Friday, February 03, 2006

A Non-Value Meal

When Jacob had cooked stew, Esau came in from the field and he was famished; and Esau said to Jacob, "Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished." Therefore his name was called Edom. But Jacob said, "First sell me your birthright." Esau said, "Behold, I am about to die; so of what {use} then is the birthright to me?" And Jacob said, "First swear to me"; so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright. Genesis 25:29-34

Some years ago, after a Sunday morning service, my family and I were heading somewhere, but we were hungry. My wife really wanted Arby’s, so that is where we went. We walked inside the fast food joint, only to find an unusually long line for a Sunday. My wife told what to get everybody, and took the kids to find a booth. It seemed like an hour passed before I was finally next in line. I placed the order, and the total was pretty pricey. You see, Arby’s is quite expensive in comparison to McDonald’s or Burger King. The cashier then put our food on the tray, and I set off to find my family.

Expecting a tasty, hot lunch, the first bite into my curly fries proved my hope wrong. They were cold and shriveled, and my Beef & Cheddar was severely lacking in both. I’d like to say it was just me, but, alas, my wife and kids got shafted just the same. You see, I paid too much for a meal that didn’t deliver what those shiny overhead menu pictures promised.

We just read of a similar situation regarding these two brothers, Jacob and Esau. As I wrote about several days ago, Jacob was a deceiver, a conniver. His goal for a good part of his life was looking out for number one. And here, he took advantage of his brother’s obvious hunger, and swindled the birthright that would have been Esau’s away from him. As I mentioned briefly in the last talk about Jacob’s life, God had already promised that he would exalt Jacob to prominence, and that his older brother would serve him. All his scheming was unnecessary. Yet, he took his future into his own hands, and cheated his brother.

Still, if there were an award for a dummy of the year, I think Esau would have won hands down. He had just come in from a hunting trip. He undoubtedly shot a deer or some other game. And he was hungry. I’ve been there when I was so starved I thought I would pass out and die, but that really wasn’t the case. Esau could have taken the time and cleaned a deer, and had venison steaks for dinner, yet his hunger was greater than his IQ. Imagine the scene: “Jake, I'm so hungry you’d better plan my funeral. Can I please have some of that stew you’re cooking?” Jacob snickers as a thought passes through his mind. “Sure, but it’ll cost you your birthright.” Esau thinks for a minute, and says, “Hey, I’m dying of hunger. What good will that do me then? Pass the soup, bro!” (Thanks for allowing me to use a little imagination!) And with that, Esau lives for the moment, and sells his family blessing for a bowl of soup. At least Jacob threw in some bread and water. A real value meal!

The New Testament tells us that these historical events were written for our good. So let’s learn from Esau’s stupidity. We can be that stupid, too. How often to we give into fleshly temptations and pursuits, trading the blessings of heaven for the equivalent of a bowl of Campbell’s? Maybe we spend too much time with someone who keeps us from really growing in Christ, simply because that person is fun to hang with? How about the man that sneaks online late at night when everyone is sleeping, to secretly view pornography? Perhaps it is the one who takes their God-given money, and blows it at the casino, or the track. It may be the teenager reading this that is in a sexual relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend, yet trying to worship God in spite of the blatant sin. You are selling out your relationship with Christ for something that can’t even satisfy!

God has so much for us. Jesus said that it is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom (Luke 12:32). Romans 8:32 says, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” And also, “But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him.” (1 Cor. 2:9) Friends, the Bible is clear. God loves us and so much for us. I fear to think of what we may be giving up as we choose to live far short of God’s will for us.

Let me encourage every one of us today to sell out to the Lord Jesus. How many of us have gone to buy a concert of movie ticket, and found it sold out? That means there are no more tickets left to buy. Sell out to the Lord! Don’t leave any more of yourself for the Devil to buy. Jesus spoke a couple of parables in Matthew 13. One spoke of a man found who found treasure in a field. He quickly buried it, and sold everything to buy the field. Then he spoke of a man that was pearl salesman. He found the one pearl of immense value, sold everything and bought it. (Matt. 13:44-46) Jesus was talking about being a sellout! So be blessed, and keep your eyes on Christ today. Don’t let temporary urges and desires jeopardize what God has for you! God bless.

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