Galatians 4:29 - "At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now." (NIV)
The Older Brother Ishmael
Galatians 4:22-23 - "For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise."
Genesis 21:8-9 - "The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. 9 But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking."
Galatians 5:17 - "For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want."
Galatians 5:19-21 - "The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery (wickedness, depravity) 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord (disagreement, conflict, dispute, arguments), jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions."
1 Samuel 5:23 - "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry."
Galatians 5:16 - "So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh."
Galatians 5:22-24 - "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires."
1 Corinthians 9:27 - "No, I strike a blow to my body (flesh) and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."
The Older Brother Esau
Hebrews 12:15-17 - "See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.16 See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. 17 Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done."
Genesis 25:31-34 - "Jacob replied, 'First sell me your birthright.' 32 'Look, I am about to die,' Esau said. 'What good is the birthright to me?' 33 But Jacob said, 'Swear to me first.' So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright."
Esau made a very foolish transaction – he gave up his eternal birthright for a cup of cheap soup.
Everyday, with or without knowing, we engage in these same deals – we need to choose wisely when we are in such dilemmas. We need to give more importance to things related to our spiritual lives.
The Older Brothers of Joseph
Genesis 37:5 - "Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more."
Genesis 37:17b-18 - "So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. 18 But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him."
Joseph's brothers hated him, they mocked him, tortured him mentally and physically, and sold him to the Egyptians.
Many times we do the same. If anyone does better than us, we don't celebrate them, instead we mock them and put down them.
The Older brother Aaron
Exodus 32:1 - "When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”
Exodus 32:25 - "Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies."
Aaron made a big mistake by making an idol – he made himself an excuse that the people had forced him – in trying to please the majority, he broke the first law of the Lord.
Stand for the truth even if you have to stand alone in society.
The Older Brothers of David
1 Samuel 17:28 - "When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”
They were are afraid of Goliath and they failed to protect Israel.
So out of their own guilt of not being able to protect God's sheep Israel from the Philistine enemy, they accused David.
Joseph came to his brothers with food, David came to his brothers with food - both group of brothers, in return, paid back evil for good.
The Older Brother of the Prodigal Son
Luke 15:25-28 - "Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.' 28 The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him."
The older brother was not willing to forgive and accept the one who came back.
Remember the younger brothers Abel, Isaac, Joseph, Moses, David - God blessed and raised them among their brothers, because they lived by the spirit.