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 
to you.

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.