I love the book of Genesis, it is alive with stories of intrigue, passion, deception, love, loyalty and loads more. As the name "Genesis" implies it is the "gene" or seedbed of the Bible. Most of our human virtues and vices are found here. One of these is the million dollar stew story.
Jacob and Esau had never had the best of relationships. I suppose when you are firstborn (by minutes), as Esau was, and your twin brother pops out second, but hanging on your foot - you know things are not destined to be harmonious.
After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esaus heel; so he was named Jacob. (Gen 25:24)
"Hey Jake, wow that smells awesome. How about giving your bro some of that?"
However Jacob is not only a home body, he is a schemer of note. For a long time he has been figuring how to get his hands on more of dad's loot when the old fella pops off. After all he was only born a few seconds later than Esau, that should hardly entitle him to less. You see, in the Middle East back in the day, the firstborn got a double portion. So when it came time to split the inheritance, the firstborn would get a double portion. Now this was obviously something that Jacob the schemer was not keen on. So he replies, "First sell me your birthright" (Gen 25:31).
What a reply. Here is poor old Esau, starving - he hasn't eaten for days, all he is asking for is a bowlful of stew and Jacob wants to bargain. Now realise this - this is not a small thing he's asking. He's asking for Esau's birthright. He's asking to receive the double inheritance. The Isaacs must have been pretty loaded too. Dad (Isaac) inherited loads of loot from dad Abraham. We know Abraham had lots of money (Gen 13:1) and Isaac would have added to this. So we are talking, in modern day terms, a family that are millionaires, if not more. So Jacob is asking Esau to give up a million dollars or more, for this bowl of stew.
Would you do that? Seems crazy. One bowl of stew for a million dollars? Forget it....but Esau replies,
Look, I am about to die. What good is the birthright to me? You can have it. (Gen 25:32)
Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. (Gen 25:34)
And then we read the final statement, from God, on this story;
So Esau despised his birthright. (Gen 25:30)
BUT...forget Esau, he's dead and dusted...this is not about him, this is about you and I?
Would you do this?
Actually, have you already done this? Sold your inheritance for a bowl of stew?
"Hey, of course I have not done this! This is crazy talk. I am not a crazy outdoor, lost-touch-with-reality Esau."
But hold your horses there for a moment - before we dismiss Esau as a crazy, there may be a lot more of Esau in us than we realise.
God is offering us an amazing inheritance. He is not only offering us eternal life now - the gift of experiencing his eternity, his love, joy, peace, patience, kindness...etc...now, he is also offering us this entire planet, its beauty, the universe and beyond as an inheritance forever. Yeah - that is a lot more than a million dollars, but that is what our Father has for our inheritance. In fact Paul is so desperate for us to get this that he begs God to open our eyes to see it;
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people. (Eph 1:17-18)
"If only I can have that new car, that new dress, that new watch, that better job, that recognition, that...in fact, I'll give up my time, my energy, my life if you will give me that bowl of stuff."
The Fame poster above, from the movie, has the caption "I want to live forever". Wow, what an irony. The poster for fame, for money, for possessions comes with the tag line "forever". And we believe it! We grab for it. We give up everything for it, only to find when we have it, that it was just a simple bowl of lentil stew. It was nice when we had it, but the next day we realised it was gone. It was anything but forever!
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. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done. (Heb 12:16)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you. (1Pet 1:3-4)