In Genesis 25, there is an account of Isaac and Rebekah having twin boys. The oldest boy was named Esau, and the youngest one was named Jacob. The Lord told Rebekah in Genesis 25:23, “Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body, one people shall be stronger than the other and the older shall serve the younger” (NKJV). Esau was the firstborn and came out of the womb red and was like a hairy garment. His younger brother Jacob looked very different.
As the boys grew, their lifestyles were quite different. Esau liked the out-of-doors and was a skilled hunter, whereas Jacob was a mild man that liked to stay in his tent.
Isaac and Rebekah did not use good judgment as parents, they chose favorites. Isaac loved Esau because he was a great outdoorsman as well as a great hunter. Rebekah loved Jacob more. The first point I would like to make in this article is that Parents should never show favoritism to their children. This can only lead to an unhappy dysfunctional family. This point is well illustrated in this Bible story; it will damage the husband and wife’s relationship and cause problems between the children.
In Genesis 25:29-34, Esau makes an incredibly bad decision. He had been out in the fields hunting and came home extremely hungry. Jacob had cooked a large pot of stew. In verse 30, Esau said to Jacob, “Feed me some of your red stew.” Jacob thought a minute and said “sell me your birthright, and I will. In verse 32, Esau said, “Look, I am about to die from hunger, what profit shall a birthright be.” In verse 33, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew.
What was Esau thinking? Maybe you could better understand his decision if he was literally starving to death, but he wasn’t; he was only hungry. His decision absolutely makes no sense when you understand what the birthright meant in the ancient world.
At the father’s death, the oldest child received this valuable inheritance including a double portion of the father’s assets as well as special blessings from the father. The child that had the birthright usually had the privilege of assuming leadership of the family. Not in a million years could Esau ever imagine all the ramifications that would hinge on this rash decision. This poor decision would be felt for countless generations.
A person might ask how Esau could be so incredibly stupid to trade such a valuable thing for a simple bowl of stew. Perhaps we need to stop and think about some of the bad decisions we have made in our life. Have we thrown away some valuable opportunities for things that look so good to us at the time but were nothing more than a bowl of stew?
How many young people have wrecked their lives for a few minutes of passion in the backseat of a car that lead to a child being conceived?
How many happily married people have had their marriage destroyed by a brief affair at work?
How many young people have had their life destroyed by drug addiction because they tried a drug just out of curiosity?
How many normally honest people have given in to temptations to cheat on their Income Tax? They may reason after all I need it more than the Government.
How many men going on work related business conferences where alcohol was flowing freely resist its temptation? The alcohol dulled their senses of right from wrong, and the women were available. A one night stand infected them with the dreaded AIDS virus. Their life is ruined forever.
In all the above situations, people are trading something very valuable for a BOWL OF STEW. Don’t trade your birthright in Christ for these things.