Those of us who have grown up going to church have heard the story of Jacob and Esau a thousand times. There may be some of us who have only heard it a handful of times. We know the story, but how often do we read it with Christ in mind? Where is the gospel to be found in the story? If we read the true meaning of the story, we will find the gospel, providence, and the sovereignty of God displayed in the fullest. We find the Lord working through the hearts and lives of sinful people like you and me to accomplish his purpose for his glory.
Genesis 25:29-34 in its brevity is the story of Esau selling his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew. Esau comes in from a long day at work in the field and is exhausted. Esau then asks his brother Jacob for a bowl of stew, but instead of saying yes or no, Jacob responds by asking Esau for his birthright. There are several implications to Jacob asking for this, but the noteworthy one is that the person in possession of the birthright receives 2/3 of his father’s inheritance. In this instance Esau has a choice, he can respect the birthright or despise it. It does not take long for Esau to come to a decision. He says he is about to die, so what good is his birthright, if he is not even alive to enjoy it. He then sells Jacob his birthright, ate and drank and went on his way, all along spurning the blessing that was in his possession.
How telling is this in our own lives as Christians. We have been given an inheritance in the Holy Spirit who was sent to help guide, direct, mold, and shape our desires and passions in order to look more like Christ. However, we give in to the flesh, we do not walk in accordance with the Spirit. We might say, I am too tired to read my Bible today, I can watch this television show and it not give me wayward thoughts, I can skip community group this once since I have had a long day, I do not need godly friends around me to help sanctify me and hold me accountable, I can do this whole Christian “thing” on my own. It is in these moments we find ourselves looking and acting just like Esau, and it is in these moments of weakness that the enemy attacks our minds and says give in to your own pleasures, and we forsake the Spirit. In Christ, we have been given everything we need for life, we have his word and we have the Spirit, but far too often we give into simple pleasures, idols, that we think will ultimately satisfy our souls. The problem, if you have not noticed, is that they do not satisfy. We give in, but they do not fulfill. The blessing is forever, but the idol will not last. Only Christ can fill the void that we try to fill with so many other things and ideas in life. Only when we see our sin, focus our attention back to what Jesus did on the cross on our behalf, and repent and turn back to Jesus will we ever find fulfillment.
Therefore, do not be like Esau and despise the inheritance you have been given. We have been giving all we need in Christ through the Spirit’s enabling power. Do not squander what you have in Christ and give it up for things that will not last. In Christ we are free to pursue holiness, to pursue righteousness, and to resist the desires of the flesh that so easily entangle us.
Mark Owens was a CentriKid Camp Director. Mark is originally from Fayetteville, GA and attended Columbus State University for his undergrad degree. He just completed his masters at Middle Tennessee State University in Recording Arts and is a genius at sound engineering.