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stew

Life is a process of trading one thing for another. We’re all given a certain amount of time and ability which we exchange to gain other things, such as money, food, shelter, relationships, leisure, and pleasure.

We also can trade our identity – who we really are – who God says we are – for other things and if you turn to Genesis 25:29-34 we can read about a shocking exchange between Esau and Jacob that illustrates the danger of trading away who we are.

Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom.[a])31 Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” 32 Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” 33 Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

 

This has to be the worst negotiation in history.  Esau’s birthright meant that not only would he get DOUBLE inheritance but it would mean that he would become head of the family and all the benefits that brings.  It is the door to wealth and prestige.  It is the key to future opportunities and provision.  It was designed to be an incredible blessing for his life and his family, onwards even past his lifetime down the generations.

And he swaps it, he exchanges it for a bowl of lentil stew.

I’m sure you’re all thinking what I’m thinking.  How dumb can you be and still breathe?  What was he thinking?

The reality was that he wasn’t thinking.  He was just doing.  Just living.  Just breathing.  Verse 34 says Esau despised his birthright. This verse reveals the underlying significance of Esau’s actions. “To despise” means to treat something as worthless or with contempt. Esau’s willingness to sell his birthright was evidence that he considered it to be unimportant.  He lived for the here and now. “Who needs a birthright?” he thought. “After all, I may be dead tomorrow. What I need now is a good meal. What good is a birthright if I starve to death?”

His birthright should have been something he valued and protected and lived in the reality of – instead Esau trades it away for a bowl of lentil stew.

We point fingers and scorn Esau.  We shake our heads dismayed at the choice he has made.

But we all like Esau have gone astray and we have all played the trade game and exchanged our identity for lesser things.  We have all traded things that we should value in our lives for things that are of the same value as lentil stew.

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