January 8

Genesis 25-28, Psalm 8

Many might have seen the popular Christian movie, released in 2014, called God's Not Dead. One of the characters played by Dean Cain was a rich, successful man. He cared for no one but himself. His girlfriend was diagnosed with cancer and he responded by telling her that she wasn't fun anymore and he dumped her. His mother was suffering from Alzheimers Disease and he showed her no compassion or kindness. He was a self-made man who lived and thought of himself only. This is the picture of Esau. The times are different but the qualities are the same. This prideful self-confident, self-indulgent type is exalted in society today. Whether in the top athletes, or the richest people in the world; this is unfortunately what many boys and young men look up to and esteem. There is a rather strong statement in Malachi 1:2-3 which the Lord says which drives His view on this home, He says, "...Yet Jacob I have loved; But Esau I have hated."

The Bible first describes Esau in Genesis 25:27, "So the boys grew. And Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field; but Jacob was a mild man, dwelling in tents." These two boys represented the two natures that war within all of us: Jacob represents the spirit; Esau represents the flesh. In Genesis 25:31-34, we see how Esau sells his birthright for a bowl of soup because he is hungry. A birthright may not mean much to us now, but the birthright of the firstborn would receive a double inheritance and would assume both the spiritual and financial leadership of the family. Esau forfeited these rights to satisfy the appetites of the flesh. We see Esau's choice for wives and his parents response in Genesis 26:34-35, "When Esau was forty years old, he took as wives Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite. And they were a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah." Later in the story, still not consulting God or at least his parents we see him in action again in Genesis 28:8-9, "Also Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan did not please his father Isaac. So Esau went to Ishmael and took Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham's son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife in addition to the wives he had." Though Esau wanted his father's acceptance, there's a world of difference between outward compliance to gain favor, and an inward desire to do what is right.

The reason why this character is so bad as to be hated by God, is it is both blind and deaf to the things of God. God will not overwhelm one's free will, and those with a character of Esau is so filled with self-will there is no place for God. Jesus explains this in the Beatitudes. We read in the first four in Matthew 5:3-6, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled." When one is "poor in spirit" they recognize their own poverty, in light of who the Lord is. This is the opposite of pride. This causes us to mourn over our sins when we now see them in the proper light. Realizing this makes us want to be meek, harnessing our own strengths and relying on His strength instead. The only way you can hunger and thirst for righteousness is when you are not satisfied with your own self-righteousness. We all have a choice of the pattern we choose to follow. The world exemplified by the media will steer us all into the spirit of Esau. God's Word, exemplified with Jesus' words in the Sermon on the Mount steer us into the spirit of Jacob. Though Jacob was initially a deceiver, God knew the spirit that was within him.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster