Misunderstood Blessing

Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate the meal, then got up and left. He showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn.”—Genesis 25:34 (NLT)

Have you ever developed bitterness or resentment in your heart for something or someone? Perhaps what you once saw as a gift you now see as a curse.

In today’s verse, we see Esau eat the food for which he surrendered his birthright. He set his mind on earthly things; he preferred the momentary over the enduring, instant gratification over long-term satisfaction. But once the meal was over and his craving subsided, he was left with the sobering reality that he had lost his birthright—an amazing gift that was supposed to change his life. 

His response is unsettling. The Bible says, “He showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn.” Now look at what English theologian Matthew Poole said regarding this: “Secure and impenitent, without any remorse for his ingratitude to God, or the injury which he had done to himself and to all his posterity, he went his way, despising his birthright, preferring the present and momentary satisfaction of his lust and appetite before God’s and his father’s blessing, and all the glorious privileges of the birthright.” 

He had such a low value on this blessing, that is, until Jacob actually took the blessing, the birthright that was originally his. We see it in Genesis 27:41 (NLT), which says, “From that time on, Esau hated Jacob because their father had given Jacob the blessing.” He even plotted to kill Jacob, which led to Jacob running away at the behest of his mother. 

Have you ever gotten to the point where you end up hating something that was meant to be a blessing? I’ve personally known people who developed deep resentment toward things that were once seen as gifts. I had a friend who grew to hate his God-given musical ability because of the path he went down in his life as a musician. It wasn’t until many years later where he began to use the gift to worship and honor the Lord that he finally understood the blessing he was given and the purpose for which he was meant to use it. 

I pray we never get to the point where this happens, where something that is a blessing becomes a curse in our lives. I pray we will operate in the gifts, talents, and blessings given to us in a manner that honors the Lord and serves His purposes. I pray we never trade what is sacred, eternal, and enduring for what is temporal and fleshly, because it will always lead to disappointment and resentment as we look back at what we lost. 

DIG: How does bitterness and resentment develop in us?

DISCOVER: Why did Esau go from not caring about his birthright to hating Jacob and wanting to kill him?   

DO: Ask the Lord to protect your heart from the root of bitterness.

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.