Study from Genesis 25 – 26; Passage for Reflection: Genesis 25: 34 … NIV So Esau despised (i.e., sold) his birthright.
My Journal for Today: Studying this very short verse in the context of what transpired between Esau and Jacob has incredibly strong implications on all of mankind. Please go back, read, and meditate on Genesis 25: 29 – 34 [linked here]; and your reaction will likely be, “What was this adult first-born son of Isaac thinking?” In that culture and time, the implications of the birthright were HUGE; and because of a brief encounter involving hunger and his need to satiate that hunger, a first-born child, Esau, was willing to readily barter away that birthright for the immediate gratification of some bread and stew.
However, before we start pointing figurative fingers of blame at Esau, we must ask ourselves if we are not like Esau in our propensity to make choices where immediate gratification is our reactive decision, setting aside the big-picture of delayed gratification, which would be better for us. How many of us, yours truly included, eat the wrong things or too much of the right things because we’re HUNGRY, even though we know that filling that hole in our stomachs with bad food choices will hurt us in the long run? In the ministry God has led me to lead, I encounter scores of men who will “sell the birthright” of their marriage by relenting to their immediate sexual desires and partaking of pornography, even binging on it, even though they are very aware of the long-term ramifications and the evil which they pursue. At one time in my life and for a very long time, I was one of those men; and for the first twelve years of my marriage, even though I knew that pursuing sexual gratification outside of marriage was wrong; but I did it anyway. In the headlines and tabloids today we see Tiger Woods and others like him, men who seem to have it all, blowing their long-term lives in favor of their short-term desires. We’re no different than Esau; are we?
Fortunately, God led me out of those latter tar pits of sinful self-gratification, leading me to walk free from my habits of sexual sin; but I still struggle with the former stronghold of making poor food choices – even though, having diabetes – I know that poor dietary choices could damage my health or shorten my life.
What’s with our willingness, just like Esau, to go for the immediate by pursing the sinfulness in the short-term and ignoring the Godliness of the long-term? Well, of course, it is wrapped in the big picture of our basic Adamic sin nature. We’re simply born that way; but as Christians we need to recognize – and I need to remind myself here today – that we (I) need not make immediate, horizontally based, choices which satisfy our flesh in the here-and-now when there are better, vertically related, choices and pursuits which honor and glorify God in the long-term picture of life.
Even today, I will be dealing with food choices which might, in the short-term, satisfy my immediate desires. However, I can see and respond to God’s conviction and direction to set aside my flesh and honor my Lord with food choices which His Spirit shows me are more healthy for my body in the physical realm; but even more importantly they are choices that gratify and glorify my God eternally. And those kinds of vertically based, long-term decisions, such as avoiding sexual sin or being humble as opposed to prideful, will be choices which honor God and do not sell-out our re-birth rights which were won for us when the Lamb of God gave Himself on the cross so that we, who know Him as Savior and Lord, might have a Spirit within us which shines a light on our choices and gives us a clearer picture of the long-term good over the short-term wrong.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me (us) to make decisions in the here-and-now which ripple onward and outward into the future to glorify You. Amen