A reading for Wednesday, September 23, 2015: Genesis 25:29-34.

In the ancient world, birthright was a big deal. The firstborn son, whether or not that son was born of a wife or a concubine, had special privilege.

First, they inherited a double portion of the family wealth upon the death of the patriarch. Whatever was to be given to the other sons, the birthright entitled the firstborn to twice as much wealth.

Second, the birthright became head of the family. Decisions about where the family would live, what they would do, and how they would transact their business would become the domain of the firstborn. It was an important responsibility with authority.

Lastly, and perhaps most important, the birthright offered the firstborn a unique relationships with God. The firstborn would be given a special blessing from the father, and that blessing placed him in close covenant with God. The birthright, it was believed, was the most favored by God.

So even with all this at stake, Esau gives it away for a quick meal when he is hungry? Jacob the liar and the cheat knows that it's possible for the firstborn to voluntarily give up such an important blessing, and takes advantage of the weakness of his brother.

The question is which is worse? Giving up our special relationship with God, our responsibility and our authority... or tricking someone else to do it for our own personal gain? Neither it seems is very worthy of the birthright.

"Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God’s blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears."
-Hebrews 12:16 The Message 


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