Genesis 24:52– 26:16 Matthew 8:18-34 Psalm 10:1-15 Proverbs 3:7-8
As I read today’s selections I see such a connection between these Scriptures for myself. In our Genesis reading Esau comes in from hunting and is starving. Jacob (ever the conniver) offers to give him some stew if he sells his birthright. As I understand it, the birthright was a big deal, the oldest son got all of the best stuff and since Jacob was born second, he wasn’t going to get this. He swindles Esau out of this right. But did he swindle him? Read this passage carefully:
29 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. 30 He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom. 31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.” 32 “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?” 33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. 34 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.
Esau gives away the future for the present. How often do we do this, do I do this? Too frequently I fear. What looks good today may not be a blessing tomorrow. Esau gave away the rich blessings he would receive for something to fill his stomach, in other words: the temporary for the permanent. The easy for the hard. We give into temptation for the pleasant way it feels today: sex, money, drugs, reputation, health.
Look at the passage from Matthew and we see those who are unable to give up the temporal for the eternal. In Matthew 8 one of Jesus’s disciples need to bury his dead before he follows Jesus. Jesus tells him to let the dead bury the dead, in other words, we have to go, we have more important things to do. A “teacher of the law” had promised to follow Jesus wherever he may go, but Jesus sees through him and tells him while animals have places to stay, we do not. It is doubtful this man followed Jesus because the cost was too great.
As people, we tend to do what is easy, what is in front of us and often don’t forsake the immediate for the important. Sometimes I worry that we have made this faith too easy in our churches. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote that grace is free, but not cheap in The Cost of Discipleship. Come forward and accept Christ and all is well. It is true we are saved by grace and not works but are we not called to something deeper than a walk forward. Being a Christian or a Christ follower requires much of us, regardless of whether we want stew we need to know that our birthright is Christ. His work on the cross requires much of us as this grace is costly!
What do you think? Until next time, peace.
Tyndale. The One Year Bible NIV (OYB: Full Size) (Kindle Locations 1511-1512). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.