Genesis 25:29-32 – Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. He said to Jacob, "Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I'm famished!" (That is why he was also called Edom.) Jacob replied, "First sell me your birthright." "Look, I am about to die," Esau said. "What good is the birthright to me?" (NIV)
Amos 8:11 – "The days are coming," declares the Sovereign Lord, "when I will send a famine through the land — not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord." (NIV)
Have you ever wondered what Jacob's stew tasted like? Most Bible scholars believe that it was made with lentils. Considering the nutritious quality of such a meal, I thought that it would be interesting to try to recreate this historical dish. Hence, I decided to make some lentil soup, a popular food in the Middle East even today. Unfortunately, although it was a healthy meal, my family was not impressed. The taste could be described as bitter and dry.
I imagine Jacob's stew turned out much better than mine. However, the Scripture says that Esau was "famished", indicating that he might have eaten just about anything that day. Consequently, he sold his birthright to Jacob. In those days, this inheritance involved a special position of honour bestowed upon the firstborn son, who would also obtain a double portion of the family's wealth. Yet, without hesitation, Esau exchanged his sacred birthright for a common, every-day bowl of stew.
By way of comparison, the prophet Amos warned Israel of a different situation, one not lacking in physical food, but in the words of the living God. Unfortunately, this same famine still exists today in the lives of many people. Though the reasons may vary, the effect is the same: worldly standards influenced by secular humanism and false teaching equal a spiritual famine that undermines a close relationship with God through His beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Thus, the result is a feeling of emptiness and despair.
As Christians, we are redeemed by the precious blood of the Lamb, through Whom we have been adopted into the family of God. In light of this covenant friendship, we may view the Scriptures as a record of God's will and testament to us. Therefore, it is the most valuable inheritance we can ever obtain, a birthright that we cannot afford to trade for the vain philosophies of this world. In the end, nothing can be compared to the riches we have inherited through Christ Jesus, our Lord.
Prayer: Lord, You are the Word made flesh — the bread of life Who alone can provide nourishment for our hungry souls. Pour out Your life-giving Spirit and quench our thirst with springs of living water, overflowing from the fountain of Your salvation. May it be done, according to Your will. In Jesus' precious name, we pray. Amen.
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