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Don't Despise God's Blessing

Hebrews 12:16-17
See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterwards, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done. (NIVUK)

It may seem strange for the writer to link sexual immorality with Esau's greedy heart attitude, caring about nothing except that his immediate hunger was satisfied. The link is covetousness: an impulsive, greedy passion for satisfaction with no thought about the consequences to others. They are also linked in 1 Corinthians 5:10-11, Ephesians 4:19 and Ephesians 5:3-5 – placing apparently 'notable sin' alongside what many call 'human nature'.

The narrative summary of Esau's attitude is found in Genesis 25:19-34. This hot-headed young man was full of his own strength and ability to hunt in open country. His horizon was the satisfaction of his immediate needs. Genesis 25:34 tells us that he despised the privilege of carrying on the family name and faith to a new generation. Later, having carelessly given away his birthright to his brother, Jacob, he also failed to gain God's blessing from his father, Isaac (Genesis 27:1-40). God knew Esau's heart and allowed His blessing to go to Jacob.

Esau's problem has the same root as every other greedy sin: he did not trust God to give what was right and he did not really bother what was right. Instead he set his own short-term satisfaction as the agenda for his life. He had no thought for the future or any desire to see God or inherit His heaven. It was not just a personality matter: it was a character defect which was cultivated through years of self-serving. Like Cain, he despised God and whatever He wanted to give.

These thoughts should turn into uncomfortable warnings for us today. We may express our greed in a cultural way which is acceptable to those around us. Or we try to hide from God in the company of those who think like we do. Or we may brazenly set out to get what we want through ambitious hard work, covet possessions or people, be obsessed with money in miserliness or gambling. The list could go on a long time. But the point is that if we claim to follow Jesus we must trust Him and not ourselves. We should be looking forward to meeting Him and therefore calibrating our desires and actions according to what He will say on that Day. We need to trust that He, and not us, has the power to provide all we need. And as we travel towards Him, trust and obedience should characterise each day. Anything less is to risk everything. So repent of losing your love of Jesus, get back to His Word and His work and seek His blessing once again.

Father God. Thank You for giving all I need and for sustaining me as I trust You. Forgive me for cultivating my own selfish lifestyle, in a corner of my life, which excludes Your Sovereignty. Please help me to be sobered by these verses and may I repent so that I may love and obey You better in the coming days, months and years. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams