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 first born.
Genesis 25:29 - 34
Short-sighted much? Esau was so short sighted, so into the moment, that he gave up his rights as the firstborn, essentially giving Jacob the entire inheritance of Isaac for some lentil stew. He could have at least waited for a steak! But, how often do I do the same? "A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips." What have I been turning down because I would rather eat something tasty? With each decision I make that choice and, as such, I should take time to weigh the options rather than mindlessly going with what feels right in the moment. Take today as an example. I made the choice to not work out today. My husband invited me to lunch and, as we hadn't been to lunch together in sometime, the decision to spend time with my husband made much more sense. I made a healthy lunch choice and am happy. And I know it was the right decision overall.
This story of Esau has come up in both books I'm reading. So I decided to look into it a little more. [and I really want to dig into it further, but for now, an overview will do]. Esau was a man of the world; he spent most of his time hunting and very little time in his father's tents. To Esau, the real value was out in the wilderness, not sitting in camps. Isaac loved Esau best. Perhaps Isaac loved that Esau was everything he wasn't. And perhaps that bugged Jacob a bit, especially if he was listening to Rebecca who was doing everything in her power to put Jacob in control of the household. I'm sure she thought Jacob would be the son who would watch over her after Isaac passed while Esau would still be out in the wilderness, hunting. I wonder if she knew where her scheming was leading?
As a man of the world, Esau probably did not care much for the covenant that would come from the blessing. As a man of the wilderness, Esau probably did not see the entire value of what he was giving up by handing over his birthright for some lentil stew (seriously, this big burly man didn't even demand a steak??) He didn't even bother to look for another place for food. Isaac was not a poor man, surely there was somewhere else Esau could go to get food that wouldn't cost him so much. And Jacob was there to take advantage of the situation. [Though, if you look further down the story, Esau did get his inheritance as Jacob was no longer in his father's camp when Isaac passed.]
Esau's shortsightedness reminded me of another story where God's people were ready to give up on him because of a lack of food. Exodus 16 tells of when the Israelites were not just wishing they were back in Egypt, but wishing they had DIED in Egypt where they had meat and bread to eat [and were slaves]. They had not been away from Egypt for a week and they were ready to return FOR FOOD. I kind of get it. Think about the wonderful foods they must have had access to in Egypt. The Bible doesn't say what they ate, and one would think that as slaves they probably didn't have the best food, but whatever they did have must have sounded good after their supplies had run out. And I can assume there was some eye-rolling from Moses, who most surely had MUCH better food in the palace that he gave up when he embraced his roots.
I have never truly been hungry. I have claimed to be starving on occasion, but the fact that I am in a weight loss challenge makes it pretty clear that I've never wanted for much! I've been in positions where I've had to scrounge up a couple of dollars to buy milk, spaghetti and sauce so I could eat for the rest of the week. I've taken home leftovers offered to me by friends. And honestly, for both Esau and the Isrealites, I believe they were "starving" much like I was. A shortsighted starving.
So, the morale of the story? Be mindful about food. Think about what you are about to put into your mouth and decide "is it worth it in the long run?" Because if you decide it is worth it, you do not have to feel "guilty" about enjoying lentil stew or a Venti Raspberry Mocha with Whip.