See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. Hebrews 12:17
Esau was called unholy because he didn’t recognize the value of his birthright. He traded it in for a pot of stew. It’s preposterous, isn’t it? Such outright disregard for something of infinite worth. The inheritance he spurned was the inheritance of Abraham, passed down to Isaac, and it was a fortune. By then, the Israelites had become a small nation. There were thousands of sheep, camels, goats and donkeys. Even more valuable than any of this was the favor of God that was bestowed on the one the father blessed. This, he exchanged.
In Matthew 13, Jesus told a parable about someone finding a treasure in the field and seeing its immense value, he hid it so no one else could find it. Then he went away to sell everything he had so that he had enough money to go back and buy it. Jesus said that the treasure represented the kingdom of God. “Having the omnipotent, saving reign of Christ in our lives is so valuable that, if we lose everything in order to have it, it is a joyful sacrifice.” John Piper
God couldn’t work with Esau. When pressure came, it took precedent over things related to the kingdom. If he would cave to the purposes of God in order to eat a bowl of stew, how could God trust him to persevere under greater pressures? He was not leadership material even though he was a gifted hunter and fairly responsible son.
The enemy is in the middle of getting God’s children to cave and not wait for God’s promise. He is all about getting us to abandon the kingdom in favor of earthly solutions. In the wilderness, He tempted Jesus in just this way. The message was ~ “Don’t wait on God. Eat now. Enjoy power now.” The temptations Satan offers us, even now, are temptations to get out of pain early.
Waiting on God is always the harder choice. We want our ‘stew’. We want justice today. We want the love and affection that is tangible over what is intangible. We want to see answers to prayer now. When a counterfeit spiritual solution comes into view, our needs can easily become an obsession to the point of pushing God aside. The lure of what Satan offers is that we can have what we want without waiting any longer. Along with that comes insinuations that God isn’t good for His promise anyway.
Who will stand? Who will wait? Who will treasure the kingdom? Who will suffer without name calling? Who will hurt without turning their back on their faith? How much do I treasure the kingdom of God, the sovereign rule of God, in my life? Trading it in doesn’t just get me immediate relief. The danger is always in what I’ve lost. One day, the comparison will be on full display. I’ll have embraced plastic trinkets instead of waiting for Jesus, the supreme treasure.
I’ve waited so long for some things, don’t let me cave into apathy. It is the trinket that brings emotional relief. You are the rewarder of faith and I will keep looking up to trust You. Amen