27, 30-28, 9 The Dangers Of Parental Favoritism

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                                                  liberty bible church          7/13/08 P.M.

By Tom Zobrist

“The Dangers of Parental Favoritism”

Genesis 27:30-28:9


Illus. of Sibling Rivalry article. What this article does not share is what can be the results of sibling rivalry gone bad. I.e. a brother’s shooting recently up in Marshall County. Police reported that they were frequently called to their home to break up fights. Their mother also lived there. Sibling rivalry is part of our sin nature. It has been part of our DNA since Caan and Abel. Parental favoritism is a contributing factor. What are some dangers of this and how can we avoid it?

OPEN to passage.                                       


Prop. In this passage, we see how dangerous playing favorites with our kids can be.  

Open in PRAYER.

PREVIEW the passage. It appears from Scripture that Isaac and Rebekah both may have chosen a favorite from their twin boys. Cf. Gen. 25:21-28 So far, We’ve seen Jacob steal Esau’s birthright. Last week, we saw Jacob connive with his mother to steal Esau’s blessing as well. This would have been God’s will for him anyway. There was no need to be deceptive, but Rebekah and Jacob both chose that path. Tonight, we see the results of those choices. What can be the results of playing favorites with our kids? First…

  i. Dissatisfaction vs. 30-36

Illus. of The Ultimate Gift clip. Here was a group of dissatisfied siblings that wanted only monetary blessings. Something similar happens here when Esau and Jacob compete for their father’s blessing. Like this clip…    

a. emotions run high   

V 30    1. This account reads like a Hollywood script. Jacob gets out just in the nick of time. But the damage was done.

V 31    2. Esau makes his tasty food, wild game that his father requested, and takes it in to him. He had lost his birthright and was excited to get the blessing. But, he soon to be disappointed.

V 32    3. Isaac was full. He had already eaten. He was not expecting another meal. When he discovers what has happened, he becomes very emotional.

V 33    4. He is literally shaken up. He knew that God’s plan would be fulfilled one way or another and he realized that it was coming to pass, even in spite of his favoritism of Esau. Jacob would indeed be blessed because God had willed it. He had chosen Jacob. Cf. Rom. 9:10-13; Mal. 1:2-3 Isaac should not have tried to overrule God.

V 34    5. Esau was very bitter and angry. He also wanted a blessing. But it was not to be.

b. Esau is dissatisfied

V 35    1. Although Isaac was wrong in trying to bless Esau, Jacob was wrong in using deceit to accomplish that which God would have eventually anyway. We can’t get ahead of God’s timing.

V 36a   2. Esau is beginning to realize what type of a person his brother is at this point in his life. Twice he had supplanted or deceived his brother. He had also taken his heel at birth and thus his name. Cf. 25:26

V 36b  3. Once last plea for a blessing. But it was not to be. Rather than fighting God, he should have submitted to His will. That was something this family struggled with. They tried to gain blessings their way.  

Trans. One result of parental favoritism is DISSATISFACTION. A second is…

 ii. divergence vs. 37-40

Illus. of when our children are little, they take the same path. They mostly go with us, together. As they get older, they go their separate ways. Sometimes it’s even hard to get them together. It is what God intended. He has a different plan for each of them and they have different gifts to get those plans accomplished. Here, Isaac’s blessing reveals that Esau will take a divergent path from Jacob, but it will not be what Esau wants.

a. the bad news  

V 37    1. Isaac reveals the details of his blessing for Jacob. Jacob will be over Esau. Esau’s children would serve Jacob’s. The blessing provided support from the land abundantly. Note that Isaac’s blessing, which he thought was for Esau, was contrary to what God had willed. Cf. Gen. 25:23 Now he is resigned to God’s plan. But, Esau doesn’t like it.

V 38    2. He pleads and begs in a pitiful display, but it was not to be.

b. isaac’s divergent blessing for esau

V 39    1. He would live off the land. It would be a lifestyle of survival, not one of abundance for his descendants.

V 40a   2. He would live by the sword and his descendants would serve Jacob’s.

V 40b  3. They would rebel against this decree. The descendants of Esau, the Edomites, would live in a land not as fertile as Israel. Esau did live by the sword and he did serve Jacob. But, the will of God was done, in spite of the failings of all parties involved.   

Trans. Parental Favoritism caused DISSATISFACTION and DIVERGENCE in the blessings of these two brothers. As it continues to wreak havoc in this home, Parental Favoritism also caused…

iii. division vs. 41-45

Illus. of to take divergent paths is one thing, to have division is quite another. Isaac and Rebekah now have a divided home.

A.     esau’s hatred

V 41    1. Esau was so angry that the anger turned to bitterness and hatred that led to him wanting to murder his brother. Soon others found out and the word got back to his mother.

V 42    2. Bitterness feels good at first, but it eventually destroys the one who harbors it. Esau harbored it and Rebekah saw danger for Jacob.

b. Rebekah’s plan

V 43    1. She exhorts Jacob to run away. Flee your problems. Back in verse 8 she asked him to obey her and he did. He would do the same here.

V 44-   2. Her plan was to send him to Laban her brother. He would have a prominent role in Jacob’s life. God would

        45            deal with Jacob using Laban to give him a dose of his own medicine. Rebekah didn’t want to grieve for Isaac and Jacob at the same time. That would happen if Esau followed through with his threats. There was real division in this home.

Trans. Parental Favoritism can cause DISSATISFACTION, DIVERGENCE, DIVISION, and…

 iv. dysfunction vs. 46-28:9

Illus. of Families are dysfunctional when they go off in every direction, when every person in the family has his or her own agenda. Families are “normal” when they have some common goal or purpose. Each member of Isaac’s family definitely had their own agenda and were going off in their own direction.

A.     Rebekah- the domineering mother

V 46    1. Rebekah forms another deceitful plan. She simply wants Jacob gone so he won’t be killed. But, she couldn’t tell Isaac that. So…

            2. She contrives another plan that would get Jacob away from Esau and get Isaac to send him off with his blessing. She didn’t want any more pagan daughters-in-law. She once again continues to dominate Jacob’s life. She appears to care very little for Esau’s plight.

B.     Isaac- The weak father

V 1      1. Isaac commands Jacob to not marry any Canaanite woman. This would not have been what God wanted anyway. Abraham did not allow Isaac to marry a Canaanite woman. He sent his servant to get Rebekah. Jacob would go himself, fleeing from his brother.

V 2      2. He was to return to his mother’s homeland to find a wife from their family there. This would maintain bloodline purity and family loyalty. And it would maintain their faith in Yahweh.

C.     Jacob- The son on the run

V 3-4   1. This time Jacob got the full blessing that Abraham and Isaac received. He was the one through the promise would be carried.

V 5      2. The rest of this story will come in the weeks ahead.

D.     Esau- The son still trying to please his father

V 6-7   1. Esau observed all these events and continued to fight on the human level, rather than realizing that God was in all this. He thought that Jacob leaving was all about wives. So…

V 8-9   2. He takes a third wife. The first two grieved his parents. The third was no better. The unchosen son took a wife from the unchosen line of Ishmael. However, it would make his situation no better. You cannot fight the will and blessings of God.


All this resulted from parental favoritism. It can cause DISSATISFACTION, DIVERGENCE, DIVISION, and DYSFUNCTION. We want none of these in our homes. How can we avoid them?

1.      Make sure we have a right relationship with God first. GOSPEL

2.      Know your Biblical roles and fulfill them. It is hard in this culture, but God blesses those that trust him. Men lead and love, wives submit and support, children obey and follow. This is God’s design that helps the family function, not become dysfunctional.

3.      Be honest in your dealings. Deception has no place in the home. Be forgiving. Bitterness and wrath only hurt the bearer.

Illus. of suggestions from article.

God has a plan for each of our children; a unique plan. We need to help each one find it and serve God in it. This is how the family will best function and God will be glorified.


                                                  liberty bible church          7/13/08 P.M.

By Tom Zobrist

“The Dangers of Parental Favoritism”

Genesis 27:30-28:9


Sibling rivalry is part of our sin nature. It has been part of our DNA since Caan and Abel. Parental favoritism is a contributing factor. What are some dangers of this and how can we avoid it?

  i.                                                                                                         vs. 30-36

a. emotions run high  

            Cf. Rom. 9:10-13; Mal. 1:2-3

b. Esau is __________________________________

 ii.                                                                                                            vs. 37-40

a. the bad news 

            Cf. Gen. 25:23

b. isaac’s _______________________________________ blessing for esau

iii.                                                                                                              vs. 41-45

A.     esau’s hatred

b. Rebekah’s plan

 iv.                                                                                                          vs. 46-28:9

A.     Rebekah- the _________________________________ mother

B.     Isaac- The __________________________________ father

C.     Jacob- The son ____________________________________________

D.     Esau- The son…


How can we avoid these?





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