“Jacob had cooked [reddish-brown lentil] stew [one day], when Esau came from the field and was famished; 30 and Esau said to Jacob, “Please, let me have a quick swallow of that red stuff there, because I am exhausted and famished.” For that reason Esau was [also] called Edom (Red). 31 Jacob answered, “First sell me your birthright (the rights of a firstborn).” 32 Esau said, “Look, I am about to die [if I do not eat soon]; so of what use is this birthright to me?” 33 Jacob said, “Swear [an oath] to me today [that you are selling it to me for this food]”; so he swore [an oath] to him, and sold him his birthright. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and got up and went on his way. In this way Esau scorned his birthright.” (Genesis 25:29 – 34, TAB)
In life, when you do not know the reason for doing what you are doing it can eventually become an albatross. When the will power is low, the why power will keep you moving. They why of anything in life hinges on your values. A man’s priorities is determined and fuelled by the things he or she values. When you have the wrong values your priorities will forever be misplaced.
In our text which is also our case study, Esau had no use for his birthright. He did not value it. He valued food more. Birthright can be described as benefits that will accrue to an individual because of his or her position in the family.
Attributes of Birthright
The attributes of birthright will also denote the effect of misplaced priorities:
(1.) It can be Transferred
This word denotes the special privileges and advantages belonging to the first-born son. He becomes the priest of the family. Thus Reuben was the first-born of the patriarchs, and so the priesthood of the tribes belonged to him. That honor was, however, transferred by God from Reuben to Levi (Num. 3:12 – 13; 8:18). Esau transferred his birth-right to Jacob (Gen. 25:33).
(2.) It can be Denied
The first-born son had allotted to him also a double portion of the paternal inheritance (Deut. 21:15-17). Reuben was, because of his undutiful conduct, deprived of his birth-right (Gen. 49:4; 1
(3.) It can be Excluded
The first-born inherited the judicial authority of his father, whatever it might be
(2 Chr. 21:1 – 3). David excluded Adonijah in favour of Solomon (1Kings 1:28 –53). Abraham also excluded Ishmael.
(4.) It can be Inherited
There is a sacred importance to the rank of “first-born” and “first-begotten” as applied to the Messiah (Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:18; Heb. 1:4-6). As first-born he has an inheritance superior to his brethren, and is the true priest.
As children of light we belong to the church of the firstborn (Hebrews 12:23) and we are conformed to the image of his son (Romans 8:28-29). Therefore we must not sell our birthright. We have to guard it jealously. You cannot play with the animal in you without becoming wholly animal. He who wants to keep his garden tidy does not reserve a plot for weeds.
What Can Make you sell your birthright
- Love of the World — 1John 2:15 – 17
Esau — Hebrews 12:16
Gehazi — 2 Kings 5:20 –27
Amnon – 2 Samuel 13:1 – 5
Whosoever is born of God will not sin for his seed remain in him and cannot sin because he is born of God – 1 John 3:9, Proverbs 13:34, 1 John 5:3-4, James 1:2
- Frustration — James 1:2 – 4
2 Corinthians 4:7 – 10, Hebrews 12:2
- Instability – Genesis 49:3 –4
James 1:8, 1Chronicles 5:1, 1 Corinthians 15:58, Isaiah 50:7, Revelations 3:11
- Ignorance—Hosea 4:6, Hebrews 12:16-18