Week­end Bible Re­flec­tions With Jon

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Ge­n­e­sis 25: 29- 34

The night be­fore this writ­ing, I was watch­ing a car­toon about Jacob and Esau with my chil­dren as part of our Bible Time to­gether. Watch­ing the an­i­mated de­pic­tion of Jacob ma­nip­u­lat­ing his older brother Esau to give up his birthright for some food stirred a wish within me to re­visit the bi­b­li­cal ac­count of this episode within the lives of the sons of Isaac, which is why I’m ded­i­cat­ing this week’s col­umn to it.

By pos­sess­ing his birthright, Esau would ba­si­cally be the leader of the fam­ily upon Isaac’s death, as im­plied by the bless­ing Isaac later was duped into giv­ing Jacob ( Ge­n­e­sis 27: 29). The prom­ise God gave to Abra­ham and his de­scen­dants would like­wise have been imparted to him, as also im­plied by what Isaac said to Jacob af­ter mak­ing him the bene­fac­tor of the bless­ing that should have gone to Esau ( Ge­n­e­sis 28: 3). If the Law of Moses which came into be­ing years later is any in­di­ca­tion, Esau should not have given up his birthright sim­ply be­cause by pos­sess­ing it he would re­ceive a dou­ble por­tion of his fa­ther’s in­her­i­tance ( Deuteron­omy 21: 1517). This would mean that Esau would have be­come even richer than he even­tu­ally be­came in ad­di­tion to hav­ing au­thor­ity over the rest of the fam­ily ( Ge­n­e­sis 36: 6- 7).

So we can more eas­ily un­der­stand just how great a mis­take Esau made by will­ingly giv­ing over his birthright in ex­change for a sim­ple meal! Only a very fool­ish per­son would give up the spir­i­tual bless­ing of car­ry­ing on God’s prom­ise to Abra­ham to his de­scen­dants and all the au­thor­ity and riches the birthright would give him, sim­ply be­cause he val­ued more the tem­po­rary sat­is­fac­tion found in one meal. By think­ing so lit­tle of the birthright that would set him apart in such a fash­ion, Esau proved him­self to be the un­holy man which the writer of He­brews later said he was ( He­brews 12: 16- 17).

What is writ­ten in the Old Tes­ta­ment is de­signed to in­struct us and serve as an ex­am­ple to us to­day ( Ro­mans 15: 4; 1 Corin­thians 10: 6, 11; 2 Ti­mothy 3: 16- 17). One of the great­est bless­ings given to Chris­tians is that they are made in­her­i­tors to that same prom­ise made to Esau’s grand­fa­ther, Abra­ham ( Gala­tians 3: 29), that same prom­ise he gave up when he sold his birthright! Pe­ter wrote that all Chris­tians have an in­her­i­tance wait­ing for them in heaven, an birthright that is eter­nal, in­cor­rupt­ible and un­de­filed ( 1 Pe­ter 1: 3- 5), the hope of eter­nal life ( Ti­tus 3: 7).

Yet we all can very eas­ily make the same mis­take made by Esau and give up our spir­i­tual birthright and all the eter­nal ben­e­fits which come with it be­cause we fool­ishly de­sire some­thing that pro­vides only mo­men­tary, tem­po­rary sat­is­fac­tion at best! Many refuse to be­come a Chris­tian in the first place be­cause they refuse to ac­knowl­edge the ev­i­dence of God’s ex­is­tence and the Bible’s va­lid­ity which is so plain. Oth­ers refuse to obey God’s plan to save them out of stub­born in­sis­tence that what God so clearly said is nec­es­sary in His Word – such as re­pen­tance and bap­tism into the one body of Christ – is not nec­es­sary to them, and thus fail to truly be­come Christ’s fol­low­ers and in­her­i­tors of His birthright. Per­haps most trag­i­cally of all are those who at some point did truly sub­mit to God’s will and be­come Chris­tians, only to later fall back into the world by putting the things of the world and the flesh on a higher pri­or­ity than the spir­i­tual ( Colos­sians 3: 1- 2; 1 John 2: 15- 17; Gala­tians 5: 16- 26).

This is why the He­brew writer brought up Esau ( He­brews 12: 16- 17). He had been talk­ing about the need for Chris­tians to pur­sue ho­li­ness and not fall short of God’s grace ( vs. 14- 15). That’s what all who would de­sire the spir­i­tual in­her­i­tance of heaven need to do.

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