Lessons from the life of Esau

NLT Genisis 25:
27 As the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter. He was an outdoors man, but Jacob had a quiet temperament, preferring to stay at home. 28 Isaac loved Esau because he enjoyed eating the wild game Esau brought home, but Rebekah loved Jacob. 29 One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry. 30 Esau said to Jacob, “I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew!” (This is how Esau got his other name, Edom, which means “red.”) 31 “All right,” Jacob replied, “but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.” 32 “Look, I’m dying of starvation!” said Esau. “What good is my birthright to me now?” 33 But Jacob said, “First you must swear that your birthright is mine.” So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother, Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate the meal, then got up and left. He showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn.

In this short story we get a picture of Esau as a manly outdoors man, a skilled hunter in contrast to his younger brother who preferred to stay home, take care of the animals and cook. Some would think of Esau as the alpha male and Jacob as the beta, but who was the more Godly man? Who did God approve?

Why would Esau give up his birthright for a single meal?

The decisions we make as men can have lasting consequences and failures can negatively effect our lives and the lives of our descendants. The writer of Hebrews talks about Esau in chapter 12. A chapter I think of as the discipline chapter.

NLT Hebrews 12:16 Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal.

Why does the writer link immorality and godlessness to giving up a birthright?

Now look at the context from the preceding verses:
NLT Hebrews 12:
11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. 12 So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. 13 Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong. 14 Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. 15 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.

Does this context change you answer?

When I read this the message, what I come away with is, a lack of discipline is godlessness. A lack of discipline to the point of despising a birthright is a serious failure, as the next verse says:
NLT Hebrews 12:17 You know that afterward, when he wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears.

Has God given us birthrights as men? If He has do you have the self discipline to hold on to your birthright and refuse to give it up?

Author: old-fashioned-man

I am a follower of Jesus Christ who has been married since 1989. We had four boys then adopted siblings, a boy and girl from foster care in 2008 when my daughter was seven and my son was eight. We reside in the beautiful state of Colorado.

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