Smart Decision

Genesis 25:27-34

27 The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was content to stay at home among the tents. 28 Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.

29 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. 30 He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom.) 31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.” 32 “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?”

33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright.

Short Cut

A man travelled to a new place, and took a path he assumed as short cut but had an unexpected accident. His car had flat tire because of the rough road. So, instead of saving time, it took more time to reach his destination. Such is an illustration in a very smart decision of taking short cuts without much information.

Taking short cuts is not bad all the time. It is actually beneficial if you are familiar with the condition of the path you take, short cut or not. Someone coined  S.M.A.R.T. as Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely.

Solomon, the wisest king ever lived advised in Proverbs 4:7, 7Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

He implores in Proverbs 16:16, 16How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!

When you travel, it certainly saves you from unexpected and undesirable circumstances if get much information. Similarly, life is a journey. We travel in this world and we need much knowledge or education of where we want to be.

Education is very essential to better life. One can have education in an institutionalized system in school or in apprenticeship structures in a place of employment. The point is, “Be educated and master your skill,” no matter where or how. There are greater returns that await you if you master or be exceptional in your craft. Don’t be satisfied with having ordinary skill or talent. Learn much.

It teaches us in James 1:5, 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

You may choose anything you want but it is a smart move to take time and ask God for wisdom. Human wisdom has limitations. Wisdom from God includes everything we need practically and spiritually. God wants us to have wisdom, not only to be more successful in personal dreams but to know His perfect will for us.

In our passage, Jacob was smart to acquire the birthright of Esau. While Esau loved outdoor life, Jacob stayed at home and learned household chores.

1. Stay

27 The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was content to stay at home among the tents. 28 Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.

The twin brothers, Esau and Jacob had different worldviews. Esau had preferred to explore outdoor challenges. He was an expert hunter. His father Isaac enjoyed the taste of wild animals that was why he loved Esau. In contrast, Jacob was peaceful and quiet person. And his mother loved him.

Living most of his life in the wild, Esau must have grown physically strong, agile and alert all the time to survive outdoor life. He had to decide on his own. It could be that he had learned the lifestyle of other hunters. With lesser time spent with his parents, Esau had not learned much from them.

In contrast, Jacob may not be necessarily weak physically but he may not be as strong as his older brother Esau the hunter. Being a quiet and unassuming person, Jacob had the luxury of learning practical and spiritual things from his parents while staying at home. He may have observed his father’s spirituality.

Apostle Paul interpreted the life of Esau and Jacob in Romans 9:10-16, Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand:  not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”  Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.

The life story of Jacob and Esau was recorded for readers to learn that whatever God declares, it will certainly happen. The lives of Esau and Jacob were God’s practical example that He has sovereign choice to be merciful. God is not affected by human desire or effort. He knows what we need even before we ask Him. Someone may ask, “If that’s the case, why do we still pray?

Two Blind Men

We pray not because we have to inform God of what we need. We pray for us to know what we need. It narrated in Matthew 9:27-30, As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they replied. Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you”; and their sight was restored. 

Did the Lord plan to restore the sight of the two blind men even before they asked Him? If so, why did Christ wait for them to call Him out for mercy? Why did He say that the restoration of their sight will be done according to their faith?

The Lord Jesus said in John 16:13-15, When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.

With faith, we pray with confidence that the Lord God answers our prayers.

By faith, we repented of our sins, believed and accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior. Subsequently, God sent the Spirit of Christ into our heart to help us in our spiritual growth, and such help includes our prayer life.

The Holy Spirit knows everything that God has prepared for us. As we practice faith in Christ, we ask Him to help us, so, His Holy Spirit guides us even in prayers. The Spirit of Christ makes us confident that God answers our prayer.

Apostle Paul encourages us in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19, Rejoice always,  pray continually,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.

The Holy Spirit helps us to rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances. But if we disregard His word, the fire of the Holy Spirit in us will grow cold. So, instead of ignoring the preaching of God’s word, we have to examine them if they are biblical and follow what’s good for us.

Jacob may have acquired much spiritual education from his parents while he stayed home. He was far smarter than his older brother Esau. Jacob knew that Esau had the right of the first born, so he dealt with him smartly. He waited until Esau needed something and he required him to sell his birthright.

2. Sell

29 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. 30 He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom.) 31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.” 32 “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?”

While staying home, Jacob may have learned the art of cooking. He may have perfected a delicious red stew that made the famished Esau much hungrier when he smelled the aroma of that red stew. Esau was also called Edom which may mean ‘red.’ He had reddish complexion and he also loved red stew.

Red stew must be very attractive to the hungry stomach. My father told me his experience how he was deceived by red stew. He was invited to a dinner somewhere in northern Philippines. He observed the people around him enjoying the red stew. After he slurped the red stew, he realized that the reddish color in was hot chili mixed in the stew. Just imagine what happened next.

In the original translation, when Esau told Jacob to quickly give him some of the red stew, it suggests greed of wanting to be satisfied quickly. He can’t wait for Jacob to serve the meal. Esau wanted to be the first to eat. He did not even consider his parent who maybe waiting for the food to be served.

Did God use that situation to accomplish His declaration about the future of Jacob and Esau? God told Rebekah that the older will serve the younger. At that situation, Esau wanted Jacob to serve him with red stew. But Jacob did not pity his hungry brother. He capitalized on Esau’s hunger to buy his birthright.

When one is hungry, it is not easy to think. The hungry Esau did not realize the value of his birthright. His mind dictated that he was about to die with hunger. What is birthright of the first born among Hebrews?

Birth Right

When ‘birthright’ is mentioned, it pertains to the special privileges and advantages belonging to the first-born son among the Jewish people. The first-born son had allotted to him also a double portion of the paternal inheritance.

The Jewish people attached a sacred importance to the rank of “first-born” and “first-begotten” as applied to the Messiah.

It says in Romans 8:29, For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 

In Colossians 1:15 and 18, 15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation… 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

The birthright of the first born denotes supremacy over other siblings but has no value with Esau. When Esau sold his birthright, it reveals his priorities and concerns. He was more concerned of momentary hunger rather than the long term benefits of birthright. Such mentality has infected many people that they would rather enjoy their life the moment and not minding about future events.

Someone suggested that as quiet person, Jacob planned his future.

It is not uncommon for younger siblings to be intimidated by older ones. Being the first born and favorite of his father, Esau may have intimidated Jacob. So, when Esau answered that birthright cannot satisfy his hunger, he exchanged his birthright with red stew after Jacob asked him to swear.

3. Swear

33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright.

In biblical sense, swearing includes curses on the person who swears. Thus, if what has been agreed upon would not materialize, curses punish the one who swears. This is the reason why Christians are discouraged to swear.

It says in James 5:12, Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned.

Sad to say, that some people would swear to put emphasis to their claim. We cannot dictate what people believe. Even if one swears, there is no guarantee that others would believe what has been said. So instead of swearing, just put it in writing and put your signature. It is more practical and binding, instead of suffering condemnation if something happened unexpectedly.

The Lord Jesus teaches in Matthew 5:34-37, But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

Membership Recommitment

On the 2nd Sunday of August (12), we will have ‘Recommitment of Membership.’ This is to remind all members of the responsibility of church members. This church activity is your personal commitment to the Lord. Nobody would pressure you to recommit yourself as member. Therefore, it is a matter between you and the Lord, if you agree or not. May God help us fulfill our duty.

When Jacob asked Esau to swear, it was not mentioned if there were curses added. Surely, Esau did not disregard what they agreed upon.

When Esau agreed and swear to sell his birthright to Jacob, it practically proved that he was not as smart as Jacob. After eating and drinking, Esau just left, as if nothing significant happened. He despised his birthright. He had no regard about it. Meaning, he did not realize the value of his birthright. Not smart.

Birthright among Jewish people has its effect to the next generation. It teaches us in 1 Chronicles 5:1-2, Reuben the firstborn of Israel, but when he defiled his father’s marriage bed, his rights as firstborn were given to the sons of Joseph son of Israel; so he could not be listed in the genealogical record in accordance with his birthright and though Judah was the strongest of his brothers and a ruler came from him, the rights of the firstborn belonged to Joseph.

And when the Israelites occupied the Promised Land, two portions were given to the sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, while the rest of Joseph’s brothers were given one portion each, except for Levi who served as priests.

Jacob was smart to take advantage of the foolishness of Esau. Esau wanted to satisfy his craving and lost hid double portion inheritance. God allowed such turn of events so that His declaration about Jacob would materialize. Dramatic situations are also God instruments to accomplish His purposes.

As we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we remember the death and resurrection of Christ. We are mandated to proclaim His death and resurrection until He comes again. Right! Christ promised to return and bring us to heaven.

Jesus promised in John 14:1-3, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

Be smart! Make sure that you have faith in Christ.

Be Smart! Make sure that you will live with Christ in heaven one day.

Making disciples is the most practical proof that we are Christ’s disciples.

Pray that you may be able to mature spiritually making disciples.

In James 1:22-25, Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

<‘)))>< ltsii/2018 ><(((‘>

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