Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Selling Our Birthright

Genesis 25:34
(34) And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright. 

We all shake our heads in disbelief when we think about the well-known story of Esau selling his birthright for a measly bowl of lentil stew. How could he do such a thing? But are we any better today? Paul reminds us that the stories God includes in the Old Testament are there to help us avoid making the same mistakes (I Corinthians 10:11-12).

We have another advantage: Esau was not converted, and we are. Through the indwelling of God's Holy Spirit, we have help he never had. We can use this godly insight and power to learn and grow in the way of living that will please God.
What did Esau give up? Of course, we understand that God had prophesied that the older would serve the younger. Perhaps Jacob was aware of this and was trying to "help God" work out His foreordained providence. Whatever the case, until this point the birthright was Esau's. Albert Barnes comments: "In after times the right of primogeniture consisted in a double portion of the father's goods (Deut 21:17), and a certain rank as the patriarch and priest of the house on the death of the father." God had already promised vast lands and wealth to the descendants of Abraham who came through the birthright son (Genesis 26:1-5).

Imagine for a second that Esau could have foreseen all of North America, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, vast sections of Europe, and parts of the Middle East. Would he have had a greater appreciation for the birthright then? Possibly.

However, Esau could not imagine the unimaginable wealth, power, military might, political impact, and world leadership his descendants could have. This is not even considering the potential for a far greater spiritual inheritance—the blessing (see Genesis 27:1-29)—that accompanies the birthright. These benefits were not real to him; he could not touch them. They were too far in the future; they were not present at the moment. The only thing that was real to him was his need to eat some lentil stew. Right now.

Esau's impulsive, unholy, live-in-the-now lifestyle was about to cost him and his descendants dearly. As God says, he despised his birthright.

God has called us to a fabulous, unfathomable birthright. Our birthright, as firstfruits of God, makes Esau's birthright seem trivial. If we cannot or will not realize what God has offered us, we can let such great a prize slip away as tragically as Esau spurned his birthright (Hebrews 2:1; 12:14-17). If we do not value our birthright more than anything in this universe, we can sell it for our own equivalent of a bowl of lentil stew.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Look Back From Eternity

We will better see our purpose when we look back from eternity.

Ruth lived in the land of Moab just east of Canaan. She was not an Israelite but she married one of the sons of Naomi who had recently moved to Moab from Judah because of a famine. After ten years, Ruth's husband died. Naomi was going to return to her homeland and thought Ruth should remain with her people in Moab. But Ruth loved Naomi and desired to stay by her side.

Ruth 1:16-17
"Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried."

Life back in Canaan was difficult for Naomi and Ruth. Without anyone to care for them, Ruth had to pick left over grain from the fields simply to have enough to eat. Fortunately, Jewish law made provisions for this type of charity to the poor. As a poor foreigner in a strange land, this was a very humbling time for Ruth.

After two harvesting seasons of faithfully gathering food for herself and Naomi, Ruth married Boaz who owned the field where she worked. They soon had a son, and Naomi was allowed to help care for the boy. Their life had suddenly, and wonderfully, improved. And though Ruth must have been relieved and pleased to have a son, imagine her amazement when she is allowed to look back and view the results of her life from God's perspective.

Ruth's husband, Boaz, was an Israelite from the tribe of Judah. Their son was named Obed: "He was the father of Jesse, the father of {King} David" (Ruth 4:17). From this same family line (fourteen generations later), Mary would give birth to a boy named Jesus.

Our view of God's Kingdom is VERY limited. No matter how much we desire otherwise, there are simply pieces of the puzzle we are unable to fit together. While we walk this earth and breathe this air, we most likely will never see the purpose of our struggles. Yet, we must closely follow the One who leads and give ourselves wholeheartedly to each task we are given. We must learn to trust His perfect plan!
A shining light will always penetrate the darkness. And though we may not see the impact we have on others, one day we will stand with our Heavenly Father and rejoice as He reveals how we were used for His glorious purpose. One day we will watch our life unfold and clearly see the use of every helping hand, every encouraging word, and even every smile we shared in the midst of our trials. The shining light of our life has great meaning and purpose - true meaning and purpose which we will joyfully witness when we are allowed to look back from eternity. 

Have a Christ Centered Day!
Steve Troxel
God's Daily Word Ministries