And Esau said to Jacob, “Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.” Therefore his name was called Edom. But Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright as of this day.” And Esau said, “Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?” (Genesis 25:30-32)
The Bible records that, on this particular, the great hunter came in from the field with a voracious appetite. According to tradition, it just so happened that Jacob had prepared a traditional meal for mourning the passing of his grandfather, Abraham. The red stew prepared by Jacob for what seems to be all the right reasons exposed Esau’s true nature; he always looked to satisfy his appetites no matter the cost.
If you think about it, throughout the Bible, food has been the cause for many to fall starting in the garden. In Egypt, the people sold themselves to Pharaoh in exchange for food. Then there is the sin of Ba’al Peor when the sons of Israel, seduced by the Midianite women, have relations with them at a ceremonial meal for their god. Time and again we see that when men aren’t willing to govern their appetites, their desires will lead them to destruction. This timeless truth is being demonstrated once again in our day and that fact brings to mind a quote attributed to George Washington.
In 1789, speaking of America, he said that America would endure “until the people of America shall have lost all virtue; until they shall have become totally insensible to the difference between freedom and slavery; until they shall have been reduced to such poverty of spirit as to be willing to sell that pre-eminent blessing, the birthright of a freeman, for a mess of pottage. In short, until they have been found incapable of governing themselves and ripe for a master.”
If I may translate his words, he predicted that America would endure until Americans started acting like Esau. By allowing our lusts and desires to rule us rather than ruling them, we are driven to give away that which is sacred and eternal for what is temporal and worthless. In that day, Americans will cease to be a free people and become a people ruled by tyrants.
Today, we stand at the threshold of this time spoken of by Washington. Nevertheless, the people of God should look to the example presented to us by Jacob who valued the birthright, not for personal gain but, because he understood it was sacred. Let’s not follow the herd mentality currently sweeping through the world but let us stand fast in the truth of God’s Word. Turn away from the example of Esau and keep your sights set on things eternal, embracing the birthright delivered to us by our Messiah.
Blessings and Shalom,