This is lesson 1 of 3 in the Sabotage kids sermonlink series. See also the adult edition of this lesson.

[Download: Family Guide]

Memory Verse
A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls. Proverbs 25:28

Have you ever made a terrible trade? Like a kid at school tricked you into giving away your unopened fun dip for a piece of gum that they had already chewed up and just put back in the wrapper. Gross, right? That turned out to be a bad trade!

Well that’s kind of like what happened in the story of Jacob and Esau. Here’s what you need to know.

Jacob and Esau were ______

Have you ever met any twins? They usually look pretty similar don’t they? Esau was born first and he was really, really hairy. He was known for making bad choices. Jacob was born second and he was known for being super sneaky.

Since Esau was born first he got something called the “birthright”. This meant that he would get more stuff from their Dad when he died. So, if their dad had three cows Esau would get two and Jacob would only get one. This deal was great for Esau.

Even though Jacob and Esau were twins, they were very different people.

Jacob and Esau ____________ the same things

If you look at the book of Genesis it tells us about what Jacob and Esau liked.

Genesis 25:27 As the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter. He was an outdoorsman, but Jacob had a quiet temperament, preferring to stay at home.

Esau was big and strong and loved being outside. He probably liked it so much because he was so hairy. I mean think about it, animals are hairy too and they like being outside.

But Jacob didn’t really like going out and hunting like Esau did. He was pretty shy so he liked to stay at home all the time. He probably watched a lot of Netflix or read a lot of books so that he wouldn’t get bored. What about you, are you more like Esau or Jacob?

Esau _______ his birthright for a bowl of ________

Have you ever been outside playing for a long time and been really, really hungry when you got home? Well, that’s what happened to Esau. He was so hungry that he would do anything for some food. And, when he got home, he smelled something super yummy.

Jacob had cooked some soup! What a great brother, right? WRONG. Jacob wouldn’t just give Esau the soup. He wanted something from Esau in return. But not just anything, he wanted Esau’s birthright. Remember, Jacob was known for being sneaky.  

Genesis 25:33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.

Why would Esau give up so much for a bowl of soup? Was it because soup was his favorite food? NO! It was because he didn’t have any self control. He was willing to give up something important for his future to be happy for just a moment. Remember, Esau was known for making bad choices. This one tops them all!

[Related: Sampson and Self Control]

We need ______________ so we don’t make bad trades

We can learn an important lesson from Esau. We need to have self control in our lives so we don’t trade away the important things for unimportant things. For example, choosing nice friends who encourage us to honor God, instead of mean friends who encourage us to do bad things. Or, choosing to work hard at school instead of choosing to be lazy.

Proverbs 25:28 A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.

So, don’t be like Esau who had no self control which caused him to make a bad trade.

[Related: What Is Self Control?]

Answers: twins, didn’t like, sold, soup, self control


  1. What was your favorite part of the video? What is one thing you learned from the video?
  2. Have you ever made a bad trade with a friend? Explain. What did you learn from that experience?
  3. Which twin was older?
  4. What was the birthright? Why was that a big deal back then?
  5. What did Jacob do to trick Esau? Why do you think Esau make a bad trade?
  6. Read 2 Timothy 1:7. What doesn’t God give us? What does he give us instead? In what areas of your life do you need to work on self control?
  7. How will you apply this lesson to your life this week?

Bonus Questions: Use these passages to have more conversations this week.

  1. Read Ephesians 6:1. How can self control help you to obey your parents?
  2. Read Psalm 141:3. How can self control help you to watch what you say?
  3. Read Romans 13:14. How can thinking about what honors God protect you from making bad choices?

Ministry Tools: