Genesis 25:29 And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: 30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom. 31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. 32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? 33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.
We live in a society increasingly being shaped and geared to expect instant gratification for everything. No one wants to wait for anything. We want what we want because we want it and we want it now. The hype of high speed instant gratification living is being marketed to us repeatedly in our consumer culture. In the story of Isaac and Rebekah’s two sons Esau and Jacob we can see the danger clearly. Esau being the firstborn son had special privileges as to the passing down of the family inheritance. The first born possessed the birthright blessing which was God’s way of securing lifetime blessing and the passing on of inheritance to successive generations. It included:
1. Successor to the father as head of the household and maintaining the family.
2. The priestly ministry privilege.
3. A double portion of the inheritance.
In a moment of weakness, as he was faint from working in the field, his brother tricked him into selling him his birthright blessing. Because of the pressure of his senses and flesh needing instant gratification, he sacrificed long-term blessing for short term gratification. He sold out to the momentary indulgence of his fleshly appetite for a bowl of beans, lost his birthright, and had to live with irreversible consequences. He ignored it, treated it as unimportant, unworthy of notice. Hebrews warns of this threat being possible for New Testament believers to face as it warns against being deficient in grace or failing to attain grace, allowing bitterness to take root, indulging in fornication (sexual immorality) and trampling over holy things (being profane). Hebrews 12:15 says, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; 16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. 17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.”
Esau totally disregarded the spiritual advantages associated with his birthright and showed no reverence for what was sacred. Later when his brother Jacob received the birthright blessing through deceit, he sought to get the blessing and privilege back but he could not change what he had done and what was done. There was no place for a reversal or change of Isaac’s mind. Though he wept and cried bitterly he found no way to regain the lost blessing or to reverse his forfeited blessing (Gen. 27:34-38). The lesson is that Esau was not interested in the things of God and was willing to sacrifice long term blessing for instant gratification. He is given as a warning to us in the New Testament times not to live for lesser things. Choices can have consequences we may not be able to reverse.
When believers sell out to indulge in lesser things of instant gratification (or sinful things like sexual immorality) over sacred things of long term blessing, it can cause irreversible consequences. Forgiveness can be received but it doesn’t always reverse consequences. God does restore but certain things cannot be regained. Remember when Samson sinned, he was taken captive, and his enemies put his eyes out. God used him again to destroy the enemy but he never got his eyes back. Wouldn’t it be better to do what’s right and live in the joy of obedience rather than living a life of regret? A person who develops integrity is the person who learns to do the right thing even if it, at the time, is the hardest thing. “The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them Proverb 11:3.”
DON’T SACRIFICE LONG TERM BLESSING FOR SHORT TERM GRATIFICATION