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.
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 25:29-34)
I have read this story numerous times and each time I visit this passage I am a little puzzled thinking that Esau gave up everything for food. How could this be? How good could that stew really taste?
But we all have an appetite for something and it is that appetite that drives our decisions.
Those of us that have suffered with addictions and strong desires know this. We believe, like Esau, that we will not survive unless we partake in the meal and all other things are irrelevant. We may not have given up our rights as firstborn, but we have allowed our hunger to cause us to trade our marriage, a relationship, or the peace of our soul for the “stew”.
The stew that comes in the form of pornography, pills, or alcohol. Even anger, bitterness, and jealousy are the very ingredients to what we believe we are hungry for yet they leave us empty and without what we trade for.
Esau may have been a better hunter but on this day he was the one hunted and he lost his focus due to his appetite. He experienced a hunger that ultimately controlled his decisions and he crossed paths with a deceiver that cooked up just what he believed he desired.
I pray today that when we feel hungry for the things of this world that try to control our decisions and steer us away from holiness, that we seek God first and allow Him to nourish our soul and give us the power to tell Jacob no.