The Bargain

“But Jacob said, ‘First you must swear that your birthright is mine.’ So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother, Jacob. ”—Genesis 25:33 (NLT)

“Do what’s best for you.” 

“Don’t look back.”

“Take what’s yours.”

Many of us have been brainwashed by this worldly type of thinking. The idea is everywhere—in movies, TV shows, media, and entertainment like in popular hip-hop songs and Disney animated films!

“Seize your moment.” That’s what Ernesto De La Cruz’s motto was in the film Coco. And he definitely seized his moment, no matter who got hurt along the way. He not only poisoned and killed his best friend in order to steal his songs and become famous, but he also tried to kill a young boy because he had found out the truth. 

And while the movie paints him as the villain and shows why his actions and beliefs were wrong, it’s interesting that, when done to a lesser extent, without all the murder and stuff, this philosophy is applauded by the world. It’s a distorted mentality that is so opposite to the gospel of Jesus and the manner in which He showed us how to live. 

In today’s verse, we see one of our heroes of faith, the great Jacob, the man who wrestled with God and became Israel, live out this philosophy. In the vein of Ernesto De La Cruz, he seized his moment and manipulated his brother into giving up his birthright. He didn’t think about how his actions would affect his brother or his brother’s future family or anyone else. 

Read what author Matthew Henry wrote about this situation: “We have here the bargain made between Jacob and Esau about the right, which was Esau's by birth, but Jacob's by promise. It was for a spiritual privilege; and we see Jacob's desire of the birth-right, but he sought to obtain it by crooked courses, not like his character as a plain man. He was right, that he coveted earnestly the best gifts; he was wrong, that he took advantage of his brother's need.”

Is it wrong to want good things? No. Is it wrong to take them from others, to steal them and not look back at the devastation left in its wake? Yes. As believers, our lives shouldn’t be defined by looking out for number one, but rather, as servants who surrender and sacrifice for the sake of winning others to the cause of Christ. That means putting others first, serving with humility and compassion, and being content with all the Lord blesses us with. 

It’s not wrong to ask the Lord for good things. But, let’s ensure we’re doing it in His name, according to His will, and in alignment with His heart.

DIG: What was the flaw in Jacob’s actions?

DISCOVER: What can we learn from this situation?   

DO: Pray today the Lord instills in you a servant’s heart.

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.