Several years ago I heard of a man who had stumbled across a very rare (and thus valuable) stamp. It was a misprint from the Post Office, and because of this it was estimated in the article to be worth over $9 million. The Post Office requested to buy it back, but their regulations forbade them from offering him anything more than the price of the stamp (I think around 22 cents), plus perhaps some Post Office paraphernalia such as a an office mug. In the wonderful understatement of the year, the article quoted the man: “Let’s just say I declined their offer.”
We might smirk at the Post Office offering a man mere pennies (plus that exciting coffee mug!) for a stamp worth millions, but there's a transaction that goes on every day that makes their offer seem like the deal of a lifetime. To illustrate, let’s look at today’s passage. Esau, who was born first, had the “double portion” of any inheritance and would have been the natural choice for the heir to God’s promises. The covenant (with all its attendant blessings) should've been passed down to him.
Jacob, for all his faults, valued these promises more than his brother did, and bought them for a bowl of stew. I sincerely hope that this stew was the best Esau ever tasted, because it cost him dearly. The sad thing is that he didn’t even regret his bad decision: After eating and drinking, he “got up and left.” You show how much you value something by how much it would take for you to sell it, and this obviously showed that Esau “despised his birthright.”
But what does this have to do with us? Well, the book of Hebrews warns us not to be “godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.” By despising our “birthrights” as believers, we're following Esau’s bad example. What rights do we have as Christians that we might despise? A close relationship with the Father, the right to come into his throne room in prayer, the right to be his representatives in a fallen world, the right to be part of the Body of Christ, just to name a few. If we don’t take advantage of these rights as God’s children, if we let Satan “buy” them from us, then aren’t we walking right behind Esau?
Father God, I have so many privileges as your child, and every day I squander them. Help me to see these privileges as not to be sold for any price.