LENTIL STEW - Week of September 18th

By Judy Nichols

September 18, 2016


    In Genesis 25 we read the story of how Esau sold his birthright to his brother Jacob for a bowl of lentil stew. Esau was an outdoors-man and hunter while Jacob was a homebody. Esau comes in from the field hungry; Jacob has just made a pot of stew. Esau asks for some, saying he’s famished. Jacob says, "First, sell me your birthright."  Esau, in a fit of exaggeration, says, "What good is my birthright if I’m going to die of hunger?" So he sells it to him in exchange for bread and lentil stew.

    Esau clearly had no appreciation that his birthright position in God’s chosen family linked him to God’s plan of redemption. And while Jacob did, his exploitation of his brother made him equally culpable.

    The Scriptures tell us that we are in Christ (Rom. 8:16-17). He is the firstborn, both as God’s only begotten Son and as the first raised from the dead (Col. 1:18). If we are in Christ, then we also participate in His birthright. Jesus fulfilled all the Old Testament offices of Prophet, Priest, and King. Likewise, Peter tells us the church, "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9)."

    My goal here is not to condemn these two Old Testament figures but to pose the question: "What is your lentil stew?" For what do you forfeit your inheritance as one who is in Christ and a participant in God’s plan of redemption? What things in this life tempt you to forfeit your role as priest in your circle of influence? Are you too busy to pray for your family, friends, co-workers, government officials, and, yes, enemies? Too timid to step out in ministry to those in need?

    What things muffle your proclamation of those excellencies of Him who called you? So-called "peace" with the surrounding culture, i.e. compromised moral standards? Self-centeredness? Bodily needs and cravings? Desire for temporal blessings and security? Tarnished personal holiness?

    None of us is perfect; we all fail in so many ways. But the call of Scripture is that, to the best of our ability, we live our lives in such a way as to be worthy of the gospel (Phil. 1:27). It is the treasure we carry in these earthen vessels (2 Cor. 4:7). We are to mediate the presence of God with every thought, word, and deed, at all times and in all places. Our audience is not only the people around us, but also the heavenly hosts and God Himself. As Paul said to the Thessalonians, "But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts" (1 Thess. 2:4).

    No eye has seen nor ear heard all that God has prepared for us by way of inheritance in Christ. Let us not be people who squander our birthright but who recognize and use every opportunity to make God’s presence known.

© Judy Nichols 2016

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