Once when Jacob was cooking a stew, Esau came in from the field exhausted. He said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stuff, because I’m exhausted.” Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.” “Look,” said Esau, “I am about to die, so what good is a birthright to me?” Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore to Jacob and sold his birthright to him. Then Jacob gave bread and lentil stew to Esau; he ate, drank, got up, and went away. So Esau despised his birthright. –Genesis 25: 29-34
The story of Jacob and Esau has always made me laugh. Maybe it’s because I too am a twin, or maybe it’s because I find it hilarious that Scripture describes Esau as extremely hairy, but I have always loved it.
The funniest (and the most outrageous) part of the whole story is that Esau sells his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew. Yep. You read that right. Your eyes did not deceive you. He sold his birthright for a bowl of stew. In the ancient Middle East, a person’s birthright was everything. Esau’s was security, hope, and a good future. He was destined to have a great life, and he threw it all away because he was hungry at one moment in time. What kind of person would throw away something so good because of something so stupid?
And then it hit me.
I am Esau.
I am impatient. Oh, how I am impatient. The interesting part of the story isn’t that Esau trades in his birthright for something bad. He was hungry and wanted something to eat. Even though he was a tad overdramatic, there’s nothing wrong with that. He trades in his birthright to fulfill a need in the moment. He was hungry, and instead of waiting a little bit, he wanted what he wanted now. Basically, he threw a tantrum fit.
So many times in my life I trade something good for something that satisfies me in the moment. I get frustrated at God’s timing and plans, so I decide that my ways are better. I give up something potentially great for something that isn’t near as great as what God has in store.
Be silent before the Lord and wait expectantly for Him; do not be agitated by one who prospers in his way, by the man who carries out evil plans. Refrain from anger and give up your rage; do not be agitated–it can only bring harm. For evil doers will be destroyed, but those who put their hope in the Lord will inherit the Land. –Psalm 37:7-9
But God’s ways are better. God has a plan for each of us. It’s great and will ultimately bring glory and honor to him. We can’t give up all the great things of the future just for brief pleasure and fulfillment in the moment. We just have to learn to be patient.
Father, Your ways are good; Your ways are perfect. Help me to remember that. Help me to always cling to Your plans, instead of my own. Thank you for the forgiveness and salvation that comes through Jesus and that by his sacrifice, I can be Your daughter. Help me to remember my own birthright and the things that come from being an heir to the King, and help me to always not trade in something so good for something that will satisfy me now. You alone can satisfy. In Christ’s name, Amen.