As a kid, I always thought Esau a less than bright person.
Whenever I read his birthright story in Genesis I felt sorry for him, granted; his heart-felt 'Bless me, even me also, O my father!' was truly pathetic--but mostly just exasperated.
Come on. Surely Esau was a bit dense to have chosen the bowl of lentils.
What was more, lentils hardly sounded appetizing. If it had been a chocolate-drizzled Earthquake of eight different flavors I might have understood Esau more...
So much for Genesis 27; I'm afraid I didn't learn much from that chapter as a kid, other than the comfortable thought that sometimes it doesn't pay to eat healthy (just kidding.)
It took me several years and a retelling of the old Birthright vs. Bowl of Lentils story, this time in Hebrews 12:16-17, through Search the Scriptures (yes, I'm still working through that in my devotions. It has proved immensely helpful, and the best part is that it doesn't need to end--every time you repeat you find new answers and new insights, due to your added experience and growth.)
The interesting thing was, Esau's choice was still a stupid one--the only difference was that it suddenly opened my eyes to the equally stupid choices that I myself made.
Esau's choice, I realized, was a symbolic choice of the flesh. Food satisfied his present fleshly appetite, gratified the sensual part of him, even though the obvious greater good would have been his birthright---the glory and fulfillment he was intended for.
And Esau, with his hungry belly and near-sighted, pathetic bad judgement, is really just a dumbed-down, simplified analogy of ourselves.
We were meant to be with God. We were meant to be gloriously holy like Him. We were meant for so much more than what we aim for now. Like Esau, we were meant for glory and fulfillment.
And we know--even if vaguely--that we could grasp something much, much better than what we're dreaming of and struggling to get now. We were made for more.
But that's just too far away for our short-sighted heart and short-sighted eyes, even if it's so beautiful it dazzles us. We focus instead on something that's not even half as beautiful, but which looks closer, and decide it's more attractive, because it seems so much easier to get, because it seems like it'll fulfill the I want driving our flesh now.
It's like pursuing one night stands instead of finding your true love.
It's like Esau, choosing the food his flesh wanted now over what he knew was much, much better.
The desires of the flesh are driving all of us in different ways, definitely in more than one way.
Esau's was food, the most basic sensual/fleshly desire.
Popularity, making sure there are only smiles and people eager to please us in our lives?
Possessions, things we can feel good over because we can call them 'mine'?
Pride, how we appear to others?
Or something else?
Just as this Bible story obviously isn't meant to tell us we need to stop eating (duhhhh), the desires of the flesh that we face today may be legitimately good things in themselves. It was not wrong for Esau to eat. His mistake was choosing that over something else worth much more. There is nothing wrong in choosing a rhinestone, but everyone's going to be gaping at you if you chose that over a diamond that you could have had instead.
Likewise for us.
Perhaps He calls you to stop worshiping the gifts He has given to you instead of Him.
Perhaps God calls you to wake up from the numbness you've carefully bubble-wrapped all your pet sins and idols with, not wanting to let them go, not able to overcome the desires of your flesh.
Let go of your bowl of lentils, friend. You'll be hungry again in a few hours, and then you'll be off looking for more again--a vicious cycle. Look up at the birthright you were intended to fulfill.
a small voice
Ci thinks some of God's greatest blessings to mankind are
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