This message teaches several important lessons from a man that had everything, but lost it all to carelessness and foolishness.
Early and natural advantages can easily be squandered
“The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau.” (Genesis 25:25).
The first to come out was Esau. He was early. He won the first round. Hurray! Hallelujah!
Victory is good. It is sweet. And when the victory happens very early in the contest, it can be intoxicating. But it is no guarantee against failure. In fact, it can even lead to unthinkable disasters.
Esau’s life is a lesson to all the early winners: Life is a series of contests; victory in the first round is not enough to take out the enemy of your destiny. You will need to stay sober and vigilant. Be ready to fight and win all the way.
The easiest things to lose are your God-given natural advantages
The sequence of birth gave Esau tremendous cultural and spiritual advantages. Through an act of nature, he came into the world ahead of Jacob, thus gaining the traditional birthright.
Esau probably must have felt no need to fight for his birthright. God had already given it to him. Therefore, why bother to guard, protect, or fight for what was already his?
Eventually, the birthright held no value for him because it was free. It is so easy to berate things that cost you nothing. They are free anyway, so why bother?
Being first is good; but, being first too early may not always be good, as it can lead to complacency.
Dog races tortoise
The first son ends up poorer and marrying last. The most brilliant chap in sec school ends up a wretched employee. The prettiest girl in the campus ends up a frustrated emotional wreck. The spoilt daughter of a millionaire ends up as the abused wife of a poor crook.
Be careful not to take your early advantages for granted.
Like every other person, you have a weakness; but you must never let it stop you
“After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob… ~Genesis 25:26
Your heel represents your weakness, that part of you that will give your enemy an edge over you. Satan will hammer at it again and again. It is the point of leakage in your life.
Your real enemy, satan, knows your weaknesses and will use them against you. Your greatest losses in destiny will come through satan’s exploits of your vulnerabilities.
This may lead you to think it wise to fight against, and try to eliminate your weakness. Surprisingly, however, never expect your weakness to suddenly dissapear; it won’t; you must understand that. You must learn to live with your ‘Achilles Heel.’
In reality, your weakness was not designed to be a leakage point. It was meant to be a point of dependence on God. God allows your weakness so you can depend on Him. It is an entry point for God’s mercies into your life. It makes room in your life for God and others.
Unlike Esau, and like Jesus, prevent your weakness from acting against you
Did you know that Jesus was fully human? Yes He was. And if you should know anything about human nature, it should be that it is marked by weaknesses.
Jesus had a fair share of human frailties.
He really loved to eat! From Matthew’s home to that of Zacheaus. From Simon the leper’s house to the home of Lazarus in Bethany. From the corn fields on a Sabbath, to the accusations against his disciples for not fasting. So obvious was Jesus’ love for food, feasting, and drinking, that His first miracle occured during a feast, and His critics called Him a glutton! ?
So, satan hit at it. “…if you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” ~ Matthew 4:3
Jesus wanted glory. He so spoke of Himself that the Jews accused Him of pride and self-glorification. Towards the end of His ministry, He asked the Father to give the glory back. He loved glory.?
So, Satan hit at it, “…if you are the Son of God, throw yourself down.” ~ Matthew 4:6
Jesus was extremely safety conscious. He consciously avoided danger. Even at the Garden of Gethsamane, He was still seeking a way out of the torture of the cross.
Satan used this against Him too, “… All these I will give you, if you will bow down and worship me.” ~ Matthew 4:9
Jesus’ temptation by the devil in the wilderness was no stage-managed mock display; it was the real thing; and it wasn’t pretty at all. But, remember, He was led there by the Holy Spirit!
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.”
~ Matthew 4:1
No wonder He taught us to pray, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” ~ Matthew 6:13.
The best way to prevent your weakness from operating against you is to pray against temptation. After facing the devil in the wilderness, Jesus knew that would be a bad idea for any of us. Don’t try to fight your weakness; pray to the Father that you be not led into temptation; to be delivered from the evil one.
Surely, your weakness attracts the devil; but it also attracts the grace and mercy of God. When you pray to the Lord to keep you from temptation, you attract His grace that protects you against the operations of your weaknesses. Also, as He did in the case of Moses who stammered, He will provide some help in the form of Aaron that is strong where you are weak.
Long before he lost his birthright, Esau lost his nature
“The boys grew, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was a quiet man, staying among the tents.”
I highlighted two very illuminating phrases: Esau became, and Jacob was. Think about that for a minute. Jacob stayed true to his original nature, while Esau became something else.
Abraham, Esau’s paternal grandfather, was a shepherd and a tent dweller. Isaac, Esau’s father, was a shepherd and a tent dweller. Laban, Esau’s maternal uncle, was a shepherd. Where, then, did Esau get His ‘skillful hunter, a man of the open country nature’ from?
You see, long before he lost his birthright, Esau lost his nature. He put on a secondary nature – donned a habit. Esau left the tradition of his ancestors, the natural business of his forbears, and became conditioned by the lifestyle of the uncircumcised Canaanites.
Evil associations do not necessarily change your nature; but they can corrupt your nature. Nature comes through birth and rebirth; habit comes through conditioning. Esau’s nature became corrupted by his environment. He abandoned his roots, and left who he was. Thus, rather than a quiet man, staying among the tents, like Abraham and Isaac before him, he became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country – that is, a wild man. What a tragedy.
Your nature determines your preferences, and your choices; these then determine your decisions and your destinations. As God’s child, you possess His nature. You were born by the power of the Holy Spirit and share the same preferences as God. However, you must guard against donning secondary habits from the world that can corrupt your nature and destroy your destiny.
When Esau’s nature became corrupted, he lost a vital key to his destiny: godliness. Godliness is the opposite of worldliness. It is a scale of preference that puts God and His interests ahead of everything else. Esau became godless and forfeited his capacity to accurately value his birthright. This corruption of his sense of value was the precursor to the loss of his birthright.
Understand: Your scale of preference is a vital key to your destiny. The reason this is so is that your scale of preference lies at the heart of your nature. It is the very essence of your mentality and your personality. In reality, it is easier for a Carmel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for an item on 3 to move to no 4 in your scale of preferences. This kind of shift is more difficult to accomplish than a tectonic shift. However, if anyone can alter your scale of preference, they can alter your nature; and this generally happens through the transference of spirits – what the bible refers to as ‘communications’.
Therefore, do not be careless. Mind who and what you expose your heart and mind to. If you are not careful, your environment will corrupt your nature and ruin your destiny.
Your nature confers strengths and weaknesses upon you
Isaac’s boys, Esau and Jacob, shared the same parentage, and genetic pedigree. As shepherd’s and tent dwellers, Abraham and Isaac were deeply reflective, and spiritual. They understood the value and mystery of life. A shepherd learns to nurture and multiply life. The nature of a shepherd enables him to appreciate the eternal truths of God. Some of God’s greatest men were shepherds: Abel, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, and our Lord Jesus Christ. There’s something powerful about the nature of a shepherd.
A hunter, on the other hand, learns to kill. He stalks, and chases after life to destroy it. If care is not taken, a hunter will lose the capacity to appreciate the true value of life, and the higher riches of God. On the long run, in making destiny-related choices, this could prove to be a huge disadvantage.
When Esau abandoned his original nature, he acquired strange weaknesses that ultimately ruined him. A skillful hunter, a man of the open country, meant that Esau became wild, unrestrained, unreflective, and unable to control his desires.
“Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. He said to Jacob, ‘Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished! (That is why he was also called Edom.)” ~ Genesis 25:29,30
Notice that he was screaming. He couldn’t control his hunger. He was even ordering Jacob to get the red stew to him, as if it was his. The man lacked self-control. You must never let your needs enslave you to the agenda of other people.
I understand that you came from a poor background and need to make money. I appreciate the fact that your biological clock is ticking fast and time is no longer on your side. You need to get married. I get it. There’s no doubting the fact that you need a quick relief from the predicament you’re currently in. Nevertheless, if you let yourself get desperate, you will become a victim to the master Jacob of this world – satan.
Just as the devil tried to do against Jesus, Jacob used Esau’s weaknesses against him. Unlike the devil, however, Jacob was hugely successful.
“Jacob replied, ‘first sell me your birthright.’
‘Look, I am about to die,’ Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?’
But Jacob said, ‘Swear to me first.’ So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.’”
Did Esau seriously think that skipping a meal would kill him? You would be shocked to see what some people would do and say when they are desperate.
By becoming something else, Esau acquired strange weaknesses that handed the victory to Jacob.
Esau’s failed attempt to recover
“See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears.”
Esau’s bid to recover his birthright ended in failure. It was a valiant attempt, but it ended woefully because he didn’t even know what he lost and why he lost it. Esau never understood that his destruction occurred the moment he became something he was never created to be; the moment he turned his back on the nature of his family and his family’s God. He embraced the nature of Cain, and Nimrod: hunters. How could a hunter and a man of the open country inherit the legacy and blessing of the Abrahamic Covenant?
The Holy Spirit clearly says in the Scriptures that flesh and blood will never inherit the kingdom of God. If you are born of God, you have His nature and are a co-heir with Jesus Christ. However, if you are not careful, your environment will corrupt your nature and ruin your destiny.
Furthermore, Esau thought he could win the birthright back through tricks. Knowing how manipulative Jacob was, it wouldn’t be out of place to think that he must have circulated information about the transaction that took place between him and Esau. Isaac probably knew about it. Why he said he was dying, and yet lived over 38 years afterwards is beyond my comprehension. Maybe, he needed some meat and manipulated Esau’s desperation for the birthright against him. We may never know. What we do know, however, is that Esau was no match for Jacob in the art of deception.
Could Esau have recovered his birthright? Definitely; he just didn’t go about it the right way. He sought it with tears, rather than with the wisdom of the Spirit. Whining and crying will not be able to restore what you lost in the spirit. You must instead employ the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to help you recover everything the devil has stolen from you.