Birthright · Esau · Genesis · Jacob · Temptation

Trading Your Inheritance for Chili

In Genesis 25 we have the story of Esau and Jacob. They are the sons of Isaac, who is the son of the “Father of Faith,” Abraham. These twins were very different from each other. They were also at odds with each other. 

There is a day that “Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted (29).” Scripture doesn’t say what he was doing, but since it says he was a great hunter, maybe he was returning from a long hunting trip. He exaggerates how he feels saying he is so hungry that he is “about to die.” 

Meanwhile his younger twin brother, Jacob, was cooking stew, or maybe what we would call chili. Since he was a homebody, he was probably very good at this. No doubt, as Esau came close enough to smell this, while being exhausted and hungry, it was something he really wanted.

Jacob, being a trickster, decides to take advantage of the situation. He tells his brother that if he would give Jacob his birthright, he would give him the chili. Esau, being in exaggeration mode, agrees. Why? He declares, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me (32)?” 

This seemed good at the time, but Scripture says that “Esau despised his birthright” after this. Why? Because he traded the temporal for the eternal. He gave up something that would pay dividends for decades for something that would please him for a couple minutes.

As crazy as this sounds, we are all tempted to do the same. We are tempted to trade God, trade Christ, for a bowl of chili. Except we don’t trade chili for a family inheritance, we are tempted to trade other things for God. This is why the author of Hebrews makes the comparison and warns others not to be “sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal (Hebrews 12:16).”  

What is your bowl of chili? Is it money, a career, ungodly sexual pleasure, maybe even something like family? What are you tempted to follow instead of God? What are you tempted to trade for your eternal inheritance? There are always things vying for our attention and desires. We need to be careful that we don’t trade the eternal for the temporal. 

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