This weeks story comes to you complements of my grill. I was assigned Gen 25: 19-34. Most people are at least vaguely familiar with this story as Esau sells his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew. This has always struck me as one of the most ridiculous decisions in the history of man, even though it was prophesied to occur.
If you will remember, Rebekah was struggling with her pregnancy after twenty years of barrenness with two kids in her womb battling. The Lord responded with this prophesy,
“Two nations are in your womb,and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.”
Those are heady words and proved true as the boys matured. Esau broke through first and was the firstborn, while Jacob was born holding onto his foot. The two went different directions as they matured with Esau becoming a great hunter, providing chow for the family, and Jacob hanging out in the tents with his mother. Understandably the parents liked the child most like them, with Isaac preferring Esau and Rebekah preferring Jacob.
So one day, Esau came in from hunting and was famished and exhausted. In this state he saw his brother cooking stew and offered his birthright for a bowl, stating what good would his birthright be if he was dead of starvation? An impetuous decision if there ever was one. As Jacob gives the bowl of chow to Esau, the prophecy begins coming to fruition. Jacob now has Esau’s birthright as firstborn and will steal his blessing from their father shortly.
We learn some important things from this story, but two of them really struck home with me.
- God’s plan will not be denied. Esau was first born but willingly gave his birthright away. Fulfilling the prophesy regarding Jacob and showing the wisdom of God reaches into the womb, well before we are born. Someone so impetuous should not be the patriarch of the twelve tribes and God knew this from the womb. Instead their patriarch was underhanded! Certainly only Jesus is perfect and deserving of such a status.
- We should not make decisions under stress. Esau was hungry and tired and turned his back on his birthright because of it. A terrible decision and choice. I suspect each and every one of us can think of a time we made a decision under duress and wished we had done something else.
None of us deserve anything but condemnation, although through Jesus we are saved. In so doing we are part of God’s Kingdom plan and we need to remember this. And if you take one thing away from this, remember what my old squad mate Gianoli (or something like that) in Ranger School used to say all the time, “Never make a decision when under pressure or stress.” Of course he was primarily talking about young men marrying their girlfriends after basic training or between things like Ranger School, but who knew he was discharging biblical wisdom?