Having read of the purpose of God concerning Esau and Jacob, we will now follow their history.
Children of the same parents may differ greatly in disposition, in conduct, and in character. The sovereign grace of God creates grave distinctions when it begins to operate, and every year makes the differences more apparent. Esau was wild and Jacob gentle. The one was roving, unsteady, and proud, and the other domesticated, thoughtful, and sedate.
This was bad on the part of both parents. Favouritism ought to be avoided, for nothing but discontent and ill feeling can come of it. Yet if Rebekah loved Jacob because of his quiet, pious disposition, she had good reason for it, which is more than can be said of Isaacs love of the rough huntsman Esau, only because “he did eat of his venison.”
This was uubrotherly and ungenerous of Jacob; the only good point about it is that he set a high value upon the birthright, and so showed his spiritual understanding. It is plain from this that Jacob’s salvation was due to the mercy of God, for his natural character was by no means commendable. The good points in him were of the Lord, the bargaining propensity was inherited from his mother’s family.
He valued it so little that a sorry mess of lentiles could buy it of him. Surely it was the dearest dish of meat man ever bought, though we remember a little fruit which cost us more. Many a worldling barters his soul for the pleasures of an hour, crying, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” In order to be rich, to indulge in pleasure, or to have their own way, men have thrown aside all hope of heaven. This is to exchange pearls for pebbles, realities for shams, lasting bliss for fleeting mirth. May those who are just growing up into life take warning from this sad act of Esau, and choose earnestly the good part which shall not be taken from them. The apostle turns Esau’s story to good account in
We are to watch lest any of us who profess to be children of God should fall short of grace, like an arrow which does not quite reach the target. To fail to possess grace in the heart is a fatal thing.
Sin is a bitter root, and brings forth sorrow and shame.
It is a profane thing to compare the priceless blessing of God to a merely sensual enjoyment. It is an acted blasphemy.
The deed was done, the blessing had been given to Jacob, and Isaac could not withdraw it from him. If men sell their hope of heaven for the joys of earth they will in the world to come repent of their bargain, but there will be no repentance with God. He that is filthy must be filthy still.
Should I to gain the world’s applause,
Or to escape its harmless frown,
Refuse to countenance thy cause,
And make thy people’s lot my own;
I sell my birthright in that day,
And throw my precious soul away.
No! let the world cast out my name,
And vile account me if they will;
If to confess the Lord be shame,
I purpose to be viler still.
For thee, my God, I all resign,
Content if I can call thee mine.