Some Lentil Stew for Your Birthright?

Scripture: Genesis 25-26

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will review the story of Jacob and Esau.
  • Students will learn Jacob convinced Esau to give him his birthright by giving him some stew.
  • Students will learn Esau made a very important decision too quickly, because his main concern was getting food and not what God may have wanted him to do.
  • Students will participate in an activity allowing them to recreate the event between Jacob and Esau, experiencing it as if they had been there.

Guiding Question: What was it like to be Jacob and Esau during the incident with the stew and the birthright?

Materials: lentil stew or the ingredients to make lentil stew, rustic whole grain bread, bowls and spoons, optional robes

Procedure: Review the story of Jacob and Esau and the stew exchanged for the birthright. Explain to the students that during this time period the older son, Esau, would normally receive twice the amount of inheritance as his younger brother Jacob. Tell the students you are going to recreate the story in the Bible. Divide the class in half. One half will be “Jacob” and the other half will be “Esau”. Provide costumes if you would like.

If you have the time and the facilities, have the students help you assemble and cook the stew (please use all safety precautions). As the stew simmers, tell the students that as they participate in the scene, you want them to think about how they would have felt if they had actually been Jacob or Esau. Have one student act out the part of Jacob and the other the part of Esau. Have the students sit in a circle and try the stew and the bread. As the students are eating ask them to share how they think they would have felt had they actually been the person assigned to their group. What would have made them happy about the exchange? What would have upset them? What do they think Jacob and Esau were thinking as the story unfolded? More importantly, what lessons can we learn from the story to help us be more godly? (Answers will vary. Perhaps the answer is God wants us to think before we make rash decisions and promises. Esau’s desire for food and willingness to make an important decision without thinking totally changed everything for him.)

Additional Questions:

  • What types of decisions are people tempted to make today that are like the one Esau made?

Supplemental Activity: Have more advanced students interview various Christians. Encourage them to ask those being interviewed if they can think of a modern example when they or someone they knew made a rash and unwise decision because they wanted something as badly as Esau wanted that stew. Have students make a short documentary film or find another creative way to share what they learned with others.

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