21st day of Lent
Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.
Have you ever seen a child be ungrateful for something special they were given? Imagine a child on Christmas morning who bemoans the presents they’ve opened. Their parents have spent all year working hard to earn money and then spent even more time specially picking out those presents. But when the child opens the gift, they say, “I didn’t want this! Where’s the other toy I asked for?”
Can you imagine the hurt and even anger that those parents might feel?
What Esau did with his birthright was even worse.
Being the firstborn male child in a Jewish family had great importance. It signified purity and strength, and the firstborn son was second to only his parents within the family. Esau held that position within Jacob’s household, and yet it seems that he never truly appreciated the gift he had.
The real test of that came when Esau was simply exhausted. He had likely been hunting, and came to Jacob when he was tired and extremely hungry. Jacob posed to him an impossible offer: “I’ll give you some of my stew if you’ll trade me your birthright for it.” Let’s put it into terms we can really grasp: “I’ll give you some of my stew if you’ll trade me your wedding ring/car/life savings for it.” There’s no way any of us would give away even one of our most precious possessions for a bowl of soup, no matter how hungry we were.
And yet Esau traded his precious birthright for that stew. (I really hope that stew was amazing, considering how high the cost was.) That’s why the Bible tells us that Esau hated or despised his birthright. He simply placed no value on it, and valued his empty stomach to a greater degree.
Today, think about the gifts that the Lord has given you, regardless of whether those are talents or spiritual gifts or actual physical things. Give thanks to the Lord for those things, and ask Him to help you never take them for granted.
Reflection copyright © 2017 Doug DeBolt.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.