Genesis 25:29 Once when Jacob was cooking a stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was famished. 30 Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stuff, for I am famished!” (Therefore he was called Edom.) 31 Jacob said, “First sell me your birthright.” 32 Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” 33 Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank, and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.
“Probably the worst trade ever.” That’s what I often think when I read this passage. Birthright was a huge deal in ancient times. The elder son, Esau, was to inherit the bulk of his father’s estate and be the primary leader of the family upon his father Isaac’s death. But no. He was really hungry, so he traded his birthright for a meal. Dumb. But the tension we see in Esau isn’t so unusual for us if we think about it.
Esau chose to resolve his need NOW – and in so doing compromised his future.
When I’m in pain, or struggling, or in a time of discomfort, I tend to be a bit like Esau. I want the situation fixed. NOW! I was talking with a young woman the other day who is finally graduating from her graduate program and, like most students staring at graduation, is anxious about the future. She has bills to pay. She has student loans coming due. Ahh!! She wants to avoid living in the unknown. What city will she be in? What kind of work environment will she find? Will she be close to family and friends or far away? Will she like her new profession? So many questions.
I encouraged her to resist accepting the first offer that comes along, though there’s great temptation to do so. Sometimes it takes a while for God’s future for us to emerge. There have been many times when I’ve chosen short-term relief and paid a long-term price.
Heavenly Father waiting on your lead is so difficult for many of us. It’s especially hard when waiting involves pain and uncertainty. Give us grace to resist this kind of temptation, trusting that what you have for us is better in the long run. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.