Esau Sells His Birthright
God helps us make good choices.
“Birth Certificate” handout (1 per child); Fine-tipped markers
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In today’s Bible lesson, we’re learning about the surprising story of a man named Esau. Esau was a twin, and he made a really poor choice that affected his entire life. Why? All because he was hungry! But before we dive in, let’s talk about an important piece of Esau’s story. It’s something called “birthright.”
Invite a few kids to share their ideas about what a birthright is.
Your birthright is what you’re born with or born into. Some things that are considered a birthright are your family’s name and your family relationships. It can include your family’s reputation. It includes property, such as your house, car, or livestock. Your birthright is a big deal—it represents what you can claim as yours in the world.
If you were born during Bible times—and even in some cultures today—and you were born first, you might have a more valuable birthright than your younger siblings.
Hand a “Birth Certificate” and a marker to each child.
We’re going to think about your birthright now. As we talk, you’ll fill out more and more of your Birth Certificate. For starters, write your first, middle, and last name on your certificate. (Allow time.)
Your name is perhaps your most important birthright. Your parents chose it for you and it usually sticks with you forever. No one can take away your name unless you make that choice.
Esau had a twin brother named Jacob. Esau was born first. Jacob was born holding onto his brother’s heel.
Now take a look at your birth certificate. Write your birth date. (Allow time.) Now, think about your birth order. Were you born first like Esau, second like Jacob, or somewhere else in line? List that on your certificate. (Allow time.)
What things are part of your birthright? Your family’s house, money, belongings, pets, cars, toys, you name it. List a couple of those things on your birth certificate. (Allow time.)
Remember: Esau was born first. He would inherit the most, including property, houses, money, and livestock. Esau wouldn’t have to worry about these things. But then, something happened.
One day, Esau came in from the fields where he’d been hunting. He was very hungry. You know what that’s like! Jacob was cooking up a tasty stew and bread when Esau came in, and it must have smelled wonderful. Esau naturally wanted some of the tasty food.
Jacob, who was born second, whose birthright was much smaller than his brother’s, said, “I’ll give you this food if you sell me your birthright.”
Esau didn’t even hesitate. He said, “I’m so hungry I’ll die; what good is my birthright?” And he agreed to sell his birthright to his brother right then for a bowl of stew, bread, and a drink. That’s almost like giving away all your possessions for a combo meal!
Now, take another look at your birth certificate. Would you trade any of those things for one meal? (Allow children to respond.) It’s true: Esau made a very poor choice. Let’s ask God to help us make good choices.
God, thank you for giving us the freedom to make our own choices. Thank You most of all for guiding us toward making good choices and for helping us when we ask. Please stand beside us when we face tough choices and help us make good decisions. In Jesus’ name, amen.