Yesterday we looked at Abraham and how committed he was to God and didn’t hold anything back. Today our passage is Genesis ch.apters 25-26 but we are really going to hone in on Genesis 25.29-34. Hopefully all of us including myself can gain a different perspective on it. But first, story time….
I grew up running. When I was in high school, I ran track and field. I ran the half mile, the mile and the two mile. I did that for a couple seasons but was pretty inconsistent. When I didn’t compete one season I didn’t run at all because who really likes running with no goal. In college I had to run because I went to a military school. I had physical fitness tests that I had to pass. That sort of renewed my interest in running and I began to run more frequently. I had always dreamed of and put on my bucket list to run a marathon. When I was 26 I made my first attempt to train for a marathon. Training for a marathon requires a lot of commitment. You need to run 5-6 times a week for 16 weeks. Many of these runs during training are quite literally hours long and exhausting. You essentially make yourself a slave to your running program and do whatever it tells you to do. On my first attempt I fractured my ankle on the longest run of the program, three weeks before my race. It was terrible. I had invested 13 weeks of training into something that would never produce any fruit. I was literally right at the end of my program. All the runs in the program after this would have been easier than previous runs and I was easily on my way to completing a marathon before I stepped on that cracked sidewalk.
In Genesis 25.29-34 we have Isaac’s two sons, Jacob and Esau. Jacob was a quiet man who dwelled in tents. While Esau was a skillful hunter and a man of the field. Esau comes back in from the field and is starving. I feel like all of us have been there. Sometimes the last thing that you want to do when you come in the door after a long day is to cook yourself a meal and I think this is what Esau was feeling. It is hard for me not to empathize with Esau here. Rough day of hunting and he is exhausted and his younger brother has stew on. His brother takes advantage of his situation and asks him for his birthright in exchange for some wonderful stew. This feels super under handed and not a great way to treat your siblings or frankly anyone. We could cry “Where is the justice in this situation, God?” but I think a better attitude for this situation is to ask “What can I learn from this situation?” and I don’t mean how to exhort people’s birth rights.
I think that the lesson to be learned here is not from God’s perspective or Jacob’s but from Esau’s perspective. When Esau came in from a hard day out in the field and didn’t have any food, I’m sure he could probably get food from somewhere. Esau was right there at the end and at the very last second, he let his desires to satiate his hunger get in the way of what was good for him. If Esau had persevered for a little while longer, I imagine that he would have been able to find food somewhere and may have not even gone to bed hungry. Instead, he let something as inconsequential as some stew get in the way of him receiving his birthright.
In my case with the marathon it was an injury that stopped me. It’s too often that I end up quitting right before I get to the part where my efforts bear fruit. Too often just a little bit more effort and a little bit more endurance would give me the results of all my work. 2 Timothy 2.12 says, “If we endure with him, we will also reign with him.” We need to not lose sight of our hope and endure with him so we will reap the rewards of all that God wants to do in our lives. If we focus on this hope I believe that we will also be able to persevere with him until the end.
Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+25-26&version=NIV
Tomorrow’s Bible reading will be Genesis 27-29 in the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan