Jesus is the King and we are the heirs of the Kingdom. Jacob and Esau, as grandsons of Abraham, were both heirs to the same promises as we are. But they did not both inherit, so we be careful to avoid Esau’s mistake.
Esau, as the first-born, had a birthright to a double portion. He stood to receive two-thirds, and Jacob one-third. Yet in the end, Esau’s inheritance came to nothing, and, try as he might, he could not rebuild it (Mal 1:2b-5). The Bible warns us not to be like Esau “who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterwards, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears.” (Heb 12:16,17)
He had been seeking first a bowl of stew. He felt hungry one day when he came in from the fields. He said he was famished, but Esau’s problem was not starvation. It was a total preoccupation with the felt needs of the present. At that moment, his god was his stomach. This is precisely the context in which Jesus said we are to seek first the kingdom: it is to take precedence over such matters as what we are to eat, or drink, or wear (Mt 6:25ff).
Esau failed to bring his own bodily appetites under the government of God. In the feelings of the moment, his stomach was more important to him than the destiny God had for him in the blessings and responsibilities of inheritance. Jacob, on the other hand, preferred a future inheritance to instant gratification, and whatever we might think of his scheming ways, God honoured him for that. The future of the kingdom was more important than the desires of the present.
What “bowls of stew” seem so important to our bodily appetites that we are willing to jeopardise our inheritance for them? It will take a blazing vision of the Kingdom and its King to enable us to pay the price in the present to be able to enjoy the Treasure forever. Pay now / Have later; or Have now / Pay later.
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