Are some Americans selling their birthright for a win? That’s what Glenn Beck suggested in response to my previous article, ‘Glenn Beck’s Fast and the Rise of Esau.’ In that piece I suggested that, as a nation, we have adopted some of the disreputable attributes of Esau, evidenced to me by the vicious reaction of some to Mr. Beck’s call for fasting and prayer.
Since then other developments have only validated my opinion that this ancient spirit is at work in our land and also convinced me that Beck may be right. It would appear that some – including many who consider themselves to be spiritual – are willing to jettison sacred principles in order to achieve a victory. If that is so, we have become Esau and have allowed our passions to control us rather than subjecting our passions to what is right in the eyes of God.
When Rebekah, wife of the Hebrew patriarch Isaac, became pregnant, she quickly became aware that something wasn’t quite right. Indeed, she was carrying twins described as being “two peoples” who, throughout their lives, would always contend with each other for dominance.
The first born, Esau, was the profane, impulsive, self-indulgent one; his brother, Jacob, was a temperate man who pursued righteousness. Esau consistently allowed his passions to rule him, while Jacob learned to rule his passions. This distinction proved to be critical in how each of these men viewed the sacred birthright handed down to them by their forefathers.
Perhaps one of the most important lessons within this story is demonstrated when we put ourselves in Rebekah’s shoes. Consider the war that raged within her womb as being emblematic of the one that unfolds within each of us – the struggle between doing what is right in our own eyes and doing what is right in the eyes of God. This is especially true for those who consider themselves to be followers of Messiah.
We all have two natures existing within us that contend with one another for dominance; an evil inclination that wishes to have its way and one that strives to serve God. While one ignores what is sacred and pure in order to be pacified, the other resists its temporal whims that it might uphold what is virtuous and noble. Inevitably, only one of these natures will emerge victorious, because it is impossible for them to coexist indefinitely. In the case of Rebekah’s sons, God ordained that it was the lawless Esau who would ultimately serve the righteous Jacob. Where you and I are concerned, God has left it to us to make the choice of which nature will be the victor – and therein lies the struggle.
Consider that because this internal conflict exists in all people, it must also exist within all nations. I believe the current political climate testifies to this truth in dramatic fashion. The gross lack of civility and outright hatefulness and spite being displayed in this election cycle is evidence of a nation warring within itself. America is engaged in an internal death match, fighting to determine which of the two natures will prevail. Will her citizens abandon Godly principle and virtue for the sake of their own self interests, or will they hold fast to her sacred heritage?
While some reading this will choose to get bogged down only in the politics of it all, you should know that I am looking at this from a biblical point of view. So, if Americans truly are willing to sell their birthright for a win – whoever the preferred candidate or party may be – we are allowing our self interests to override what is in our best interests. If we have become willing to abandon what is sacred just to get a win, then we will all lose. That is not just my opinion; that is a fact according to the Messiah, who said, “The one who seeks to save his life will lose it.”
When we seek to “save our life” – or in this case win at all costs – we are destined to lose the very thing we are attempting to preserve. In the current political climate, many believe that their anger and commitment to win is justified by a desire to save the country. While I respect anyone who desires to see this nation returned to its former glory, I would warn that if anger and winning prompts them to abandon the biblical principles that gave birth to this great country, they will end up playing a role in her demise.
Clearly, many of us are motivated to make America great again. The most pressing political question seems to be, who is best qualified to bring it about? But if you are a Christian, shouldn’t your position be that, if America is to be great again, we must first return to what made America great in the first place? In other words, until we acknowledge our offenses against God, seek His face in humility, and demonstrate a willingness to serve Him rather than our own selfish interests, we should not expect that a great America will be the outcome – no matter who serves in the Oval Office. In fact, who holds the reins of government is not as critical as who reigns in the hearts of the people. If not God, then most assuredly it is the god of “self.” If that be the case, then the political outcome will be as William Penn said: “Those who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants.”
The contest that is before us has less to do with warring party nominees and more to do with the warring natures within each of us, because only one will emerge victorious! The greatest decision facing America is whether we will turn back to God or turn further away from Him. America, now is not the time to “sell out” just to be right in our own eyes; now is the time to do what is right in the eyes of God! If we are to be restored as “one nation under God,” then we must be willing to lay aside the inclination to win at all costs. Instead, we must deny our carnal tendencies at all costs! We must say, “Enough!” to the Esau within!