Sunday, April 17, 2016

An Appetite of Regret

I have opened chapter twenty-five in Genesis and I find something so interesting that I never realized before. We always hear stories of how Jacob took advantage of his twin brother, Esau, but there's so much more to grasp. Such a powerful lesson to learn here that goes far beyond Jacob's actions and more so to Esau's actions. 

Let me back up. Isaac and Rebekah had twin sons. We learn that Jacob was a favorite to Rebeka and Esau was Isaac's favorite. {Genesis 25:27-28} Can we really have favorite children? I can't say that I have a favorite child. Maybe we can relate to each of our children in different ways. Our children take on characteristics of each parent. We find as our children grow that they each take on different loves of each parent. There's always something that makes each child stand out, but to have a favorite? For me that answer has to be, no.

Maybe this is where the  beginnings of their brotherly angst toward one another started. We learn that in Rebekah could feel them struggling within her womb. So much so she calls upon the Lord. As expectant mothers I am sure each of us can relate to her wondering if all is okay. 

Time passes. They grow. They become their own person with their own loves and dislikes. The day comes when we learn that Jacob cooks a stew. {Genesis 25:29} Now, we know from early scripture that Esau was a man of the field. He loved hunting game. We see that Esau even cooked for his father and Isaac loved what his son prepared for him. {Genesis 25:27-28}.

So here comes Esau weary and hungry. He smells his brothers stew. He asks Jacob to please feed him. I am guessing at this moment Jacob's mind is churning. He's about to manipulate his brother when he's hungry, when his appetite  is burning for something to fill his emptiness. This is exactly how Satan works with us. 

Jacob says, "Hey gimme your birthright and I'll feed you whatever you want, bro". I'm sure Jacob had been thinking of this day for a long time. But just as he asks, Esau is quick to answer. He doesn't say, "What? Are you nuts, bro? Why would I give up my birthright to you?" He is quick to turn over every single blessing without thought. "You got it. It's all yours. Now, I'm starving. Gimme some of that great smelling stew". {Genesis 25:29-34}

Now, before we get all judgy at Esau let us think about how easily this can happen to us as well. Because if not for the grace of God there go I. Esau tells Jacob, "Look I'm about to die; so what is this birthright to me?" {Genesis 25:32} About to die? He's so hungry he's willing to give up his birthright and just what is his birthright? It's much more than material things. It is much more spiritual. These are gifts from his father, Isaac, who is still alive. 

He gave up so very much. His recognition as the oldest son, a double portion of inheritance when his father passed, and regard as the leader of the family. That's huge!! His father didn't pass on these gifts lightly. This was not only a gift from his father, but from God. This was a legacy to treasure. A legacy for Esau to pass down to his first son and so on as the generations came to pass. 

Jacob is thrilled at Esau's choice to just give up everything. How long had Esau's belly been full did he regret his actions? Was there a moment after his filling had settled and he thought to himself, "What did I do? Why did I do that?" Oh, how often do we make choices in the blink of an eye to only regret them after all settles?  Choices that at the moment we think nothing about, but later realize all that we gave up and for what? At some point we are going to have to ask ourselves, "What is it that I love? Do I love my God or do I love my world?" This world can be exceptionally enticing with all it has to offer our bellies, but is it worth it to give up all we are to accept the world's offerings? This world has nothing eternal to offer those of us living in Christ Jesus. 

We allow our wants to consume us. It nothing sacred for us? We exchange God's gifts for the gratification of our own desires, and then we later regret our choices that have left us once again empty. Now we are left longing for more. Searching for something more to fill us. But nothing can ever replace what we have so easily given up.

As my husband and I go antiquing we see such beautiful old items. Things that I look upon and wonder how one could give them up. I know there are many reasons why families give up belongings of their elderly parents or grandparents, but there was a time when these things meant so much to those who gave them as gifts. I know I am speaking of material items, but here Esau had so much more than material 'stuff'. But too often we give up much of ourselves. We give up our character, respect, and honor. We give up our heart and heritage in Christ as this world continues to call out to us. 

We can be so controlled by our appetites, always searching for that next thing to fill us that we don't even look back to what we gave up until we come to the realization that nothing can ever fill that God-spot. 

"For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" Matthew 16:26

"Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears." Hebrews 12:15-17 

Let us not exchange the gifts of the Lord for what this world offers. May we never compromise our faith and our walk with the Lord for anything this world has to offer. Let us be true to who we are in Christ. Always remembering who we are and whom we belong to. 

Temptation will forever surround us, but let us be strong and resist. Never allowing our temptation to turn to sin. For all it takes is one poor misguided choice to forever alter our lives to a point we can never go back. 

If we keep our thoughts upon our Lord, filling our minds and hearts with all He has for us we will never turn to this world to fulfill a longing within us. If we do become tempted the Spirit will be quick to speak to us, giving us wisdom to turn back to our God and walk away from the world. This is why it is so important for us to live lives determined to be in the Word. To search the Word. To dig deep and uncover scripture that will guide us to living a life of intention in Christ Jesus. 

We have a choice each and every day to walk with Jesus or turn from Him and follow our own desires. May we find wisdom and truth in His Word that will lead us to living lives of fullness in Christ and without searching this world to fill us with lives of regret. 

"Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will received the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him." James 1:12

"But each one is tempted and drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then we desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect blessing is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures."  James 1:14-18
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