12 January 2009
33 So Jacob insisted, “Well then, swear to me right now that it is mine.” So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his younger brother. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate and drank and went on about his business, indifferent to the fact that he had given up his birthright. (Genesis 25:33-34 NLT)
Twin brothers. Moments-older Esau was the athletic extrovert who loved the outdoors and was his father’s favorite. To him, by the priority of first birth, belonged the rights of the first-born son – the right to carry on the family name, the right to oversee the family business affaires, the right to inherit twice as much of the estate when father died. Jacob, the quieter, likely introverted son, passionately cared about family, traditions, and rights, and wanted Esau’s privileges as first-born son.
When the opportunity came, Jacob offered hungry Esau a pot of soup and a loaf of bread in exchange for the firstborn’s rights and privileges that would matter significantly in the future.
Esau was indifferent to his privileges and to what that would mean in the future. He lived for the moment, but not in a very wise or healthy way. His indifference to true values and his willingness to make a cheap swap of future potential for present gratification is a lesson to me today.
Father, help me not to be indifferent to the value of my birthright as your child and never, ever, swap your potential plans for me in exchange for a momentary satisfaction of physical appetite. You know how foolish I am. Please keep me from temptation to trade the precious for the cheap, the eternal for the momentary. Amen.