This morning we were reading about Jacob and Esau. They’re twins – but not identical. Esau (the eldest) is all man, big and hairy and sweaty and meaty, whilst Jacob likes cooking and his mum. However, beneath Jacob’s frilly exterior lurks a big old conniving brain. He might be the youngest, but he’s determined to get his hands on his brother’s inheritance. So he hatches up a plan to buy it from his brother.
An inheritance is no small thing. Not only is it all the physical stuff – the crockery and the carriage clock and the golf clubs – it’s God’s blessing upon you and your family. This is not something you can pick up at Tesco, or even M+S. It’s priceless – and it’s something you shouldn’t ever be able to buy.
You shouldn’t: but doesn’t stop Jacob trying. And worse still, Esau bites. Quite literally.
Jacob doesn’t tempt him with money. Or women. Or fame. Instead, he cooks up a soup.
Yep – a soup. And it’s not even a posh one with cheese or bacon. It’s lentil.
I’m too upset to continue, so I’ll let the Bible fill you in whilst I collect myself…
Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom.)
Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright. ”
“Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?”
But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.
Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left.
So Esau despised his birthright.
Right, I’m back. See what I mean? It’s madness.
What kind of idiot gives everything up for a bowl of soup?
Who lets food dictate the course of their life?
ahem. And suddenly I’m choking on my own laughter.
I’m mocking Esau and then in my guts I feel a sickening jolt.
Who looks at the eternal blessings of God and exchanges them for something so trivial?
Me. All the time.
And when I feel I need something, whatever it is, don’t I feel it with the same intensity as Esau?
“Quick, let me have ..
– a promotion
– an iPad
– a holiday
– a new wardrobe
– a baby
because I’m famished. I’m about to DIE if I don’t get it.
And this is what I really need – not you, Lord – THIS.
Something I can see and touch and taste. Even if it’s worthless. Even if it makes me choke.