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A Warning from the Life of Esau

16 And make sure that there isn’t any immoral or irreverent person like Esau, who sold his birthright in exchange for a single meal. 17 For you know that later, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, even though he sought it with tears, because he didn’t find any opportunity for repentance. (Hebrews 12:16-17)

Yesterday, from verse 15, the author warned the believers to prevent any root of bitterness to grow, for it would cause “trouble and defile many.” What followed in verses 16 and 17 is an example of this bitter behavior with the story of Esau. In Genesis 25:33-34, Esau, tired from a hunt, sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of lentil soup:

33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. 34 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.

Esau, who would have received the promise of God that was passed down from Abraham and Isaac, rejected this spiritual heritage. He saw no value in this supposed promise; he didn’t believe and found it worthless. Yet, in the end, in Genesis 27:38, he regretted his decision, but it was too late, and he wept aloud, “Esau said to his father, “Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me too, my father!” Then Esau wept aloud.” Instead of a promised land flowing with milk and honey, in Genesis 27:39, “Your dwelling will be away from the earth’s richness, away from the dew of heaven above.”

Esau is an example of an individual who wasted the opportunity to experience God’s blessings and His grace. And in the moment that Esau did want his blessing, his birthright, it was already too late. Along that point, there is only so much time before the opportunity of accepting God’s grace and mercy is available to someone. As Lea writes, “We are to realize that denying Christ is a serious act…Just as Esau’s tears did not earn a return to God for him, a deliberate turning away from Christ will lead to ruin and sorrow.”


Isaac De Guzman

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