Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Genesis 25:33-34 (NIV)
But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright.
Genesis 25:33-34 (MSG)
Jacob said, “First, swear to me.” And he did it. On oath Esau traded away his rights as the firstborn. Jacob gave him bread and the stew of lentils. He ate and drank, got up and left. That’s how Esau shrugged off his rights as the firstborn.
“Jacob said, “Swear [an oath] to me today [that you are selling it to me for this food]”; so he swore [an oath] to him, and sold him his birthright. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and got up and went on his way. In this way Esau scorned his birthright.” -AMPLIFIED
Esau, because he was born first, was to be the inheritor of the birthright. In ancient times this privilege held much more significance than it does today. The first born would inherit the family name, title, and a double portion of the family wealth. In this instance it held even more weight; for the firstborn would inherit the covenant made with God and the promises made by God. Sadly, Esau did not hold much appreciation for the sacredness, honor and value of his birthright. He was willing to sell it for a bowl of soup.
The fact that Esau so easily gave away his birthright is very telling. Scripture uses very strong language to describe his act; despised, scorned, shrugged off, his rights. They were no importance to him so he nonchalantly gave them away. How very sad. This shows Esau’s complete lack of respect not only for his father and family, but ultimately to God.
Truth be told, in the book of Hebrews we find Esau as an example of a person whom we should not emanate. “… and [see to it] that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that later on, when he wanted [to regain title to] his inheritance of the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no opportunity for repentance [there was no way to repair what he had done, no chance to recall the choice he had made], even though he sought for it with [bitter] tears.” -Hebrews 12:16-17 (AMP)
How important is your spiritual birthright to you? Consider that question well. Hebrews tells us that Esau was immoral and godless; caring nothing for pleasing God. The Message Version really packs a punch with Hebrews 12:16-17, “Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God’s blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears.” Oh let us be careful of the choices we make!
The lesson to be learned from Esau is the need to be careful of our attitude and how we treat the things of God; His commandments, His provisions, His purposes and His promises. God will hold us accountable; let us be careful that we are not taking our birthright lightly.
“Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.” -Galatians 6:7-8 (MSG)
Watch over your birthright!
Heavenly Father, let me not become crass and disrespectful in my relationship with you ever. What I want for me is insignificant compared to what you want for me. You must have top priority in my life, or everything else is out of whack. God, help me to honor and treasure the birthright that you have bestowed on me as a child of the One True God. Let nothing interfere with my relationship with you, dear Father. I want to treasure you and my birthright above everything else in my life.