Never Forget This Lesson from the Jacob and Esau Story

Never Forget This Lesson from the Jacob and Esau Story

There is a key insight from the Jacob and Esau story that we cannot afford to forget - not for one second!

Tags: Esau, inheritance, birthright, temptation, story of jacob and esau

Sometimes, it is easy to gloss over Bible stories.

After all, many of us have heard them since we were kids.

We remember the colorful cartoons that bring these stories to life in our kids Bibles.

In their simplicity and familiarity, these stories can leave us missing the profound lessons they hold for us.

There is a key lesson from the Jacob and Esau story we cannot afford to forget...

Let me explain.

An Obviously Foolish Choice

Near the end of Genesis 25, we find Esau returning home from a long day of hunting for food.

The Bible reports "he was faint" after his long day in the hot fields of the Middle East. We've all been there.

We've all had really long days of hard work - physical and/or mental - that leave us feeling exasperated by the time we finally get the chance to take a deep breath. We want something that will make us feel better - QUICKLY!

And Esau is no different. He wants food - something to fill his stomach and give him back some strength he has lost during his day of hard work.

He wants food so badly, he does something you and I as observers find very foolish.

He sells his birthright to his brother, Jacob.

Yep... in his exhaustion, he trades his future inheritance in exchange for a single meal.

Esau even rationalizes his decision to Jacob saying that he feels like he is going to die anyway and thus, wouldn't need a birthright more than food.

Thus, in exchange for a single, temporary moment of relief from discomfort, Esau passes on a future worth millions.

His choice seems quite foolish to any external observer. We shake our heads and wonder how anyone could make such a short-sighted decision!

How We Do The Same Thing

Here's the scary part...

Our modern age is full of similar stories.

Watch the news and you will hear lots of stories about men and women who trade off years and years of good work for a fleeting moment of pleasure.

Government leaders give in to bribery after years of resisting.

Corporate leaders choose their own financial gain at the expense of others simply because they are finally in a position to do so.

Husbands and wives choose to divorce after years of sharing love and building a family.

Church leaders get embroiled in adultery after years of building a church community.

In all of these cases, short moments of choosing immediate pleasure over disciplined restraint destroy years and years of good spiritual work that can never be recaptured.

In essence, people's future inheritance is exchanged for a fleeting moment of desire... just like Esau.


We have reviewed the story of Esau selling his birthright to his brother Jacob in exchange for a single tempting meal - an obviously foolish choice!

But we also reminded ourselves of our tendencies to follow the same path. We can find frequent examples of men and women exchanging years of hard and good work in personal and professional environments for single moments of pleasure.

We can be empowered to avoid such foolishness in our own lives in remembering Esau's story.

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