August 20, 2006

In the Balance

Genesis 25:19-34

"Look, I am about to die," Esau said. "What good is the birthright to me?" Genesis 25:32


Sometimes we don't know what we have until it is gone.

Esau and Jacob separated although they were brothers. They fought with one another constantly although they were twins. They weren't much like one another at all. Esau grew up to be a skilled hunter. Jacob stayed around the family's tents.

One day Esau came back from a day of hunting, empty-handed and famished. He saw Jacob cooking some stew and demanded that he have some right away. Was there nothing else to eat? We aren't told, but we do know that Esau wanted only the stew.

In a moment of hunger and desire, Esau hangs the stew and his birthright in the balance and finds the birthright wanting. After all, you can't eat a birthright. We're not sure what rights of inheritance or prospects of the future he was giving up, but we do know that in a moment the stew would be eaten and the birthright would be gone. Sometimes we don't know what we have until it's gone.

Placing himself in the balance this way, Esau himself is found wanting. And Jacob takes advantage.

Do we ever live for the moment and have eyes only for what is attracting us? Do we ever take advantage of others? What scale do we use to make decisions?

God of wisdom, forgive us for our shortsightedness. Grant us wisdom every day in all the decisions that will shape our future with you. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Julius T. Medenblik

Rev. Jul Medenblik is a former attorney who was called to pastoral ministry and became the founding pastor of a church in New Lenox, Illinois. He is currently serving as president of Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Jul and his wife, Jackie, are blessed with a son, Joshua, and a daughter, Julianne.

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