Last night at our Wednesday Night Bible Study, we had a study entitled “Running Ahead of God’s Sovereignty” in looking at Esau’s forfeiture of his birthright and his loss of Isaac’s blessing. In Genesis 25:34, after Esau sold his birthright for some of Jacob’s stew, Moses tells us that “Esau despised his birthright.”
We may think, “How awful on Esau’s part–to forfeit this spiritual blessing for material possessions. Did he not realize what he did?”
A scene from “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” comes to mind. After Delmar (played by Tim Blake Nelson) and Pete (John Turturro) “get baptized,” those two along with Everett (played by George Clooney) are driving down a desolate area where they come to a crossroads. There they meet Tommy (played by Blues guitarist extraordinare Chris Thomas King). He said he sold his soul to the devil who showed him “how to play the guitar real good.” Delmar sadly responds, “Oh, son… for that, you traded your everlasting soul.” To which Tommy responds, “Well, I wasn’t using it!”
This is the mindset of Esau: trading a spiritual blessing that he felt provided him nothing at the moment so that his belly might be filled for that one meal. And Jacob took full advantage. Rebekah knew full well where Jacob stood in the providence of God:
And the Lord said to her,
“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you shall be divided;
the one shall be stronger than the other,
the older shall serve the younger.”
When her days to give birth were completed, behold, there were twins in her womb
(Genesis 25:23-24, ESV).
God worked out, even in the midst of such circumstances, for His prophecy to come to pass.
The question is, do we find ourselves shaking our heads at Esau–all the while not seeing how Christians have despised their birthright as those who have been regenerated by our Lord Jesus Christ?
James Montgomery Boice lists off five ways that Christians in the 21st century have despised their birthright:
- Many Christians have forfeited the benefits of Jesus’ death.
- Many Christians have forfeited the benefits of the Word of God.
- Many Christians have forfeited the benefits of gospel preaching.
- Many Christians have forfeited the benefits of His church.
- Many Christians have forfeited the benefits of time and leisure.
Over the next few days, I will flesh out many of these. Can you think of any other benefits Christians give up in despising their birthright?
John 1:12-13 says:
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.