Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal. You know that afterward, when he wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears. – Hebrews 12:16-17
For years this whole story of Esau losing his blessing over a bowl of soup confused me to no end, until one day I got it.
To paraphrase, it goes like this: Esau and Jacob were brothers. This is real life, so all of this is true. Esau was the hairy manly one, who liked to spend his days hunting, and Jacob was the quieter one, who hung around the house with his mom and liked to cook. Even in historic days, this kind of stuff apparently happened, so I guess Solomon wasn’t lying centuries later when he said there’s nothing new under the sun. Some of us like our sports, some of us like our books (and maybe some of us like both?).
Anyway, back to the point. Esau came home one day from a long hunting trip, and he was starving. He was so hungry that he literally felt like he was dying from starvation, so he begged his brother Jacob for some soup. Jacob just happened to be whipping up a big pot of soup at that very moment, so he decided to take advantage of the opportunity, and proposed a deal. He told Esau he’d give him a bowl of soup, if Esau gave him his rights as firstborn son in return.
Esau didn’t think twice. He was starving. He wanted soup soooo bad. And what did his rights as firstborn son even matter in that moment? So he made the deal, ate the soup, and went on his way. This was the start of a long rivalry between the two.
Of course, way down the road Esau welcomes his brother back home, the two make up, and God helps Jacob overcome his bad habit of tricking others out of things. But this part of their story seems kind of harsh, doesn’t it? Losing a birthright (or blessings as first born son) just for being starving and needing a bowl of soup? As someone who hates to be starving, I can totally relate.
But then God gently revealed it to me. How often do I trade my blessing for a bowl of soup?
All the time.
I do it every time I trade God’s best for what sounds good in the moment. Every time I trade time with Him and filling up on His word for another stupid TV show or a few more minutes on Pinterest.
And I don’t just do it, I feel it. There is nothing life giving about an episode of Game of Thrones at bedtime, no matter how hard it is to turn away when the hubster is watching it and I all of a sudden want to know the answers to a million questions that would make much more sense if I had just watched the whole season. (No thanks. It gives me nightmares.)
There’s nothing life giving about pinning dozens of images of things I need or want or like to look at if it’s keeping me up way past my bedtime or keeping me away from the quiet time my soul needs. No matter how “good” those things are.
But there is life in Him. And I know it, because I feel it every time I sit at God’s feet, curl up in His presence, read His Word and tell Him about my day. Does it sound crazy? Try it out. For real, with Him and with a heart that really wants to know.
There is nothing like it, and when we draw close to God, He draws close to us. He fills us with His light and love, and He alone is life, and He alone can fill us up and make us feel full. I’m talking about spiritual hunger of course, but there’s an interesting parallel that God pointed out to me between this kind of starvation and Esau’s starvation that led him to give up his blessing.
When we’re hungry, we’re prone to doing all sorts of things that we might later regret, whether it’s eating something that’s not good for us to snapping at the people we love. I mean… I’m going out on a limb here, it’s not like I’ve ever been cranky with the ones I love. Ha.
The same goes, though, for spiritual hunger. When we’re starved of our time with Him, whether by choice or by busyness or just because we don’t know, we’re prone to do all sorts of things we’ll later regret. We’re prone to trade all sorts of blessings for things that won’t last more than a moment and don’t carry with them the promise of life. Or in my case, I’m prone to laying wide awake until the wee hours of dawn with all sorts of stress and or shoes or men with swords running through my head. And in doing that, we miss out on the greatest gift of all: the peace that comes from knowing our Savior and the rest that comes from living in Him.
Of course as far as the issue of repentance goes, it might have been too late for Esau when he wanted his birthright back, but it’s never too late for us. We get the chance a million times a day and then some. We live in perpetual grace full of perpetual second chances, perpetual acceptance by our Father, and perpetual love. Amen.
For out of His fullness (abundance) we have all received [all had a share and we were all supplied with] one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift [heaped] upon gift. – John 1:16 (AMP)
As always, give us your thoughts. The conversation is our favorite part!
Soup photo by Max Straeten from morguefile. Text added by Stephanie Oh.