Bartering for a Blessing
Esau Selling His Birthright
By Hendrick ter Brugghen
Today’s Bible reading socked me right in the stomach, leaving me reeling.
Of course, this is a familiar story. I can remember hearing about Jacob and Esau, the steaming potage and the traded birthright from the time I was a third-grade Sunday schooler. Of course, I always seemed to frown on Jacob for his dirty deception, just to gain his brother’s birthright.
“What’s the big deal with the birthright?” I would ask.
In Old Testament Bible times, however, the birthright was a big deal indeed. The firstborn son was entitled to a double portion of the father’s inheritance. Upon the father’s death, the firstborn would become the patriarch of the family line and head of the household.
Although Jacob and Esau were twins, Esau was older (even by a few minutes). As such, he held the birthright.
Rebekah and Jacob cooked up their little scheme, enticing a hungry Esau to sell his birthright for a bowl of soup. Though by deception, Jacob legally became the firstborn son of the family.
God can use even our sins in His master plan.
Did God desire for Jacob to practice deception? Of course not. Although God loves all people, He detests deceit and divisiveness.
“There are six things which the LORD hates,
Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him:
A lying tongue,
And hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that run rapidly to evil,
False witness who utters lies,
And one who spreads strife among brothers.”
Still, God certainly was aware, from the start, that Jacob would act in this way. God ordained His plan for human history to incorporate this course of events. Jacob would father the twelve sons of Israel. Through his family line would come the Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah.
God can redeem anyone and any circumstance to accomplish His divine purpose.
Do we barter for blessings?
Esau presents an important lesson, at least for me. Holding the prized birthright, he was willing to trade it for an immediate item. His brother’s soup smelled delicious, so he swapped his heritage for his hunger. How might Esau have felt, once his bowl was empty?
How often have I exchanged an eternal blessing for an impulse? Do I trade God’s best for something that may be merely good? Do I allow feelings to trump faith?
May God teach me (and any who desire it) to value the birthright He has given, by His own Son’s sacrifice. May He cause me to hesitate before bartering His blessing. Surely, nothing compares to His matchless grace.
Will you pray with me?
How blessed we are
To be called Your children.
You have invited us to seek Your face,
To know Your heart,
And to ask for Your blessing.
May we never settle
For anything less.
Remind us of your great love today,
And give us a hunger for You
That surpasses all other hungers.
Only You can satisfy
Our deepest longings.
We crave Your blessing.