November 24, 2003
Don't Give Up Your Birthright
"Esau despised his birthright" (Bereshit / Genesis
The story of Jacob and Esau in the Bible is one of two
very different people. Although they were twins, they
didn't resemble each other - not only in looks, but
also in life. Esau loved to hunt, Jacob loved to stay
home. Their dad preferred Esau, their mom, Jacob.
Perhaps the greatest difference between them had to do
with how they related to their place in the plans and
purposes of God. Esau didn't care that much about
receiving his father's God-ordained inheritance, of
which in the natural he was positioned to receive.
While Jacob, the second born, strove for it earnestly.
Jacob is often criticized for how he pursued things in
life, but the Scriptures, while not affirming the
methods used, commends him for his earnest desire for
a godly inheritance. Esau, on the other hand, is cast
aside due to his disdain for these things.
Some people so stumble over Jacob's way of doing
things, that they miss some important lessons. For
instance, one day Esau comes home and finds Jacob
making stew. Esau is famished and Jacob sells him the
stew in exchange for his birthright. Jacob took
advantage of his brother's stomach focus to get first-
born privileges. That may not have been very nice of
Jacob, but what about Esau? He was actually willing to
give up his future for one bowl of food.
Maybe one of the reasons why we are quick to criticize
Jacob and to sympathize with Esau is that Esau is a
symbol of where so many of us are at today. We would
much rather gratify ourselves in the moment, than give
thought to the implications of our actions. When Esau
said, "Look, I am about to die. What good is the
birthright to me?" (Bereshit / Genesis 25:32), he
demonstrated that his life was completely consumed
with his hunger at the moment to the point that
nothing else mattered.
How different are we from him? Our obsession with
ourselves and our desires is driving us to spiritual
and moral bankruptcy, and, like Esau, we don't know
The day would come for Esau that he would miss his
father's blessing and find himself outside of God's
plans and purposes. You don't have to let that happen
There is more to life than pleasure and self-
gratification. It would most likely mean saying, "No,"
to some of those things that are at your disposal
today. But that decision might just put you on a new
and wonderful path.