“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.” Genesis 25:34
You know the story. Esau was hungry so he sold his invisible birthright to his little brother for a steaming bowl of lentil soup.
It better have been yummy.
To help you realize the significance of this you should understand that, in this culture, being the firstborn son meant you inherited the lion’s share of blessings from your dying daddy. If he had land you got most of it. If he had sheep you got most of them. The rest of the brothers got whatever was leftover.
Suffice it to say, it was way more fun being son number one.
Esau knew this when he came in from a long day of hunting and just had to have a bowl of his brother’s mouth-watering stew. Jacob bargained with him for the ultimate one-sided swap, his soup for Esau’s birthright. “Throw in a piece of bread and you got yourself a deal Jacob!”Esau negotiated. “Done!” said Jacob with a twisted smile.
The younger sibling knew what this birthright was worth, while Esau had no idea or, at the very minimum, didn’t value it. With every spoonful of delicious soup that made its way into Esau’s mouth and down his throat, his rightful blessings were making their way out of his future and down the toilet.
Which brings us to our subject of sex and soup. Hebrews 12:16 makes the not-so-subtle love connection between this unlikely couple, “See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.”
This verse makes it abundantly clear that the temptation of sexual immorality is just like a bowl of hot, steaming stew waiting to steal a believer’s birthright.
What is this birthright? 1 Peter 1:3,4 gives us a powerful glimpse into its worth, “In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you….”
Hot sex with someone (other than your spouse of course!) may be tasty for a moment, but it has lasting and devastating consequences. Not only is the pipeline of God’s blessing cut off in this life, but the unimaginable inheritance God has reserved for us in the next life shrinks.
The writer of Hebrews goes on to say this about Esau’s not-so-great soup exchange, “Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.” Hebrews 12:17
Esau mourned when he realized that his dying daddy had no blessing for him because he had sold it to his brother for a quickie lunch. We too will mourn when we realize the full implications of selling our sanctification for a bowlful of lust…devastated marriages, dysfunctional families and destroyed lives.
And that’s just on this side of eternity.
As a traveling evangelist I am very aware of the temptations that are on the road. From airports to hotel lobbies to late dinners at Chili’s, a pretty woman is difficult not to notice. So, whenever I see one, I try to remember Esau and his bowl of stew. I try to remember the birthright I would exchange for a small bowl of instant gratification. I remind myself of the wife and kids God has blessed me with on this side of eternity and the blessings God is reserving me on the other side.
The trade is just not worth it.