Wednesday, February 24, 2016
One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry. Esau said to Jacob, “I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew!” (This is how Esau got his other name, Edom, which means “red.”) “All right,” Jacob replied, “but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.” “Look, I’m dying of starvation!” said Esau. “What good is my birthright to me now?” But Jacob said, “First you must swear that your birthright is mine.” So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother, Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate the meal, then got up and left. He showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn.
Esau didn't have a care in the world, as long as God didn't call for an accounting. Four teenage boys decided to skip school. There was this math test, you see, so they went swimming. But around noon they got to worrying, so they decided to head for the schoolhouse. When they arrived they walked in together and told the teacher that they were sorry they were late and missed their test, but they'd had a flat. She accepted their explanation and told them they could take a make-up. She placed them separately in the four corners of the room and said: Your test only has one question; which tire was flat? Many people, like Esau, imagine that there will never be a final exam...the one with the single question, what did you do with Jesus?
At this point in his life Jacob was not a great example, but he at least valued the birthright. Esau's priority was filling his stomach, as opposed to honoring the God who had a prior claim on his life. He came in from the field "famished" (25:29).
Esau gave in, caved in! What good is all this religious stuff, when I'm starved? Is that not a type of today’s culture of pleasure-seeking? Dulled by the effects of booze, drugs and the unending quest for higher highs and ultimate nights out, so many people today who, like Esau, were born into the right family, and raised with the birthright of worshiping Almighty God, have tuned-out on God, tanked-up on stuff, and totaled-out their spiritual birthright.
And they don't even care! Note how Esau ate-up, drank-up, and moved-out. That about sums up the importance he placed on the spiritual side of life. I doubt he even stopped to ask a blessing on that pot of stew. It isn't much wonder that God placed the trust of spiritual heritage for the family in Jacob’s hands. His motives needed a huge overhaul, but at least HE was interested in God.
Have you ever noticed how earlier choices have eventual (and eternal) consequences? Esau had demonstrated no aptitude or appetite for spiritual things. Leadership in the development of the covenant God had established with Abraham meant that the head of God's chosen people could not be someone who didn't care about spiritual things. Esau, given a choice, always opted for present gratification over precious glory. He wanted it his way, and he wanted it now!
Esau later (chapter 27) began to experience the regret and result of loss. With the birthright gone, the rightful place of the eldest became Jacob's possession. Christians give up so much when they do not live like they are inheriting what Jesus said would be theirs. So often you see people entering middle-life, realizing that the foolishness of precious time they wasted earlier has stolen God's best right out of their hand.
It isn't any wonder we have "mid-life crisis". Would it not create a panic to suddenly realize that there was a wonderful plan God had for you, and you have despised it like Esau? Shakespeare's Marc Antony followed his slavish impulses time and again back to Egypt and Cleopatra. And while his attention was on his base instincts, Octavius stole an empire and its glory. How many of us lose the blessing because we would foolishly choose the things of this world?
You chew on that as you hit the Rocky Road today…and have a blessed day!