Preferring present gratifications to deferred felicities

Isaac loved [and favored] Esau, because [a]he enjoyed eating his game, but Rebekah loved [and favored] Jacob.  Jacob had cooked [reddish-brown lentil] stew [one day], when Esau came from the field and was famished;  and Esau said to Jacob, “Please, let me have a quick swallow of that red stuff there, because I am exhausted and famished.” For that reason Esau was [also] called Edom (Red).  Jacob answered, “First sell me your [b]birthright (the rights of a firstborn).”  Esau said, “Look, I am about to die [if I do not eat soon]; so of what use is this birthright to me?” – Genesis 25:28-32

It is amazing how food can step in between our flesh and the spirit.  Isaac prayed for a child and God gave him twins.  Then he goes and loves one above the other only because he enjoyed his food.  Then that son gives up his own birthright as the firstborn to get some food.  When I look at what I run to when I need comfort – yes, its food. When we are sad, disappointed, or confused, do we go to God first, or do we run to another source? Do we talk to God, or reach for the telephone? Going to God first ensures that we are keeping our focus on Him. We would be amazed at how God can work out an answer if we simply ask Him first. God speaks to us through the Holy Spirit, through His Word, through godly people, and through our circumstances.

I can’t say that what Jacob did was any better.  Even though Jacob had the birthright by promise, he sought to secure it by crooked courses.  But his spirit craved the spiritual privilege that came with the birthright. He was right, that he coveted earnestly the best gifts; he was wrong, that he took advantage of his brother’s need.

When have you wondered if God had intervened or if circumstances were merely the result of “the world” and God was watching and waiting to see how you reacted, including if you invited Him into those circumstances? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to recognize the difference between the normative state of events unfolding as millions of variables that came before from Creation until that moment, and events that show evidence of God’s touch. When have you been tempted by a desire of your flesh to “despise” your standing as a child of God in favour of momentary gain or pleasure? When has fear or lust overwhelmed your respect for others or for God? What was the result? When have you paused before acting from fear or lust and given them over to God? What was the result? When have you observed a believer marrying outside of the faith and what has been the result?

And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: – literally, going to die; meaning, “on the eve of expiring,” through hunger; “ex animo testetur se mortis sensu urgeri” (Calvin); or, “liable to death,” through the, dangerous pursuits of his daily calling (Ainsworth, Bush, Rosenmüller); or, what is most probable, “on the way to meet death” – uttered in a spirit of Epicurean levity, “Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die” (Keil, Kalisch) –and what profit shall this birthright do to me? – literally, of what (use) this(thing) to me, (called) a birthright? signifying, according to the sense attached to the foregoing expression, either,-Of what use can a birthright be to a man dying of starvation? or, The birthright is not likely ever to be of service to me, who am almost certain to be cut off soon by a violent and sudden death; on What signifies a birthright whose enjoyment is all in the future to a man who has only a short time to live? I prefer present gratifications to deferred felicities. – Pulpit Commentary


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