and the punishment for someone else’s sin. It doesn’t work that way! But there is hope for us!
Isaiah 53:4–5 (NIV) tells us, “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering . . . He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Galatians 3:13 (NIV) declares, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.” And 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV) states, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Apart from Jesus there is no absolution, restitution, atonement, or forgiveness for transgressions and sinfulness. Apart from Jesus, no one can save you and you can’t save yourself. You can’t earn the blessed gift of salvation, you can’t steal it, you can’t buy it, and someone else cannot bear your curse for you. But thanks be to God who has “rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13–14 NIV).
One of the most tragic moments of this whole story is the utterly hopeless question by Esau in Genesis 27:36 (NLT): “Oh, haven’t you saved even one blessing for me?” Because of Jesus, we can receive all the blessings of God. 2 Corinthians 1:20–22 (NIV) says, “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”
Quote to Remember: Rebekah said to let the curse of God fall on her if the deception didn’t work. She wasn’t capable of truly bearing that curse, but Jesus was and is today.—Pastor Doug Sauder
As you think about this weekend’s teaching, here are a few questions to reflect on and consider with your family, your circle of friends, or in your group.
Ice-Breaker: What’s the best gift you’ve ever been given, and why?
1. Why do you enjoy receiving gifts? What makes something a good or special gift?
2. How have spiritual fathers/mothers passed a blessing on to you? What are you doing right now to ensure those blessings will be passed down to someone else?
3. In the family line of Abraham, we see a lot of things get passed down—some great things and a faith-filled heritage, and some detrimental flaws and damaging qualities. What has been passed on in your family—whether good or bad? How have these things impacted your life?
4. There are times where we all find ourselves wanting more than what we have or more than what we’ve been given. How do you fight the temptation to covet and enjoy what you’ve been given? What do you believe is the secret of contentment?
5. What’s the gift God has given you right now, and how can you enjoy it and experience it this week?
Walk It Out: What’s the legacy you desire to leave? What are the blessings you want to bestow on those you’re influencing (family, mentees, friends, etc.)? Journal about it this week and next week we’ll have the opportunity to share together!
Parents, here are a few questions to go over with your kids around the dinner table or during dedicated family times.
1. What is your favorite part about getting a birthday or Christmas present?
2. Do you have a grandma or grandpa who you know loves Jesus and has prayed for you? Isn’t that so special? Do you have a younger sibling, cousin, or friend who you can start praying for?
3. Do you know what hand-me-down clothes are? Have you ever had to wear hand-me-down clothes from an older brother or sister? Some hand me downs are awesome, and some may not be so great. Some hand me downs are things you can touch, feel, and smell, like clothes or shoes, but other hand me downs are things you can’t really touch or feel. Some families pass down things that are really good, and some pass down things that aren’t very good. What’s something you want your mom or dad to pass down to you?
4. Make a list of ten things you are grateful for! It’s helpful to focus on what we do have, rather than what we don’t have.
5. Every day is a gift! The sunshine and the fresh air! Do you ever think of your brother or sister or your mom or dad as a gift to you? Or your puppy or your swimming pool? Be thankful as you enjoy the gifts God has given you.
Walk It Out: Let’s pretend you’re going to move away. What would you want people to think about you when they remember you? How smart you are? How kind and helpful you are? How you brighten people’s days? How funny you are and how you made people laugh?
We have several exciting Bible plans available for you to subscribe to! From a reading plan to follow along with our “Origins” series to a plan on experiencing peace, to a few great plans that explore the basics of Christianity, we have a variety of awesome resources for you to grow in your faith and study the Word of God.
To view our reading plans, click here.
As we continue to track the news and information about COVID-19 and its effects both worldwide and right here in our surrounding cities, this week we will continue to hold services ONLINE ONLY.
Join us online this Wednesday for a virtual night of prayer and worship as we lift up the name of Jesus in praise and adoration and intercede for one another, our country, and the world in the midst of crisis, tragedy, and deep wounds.
Then on the weekend, we’ll continue our study through “Origins: The Dreamers” as Pastor Doug teaches from Genesis 28. In this message, we’ll explore the vision that’s come to be known as “Jacob’s ladder” and how it points us to the work of God in Christ Jesus.
We look forward to spending another awesome week with you!
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Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.