Genesis 25:27-34: Careless about things that matter.
27 The boys grew up, and Esau became a skilful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was content to stay at home among the tents. 28 Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob. 29 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. 30 He said to Jacob, ‘Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!’ (That is why he was also called Edom. 31 Jacob replied, ‘First sell me your birthright.’ 32 ‘Look, I am about to die,’ Esau said. ‘What good is the birthright to me?’ 33 But Jacob said, ‘Swear to me first.’ So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright. “ NIV UK
It is fascinating to note how different two children can be – even twins. Esau grew up to be an active and impetuous man, while Jacob became a quiet schemer, always looking for a chance to get one over on someone. But he could only take advantage of his brother because Esau’s heart was not right. Esau typifies the man of the world who lives for temporal rather than eternal gain. ‘Every one may build up a strong and beautiful character by yielding to the Holy Ghost’s gracious promptings. That grace knocks, like sunshine, at the windows of every soul; but how often it is sold for a mess of pottage? The choice between these two is constantly being presented to us. God help us always to choose the divine, the spiritual, the eternal!’ F.B. Meyer: ‘Great verses through the Bible’, p.18. The book of Hebrews speaks in clear terms about Esau’s sin, and holds him up as an example to avoid:
‘’See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears’’ (Hebrews 12:15-17).
Every day, and moment by moment, people sell the supremely valuable things of life for that which is empty and worthless. Determine, by God’s grace, that you will not follow in Esau’s steps. Down that road you will find days, and possibly years, of burning regret.