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July 5, 2020 | Doug Sauder
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“One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry. Esau said to Jacob, ‘I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew!’ (This is how Esau got his other name, Edom, which means “red.”) ‘All right,’ Jacob replied, ‘but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.’ ‘Look, I’m dying of starvation!’ said Esau. ‘What good is my birthright to me now?’ 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 25:29–33 (NLT)
A triple bacon cheeseburger with smothered fries, a large soda, and an Oreo milk shake for lunch; a pair of $3,000 Jordans; quit my job to pursue a new passion; cheat on my spouse when I have a family. Is it worth it?
It’s important to count the cost of our decisions before we make them. Esau should’ve asked himself, “Is this stew worth my birthright?” But he didn’t. Instead he said, “I’m starved.” Chances are he wasn’t really dying of starvation. He probably could’ve made himself a little snack, but he let his nose and stomach take the wheel. He gave us a perfect example of Philippians 3:19 (NIV), which says, “Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.”
Esau’s mind was on earthly, temporary things. He couldn’t see beyond his present need and momentary hunger, and so he settled for instant gratification instead. How often do we do this? How often do we choose the easy route and surrender something amazing the Lord has for us? How often do we fail to count the cost of our decisions?
If I’m being honest, I don’t consider the cost nearly as often as I should. What about you? Here’s the reality: If you place your hope and happiness in temporary things, then your hope and happiness will be temporary. While they may suppress our hunger for a brief moment, soon after we’re left hungry again, often feeling emptier than we did before. That’s because only Jesus can truly fill us!
Listen to what the Psalmist declares in Psalm 16:11 (NKJV): “In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Friends, everything we’re longing for in this life can be found in Christ alone. In Christ, we can experience the fullness of all God has for us. We have security, power, peace, acceptance, and belonging. We are sons and daughters of Almighty God, and because of that, we are forgiven, set free, washed clean, made whole—we are rich, lacking nothing.
I pray we never trade what the Lord has for us in order to indulge in the things of the world. It’s not always easy. Sometimes, our birthright is a little way off, making it hard to see or perceive, all the while the stew of instant gratification is right in front of us. But it’s not worth it; it never is! What God has for you is “much more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20 BSB).
DIG: Why would Esau make this kind of decision? Why would he trade his birthright for some stew?
DISCOVER: Have you ever made a decision like Esau? Have you ever traded something valuable God had for you and instead chose instant gratification? Why did you make this decision?
DO: As you go about making decisions today, and every day, be intentional about counting the cost. Go to the Lord in prayer and ask for His will to be revealed and for His strength to resist the lure of the stew.