Esau Sells Birthright 

Jacob & Esau • Devotion #3: Esau Sells Birthright
James Clouse | Student Pastor

Do you live for the here and now? Is it important to satisfy the immediate needs in your life? In life, I feel that we often live life for the here and now. We often live life for what can satisfy the immediate need placed before us. When we are hungry, we live in the land of fast food, or the here and now. When we want coffee, there are numerous places whether it be Starbucks or Tim Hortons. When we need stuff, there is usually a mall or shopping center no further than 20 minutes away. While satisfying these needs is not wrong, or a sin, we need to ask ourselves as a church if we live more for the here and now or more for the eternity of our future. 

Esau was one who lived for the here and now. Genesis 25:29-34 says, “Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. And Esau said to Jacob, ‘Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!’ (Therefore his name was called Edom.) Jacob said, ‘Sell me your birthright now.’ Esau said, ‘I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?’ Jacob said, ‘Swear to me now.’ So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.”

More people tend to focus on Jacob in this story when realizing that he forced the hand of his brother. But think on Esau for a bit. We first need to understand the importance of the birthright at this time.  

God uses the divine birthright to bring the birth of His son Jesus Christ. What an amazing blessing to be used in such a way. So a birthright was not only the inheritance and leadership of his family, but he was in the direct line to Jesus! How can Esau give away such a blessing? Esau gives this all up for a bowl of soup. We do not know if Esau was exaggerating here or if he was truly near death. However, John Calvin writes, “It would have been his true wisdom rather to undergo a thousand deaths than to renounce his birthright; which, so far from being confined within the narrow limits of one age alone, was capable of transmitting the perpetuity of a heavenly life to his posterity also.”

Esau missed out on a true blessing to fulfill the here and now. In our own lives, we need to look to the reality of our future instead of the here and now. What is important to me? Is the most important thing about money or success? Is the best choice to climb the corporate ladder? Could it be better to miss a day or two of work to serve the Lord and lead people for eternity to Christ? 

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