Not only do we possess a natural inheritance, but we are adopted into the family of God and possess a supernatural birthright.
In the natural, I am the oldest of two girls. We were raised between Kansas and Oklahoma as our parents are divorced. On many weekends, we would visit our grandparents on the ranch in Oklahoma. As we grew up and began to help in various areas, we were told that this ranch was our inheritance.
Usually, when deciding an inheritance, the birthright will come into play. The oldest will generally receive more than the younger, or something that has been passed down the generations.
We have a different understanding of birthright compared to biblical times. The firstborn of any family would be considered the “head of household”and would generally receive a blessing as the father was passing that would establish him as so over his sibling. It could, however, be passed onto the next sibling in line.
One was a deceiver, one a despiser. One was a heel-grabber, the other a heel-giver; and their story illustrates the present reality of the war that wages within us. Genesis 25:19 begins a story of two brothers who were born at odds with each other. Isaac prayed for his wife to have a baby, and she ends up pregnant with twins. Jacob was born in a unique way, grabbing his brother’s heel. In fact, the name Jacob means “heel-grabber.”
“After this, his brother came out grasping Esau’s heel with his hand. So he was named Jacob” (Genesis 25:26, HCSB).
Jacob being born this way allows me to imagine the pregnancy a little better. The jostling mentioned in Genesis 25:22 always stood out to me. Undoubtedly, it is the result of the two boys fighting for the higher position.
Although I’ve never had a child, I identified with Rebekah in that moment. There are times when I feel the jostling in my life.
Who is going to reign–will it be God or will it be Satan?
Sometimes I feel so jostled that I forget that I read Revelation and know who wins. In my uncomfortableness, I make the wrong decision, praying for a quick end to the ride.
Esau was a man of the wild. As a man of the wild, he would hunt various game and bring them back to his father, Isaac. This particular day was no different, however, he came back empty handed, and more than that, he came home famished–and exhausted.
I’m sure it was a nice surprise when we walked through the doors of his home to find Jacob cooking supper.
“Once when Jacob was cooking a stew, Esau came in from the field, exhausted. He said to Jacob, ‘Let me have some of that red stuff, because I’m exhausted” (Genesis 25:29).
Jacob, however, had stipulations.
“First, sell me your birthright.” Jacob told his brother” (Genesis 25:31).
Funny how there may be stipulations with something you really want. My mom would say to me, “If you want to go to the basketball game with your friends, you have to eat all of your food.” It never failed, she would make chili on those days.( bleh).
My argument was much like Esau’s, “But mom, If I don’t go, my friends won’t like me. It’ll be over this stupid chili. I hate chili.” Except, instead of friends and chili, it was a birthright for Esau.
“‘Look, I am about to die,’ Esau said. ‘What good is the birthright to me?” (Genesis 25:32).
In other words: “But Jacob! I’m so hungry I could die! Then what will become of the birthright you want so badly? It’s not going to feed me.” For Esau, it was feast or famine; a matter of life or death. He wanted the feast right away.
“Jacob said, ‘Swear to me first.” So he swore to Jacob and sold his birthright to him” (Genesis 25:33).
“So Esau despised his birthright” (Genesis 25:34).
The word “despised” as defined by Merriam-Webster’s means “to regard as negligible, worthless, or distasteful.” In other words, Esau undervalued his birthright. It’s easy to undervalue our birthright when we are famished.
We’ve worked so hard for so long that any stew will do. We’re tired of waiting patiently, and we reach the desire for immediate satisfaction. Not only did Esau sell his birthright, he sold the blessing he would have received as the eldest.
“Esau said, ‘Isn’t he rightly named Jacob? He has deceived me these two times: He took my birthright, and now he has taken my blessing” (Genesis 27:36).
The moment that Esau chose what appealed to the flesh over what pertained to the spirit, he sold his birthright. Esau, missed out on the best of the best.
In the present war that wages, there is a foot-grabbing deceiver that keys in on our hunger and exhaustion and convinces us to sell our birthright for the immediate gratification of being temporarily fed.
There are times when Satan roars like a lion and we can immediately stand firm and resist him. Other times, most often when we are hungry and tired, he sings us a lullaby and we can’t tell who is singing to us.
John 10:10 tells us that the enemy has come only to steal, and kill and destroy. Satan’s only intention for you is ruin. He knows the power of the blessing that is in your birthright in Christ.
He wants to do everything in his power to stop you from seeing what you have as a Child of God. The enemy loves to take the truth and add a subtle twist. He has been doing it from the very beginning. The subtle twist is where many fall by the wayside. Let’s take a look at Genesis 3.
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?”(Genesis 3:1).
In Genesis 2:16-17, God commanded Adam that he could eat from any tree in the garden, except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If he ate of it, he would experience spiritual death. Shortly after this command, God formed Eve out of Adam’s rib.
When the cunning serpent questioned Eve, he did three things:
- He called into question the truth of God’s Word with ‘Did God really say?”
- He added the subtle twist with “You must not eat from ANY tree in the garden.”
- In this twist, the serpent took Eve’s focus off of the thousands of other trees and brought her attention to the fact that there was one tree they could not eat from. He called God’s goodness into question and limited Eve’s view.
As a result, Eve listened to the serpent and took a bite. She then invited her husband to eat from the same tree.
“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves” (Genesis 3:7).
The moment they took of the fruit and ate, the fall of man began. Man lost their communion with God. God, in His love and desire for us, had in motion, a plan that would restore that relationship.
Tomorrow we will look further into learning the benefits of having a “birthright” in the Kingdom of God.