The Not So Great Exchange
The Bible is full of amazing stories and wonderful people, right? However, one person I just don’t understand is Esau. I’m sure we all know the story of Esau. If not, check it out in Genesis 25 from verse 19. The short version of it all is that one day Esau came home from work and was hungry, and his brother Jacob was making stew. Esau wanted some and Jacob said, “sell me your birth right”, to which Esau agreed and sold his birth right, as in stew o, make it make sense please! It makes no sense at all.
Let’s think about it - As first born, Esau would take over as head of the family and also receive a double portion of what his Father has (Deut. 21: 15-17). Think about it. However, brother Esau traded all of this for a bowl of stew. I know you agree with me that no matter how delicious the stew was or how hungry he was, this was a ridiculous trade. Another issue I have with him is that if you go further on in Genesis 27, Isaac prepares to give Esau the blessing of the birth right and Esau goes along and starts preparing to receive it as if he didn’t previously just sell it to his brother for a bowl of stew! How annoying!
But how often are we like Esau? How often do we exchange our God given birth right (the promises we have in Christ) for the stew of the world? It is not so hard to see how we also do the same.
As Christians, we understand that Christ is the firstborn son of God, and he shares His inheritance with us (we are co-heirs with Christ as in Romans 8:17). God’s promises are for us if we are obedient, follow His ways and don’t give in to temporary worldly pleasures. Nothing that this world gives us comes close to what we receive in Christ. One example of the compromises that might resonate with us, as young people is in the area of sexual purity. God made sex for the confines of marriage and it is a beautiful thing when that boundary is kept. However, we exchange that for the stew of sex outside of marriage. Sexual immorality in its many forms will give us some pleasure temporarily. However, with it comes some sometimes permanent consequences such as emotional trauma, breakdown of relationships and damage to our relationship with God. There are so many other examples, but I hope you get the gist.
1) Understand who you are and what you have in Christ: I think maybe Esau did not really understand the power of his birth right. I mean if my Father was a billionaire and I was to inherit everything, I would not trade it for £5 to buy food because I was hungry! I believe it was an easy trade to make for Esau because he did not understand what his birth right entailed/ the blessings that came with it. If we do not understand who we are in and the promises we have in Christ, it will be very easy to exchange it for something less beneficial that will bring us more problems in the long run.
2) Not counting the cost: Esau was more focused on instant gratification, he focused on his hunger first and disregarded his birth right. We do that as Christians, we focus on instant gratification and do not think about the consequences of our decisions. Some decisions do not just impact us but sometimes have the ability to affect the generations to come after us. When making certain decisions, we need to think it through and weigh the pros and cons.
3) Underestimating temptation and overestimating self-control. Esau could have gone in to make his own stew or eat some bread or something. But I guess in the moment he overestimated his hunger (I’m guessing bro Esau had never fasted before) and that led to some sad consequences for him.
Sometimes we overestimate our fleshly desires. Especially in these times of “I feel so therefore I must”, like just because you feel hungry does not mean that you’re hungry to the point of death. When we think like that, we are setting ourselves up for some serious consequences.
4) I think the starting point for Esau’s problem was hunger. Proverbs 27:7 states ‘a sated man loathes honey, but to a famished man an bitter thing is sweet.’ When we continually fill ourselves with the things of the world, we will loath the things of God and when we do not fill ourselves with the things of God, we will desire to fill the innate hunger in us with anything at all even when it’s not good for us. Had Esau eaten before or maybe had a snack or something then maybe all of this wouldn’t have happened. Moral of the story? We should fill our souls with the things of God by studying the Word, listening to music and watching things that uplifts our souls and draws us to God so that we are not craving for the things of the world.
We can go on and on about Esau’s foolishness. However, based on some questionable choices we’ve made ourselves, we can offer him some grace. We have so many assets in and through Jesus Christ - may the Holy Spirit enable us to cling to Him and reject any stew the world has to offer no matter how appealing it may be.