February 17, 2023
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.
Genesis 25:29-33 NLT
Let me set the stage for the story. Esau and Jacob are twins, but totally opposites. Esau loves the outdoors—hunting and everything that goes with that. Jacob is a homebody—he cooks and hangs out around the house. Dad loves Esau because he is a man’s man. Mom loves Jacob because he is always with her. The twins seemed to struggle even in the womb. Mom is told by God she was having twins and the older would serve the younger and there would be conflict. As the story unfolds the conflict is very real. Esau comes in from a hunting trip very hungry and exhausted. He smells the stew Jacob is making and asked for some of it. Jacob demands he give him his birthright in exchange for the stew. The birthright in those days was a double portion to the firstborn. The inheritance would be where the firstborn got twice as much as the younger brother. Esau decides based on physical need to trade his birthright to satisfy his hunger. That sounds like a very bad decision. Before we get too critical of Esau we might want to look around as well as look in the mirror. We might discover that in our flesh we often trade temporary pleasure for our future. We choose one moment of fun without considering the consequences. In my community we are having a fentanyl crisis with high school students. I believe six students have died in just a few weeks’ time from a drug overdose. These young students chose to trade a momentary thrill for their future. I’m sure they didn’t realize this at the moment they were trading their life for that thrill. They were deceived into thinking it would be a moment of feeling good and then life would just go on as it was. They failed to stop and consider the consequences of their choice. Rarely do we consider the possible consequences. Esau was looking to solve his hunger problem. It was a momentary problem he could have solved by taking 30 minutes or an hour to fix his own food. Instead he allowed his stomach to cause him to make a really poor decision. After he ate, he was angry at the decision. We usually regret the decisions we make based on temporary discomfort or pain. The regret will usually last a lot longer than the pleasure we found in that one moment. Satan loves to deceive us into making bad trades. Let’s be careful to choose wisely the trades we make.
Holy Spirit please help me to choose wise the trades I make every day in my life. Help me to choose wisely how I use the time, talent, and treasure you have given to me. Help me choose my friends wisely. Help me to see the big picture behind my choices.
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