“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
Jacob was boiling pottage (lentil stew) one day, when Esau came from the field and was faint [with hunger]. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, I beg of you, let me have some of that red lentil stew to eat, for I am faint and famished! That is why his name was called Edom [red]. 31 Jacob answered, Then sell me today your birthright (the rights of a firstborn). 32 Esau said, See here, I am at the point of death; what good can this birthright do me? 33 Jacob said, Swear to me today [that you are selling it to me]; and he swore to [Jacob] and sold him his birthright. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils, and he ate and drank and rose up and went his way. Thus Esau scorned his birthright as beneath his notice. Genesis 25:29-34 AMP
In Bible times, a birthright was the right, privilege or possession of the firstborn son; that to which he is entitled by virtue of his birth. In Israel, and the rest of the ancient world, the firstborn son enjoyed a favored position. His birthright included a double portion of his father’s assets upon his death. Another benefit was that he received a special blessing from his father and the privilege and responsibility of leadership of the family, including the spiritual leadership. He became responsible for the younger brothers, the widows, and the unmarried daughters.
The title of firstborn was sacred in ancient Israel. When Esau transferred his birthright to Jacob for a lentil stew, he showed utter disregard for the rights, privileges and responsibilities of the firstborn. He showed that he did not value, nor had he any respect for, his heritage, his parents, the promise of God, or the spiritual privilege connected with this inheritance: being progenitor (the forefather) of the promised Messiah! At that moment, Esau turned God down and chose not to follow or obey God. He chose not to accept the leadership of the next generation. He chose not to be named in the bloodline of the Messiah. Esau did not have a heart after God. Later, he wanted the blessing from Isaac, but he never did accept the boundaries of obedience that God required of him.
When Esau was 40 years old, he took, not one, but two women as wives from among the Hittites. They made life bitter and a grief of mind and spirit for Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 26:34-35). Esau obviously did not respect God or his parent’s opinions, because he did not consult them concerning his choice of wife. He did not look for a godly wife or ask God for the one He had for him. Your choice of spouse is the second most important choice in your life after you choose your God/god – who you will serve and where you will spend eternity. You need God’s guidance – you need to respect the authority of parents and those who are older and wiser than you – wiser in God’s ways not worldly ways.
In Genesis 28:1-9, Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and commanded him not to marry one of the women of Canaan. He told him to go to Padan-aram and take a wife from Rebekah’s family, one of the daughters of Laban. Isaac blessed Jacob with the blessing of Abraham and sent him away to do as he had instructed. Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him to Padan-aram to take him a wife from there, and given him a charge that he should not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan and that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother and had gone to Padan-aram. Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan did not please his father, Isaac, so he went to Ishmael – the son of the bondwoman not the son of the promise – and took one of his daughters as an additional wife!
In God’s family, every one of us is considered “firstborn” in God’s eyes, but many Christians behave like Esau. They call themselves Christians – members of God’s family – but they don’t submit themselves to God and His will for their lives. They do not esteem their birthright. They don’t appreciate the blessings or the responsibilities of being a firstborn child of God. They don’t take the time to find out what God wants for them and from them. They pursue relationships that are detrimental to themselves and others; they don’t marry the one chosen by God, and who serves God; they settle for less; they just follow their flesh and the lusts and desires of their flesh; they only do what feels good to them in the moment.
“Esau” Christians are oblivious to spiritual things – they have no respect for God. When they hear another Christian talk about God’s leading in their lives saying something like, “God told me not to marry a Canaanite,” they decide not to “marry a Canaanite” either, but they still don’t go and marry a godly woman. They go for the daughter of the flesh – Ishmael. We are not only talking about who you marry, but all of the decisions you make every day.
Some Christians live their lives oblivious to the Spirit of God and the word of God. God’s word is not their standard; they live life according to the world’s standards. They do not even understand the dynamics of the covenant relationship between the obedient Christian and the Father. They may be envious of that relationship and of the blessings that go with it, but are unmotivated to make the changes in their own life to have this relationship with the Father themselves. Even when they hear what the Father requires, they still try to put their own spin on it and still end up doing their own thing. They always assume and presume.
The “Esau” Christian will never have God’s best and not because God doesn’t have a wonderful plan for them, but because they place no value on God’s plan and will for them or the blessings of obedience. These people go through life envious of obedient Christians, but never stop to look at themselves in the mirror, evaluating their own heart attitude, or trying to do things God’s way for a change! Don’t be an “Esau” Christian!