The Shucked Covering

Genesis 25:34 “So Esau despised his birthright” (NIV).

Observation: Esau and his brother Jacob were the twin sons of Isaac and Rebekah. As the first-born, Esau had a natural birthright to receive Isaac’s estate, but Esau one day returned home famished and agreed to sell his birthright to Jacob for some bread and stew Jacob had been cooking. Esau ate, drank, and left, leading to the summation of verse 34: “So Esau despised his birthright.”

Application: To despise one’s birthright! Think of it! How stupid! How shortsighted. How sad. The birthright was not just the legal source of inheritance; it also contained, at its heart, the covenant provision Abraham had received from God, which had then been passed to his son Isaac. That’s what Esau despised. He would have been delighted to have the cattle, but had no interest in the covenant. He would have loved the money, but didn’t want to pursue relationship.

His problem wasn’t just that in his rush to get to the table he briefly forgot his position as the eldest son. Rather, his quick agreement to sell his birthright to Jacob in return for a full belly was merely a symptom of much deeper problems.

Esau was a godless man, governed by flesh and emotions, never having submitted himself to the twin yokes of discipline and obedience required by God. To so lightly shuck off a covering of such profound value was to reject God Himself; Jacob was merely the instrument God used to expose Esau’s heart.

Is there anywhere a man more to be pitied than one who rejects and despises God’s covering and provision? Listen to the hard edge of women who have liberated themselves from the marriage covenant. Ponder the loneliness of a man who has chosen to move outside his father’s proffered covering. Countless billions pass into eternity with their life’s song being, “I Did It My Way,” only to find upon arrival that their way has been a path to everlasting destruction.

I, too, have a birthright from God, an inheritance from the Father not of earthly possessions, but an imperishable inheritance of life itself. The One who provides my inheritance has already died in my behalf, so all He has is mine for the taking. The will has been read and the court stands ready to authorize distribution but for one small, fine-print detail I may overlook in my rush to collect the loot: I, too, must die. I have a choice. Esau despised his birthright by rejecting covenant with the One who owns the storehouse of all inheritance. Am I quick to call him the fool even as I cling tenaciously to the “good things” of life, resisting final surrender?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I confess I have been more like Esau than I ever wanted to admit. Covenant on my terms is no covenant at all, is it? Forgive me Lord as I surrender to Your covenant.

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