image courtesy of ecoki.com
[This is a series on famous exchanges in the Bible. The first post (and by far the best one so far) in this series can be found here: adam and eve’s exchange.]
Esau comes home from a long day out in the bush (that’s what we call it here in Africa), and he’s starving. Jacob’s been cooking some soup, and Esau asks for a bowl of it. Jacob’s response: “Swear you’ll give me your birthright.” Esau does, and then he enjoys some soup.
what I don’t like about this story:
- The kid brother duped his older sibling. I think we all know this isn’t how it’s supposed to work. One of the God-given privileges of being the oldest brother is the ability and the right to use deceit, cunning, and pretense in order to take advantage of younger siblings. Jacob should’ve been doing his brother’s chores for a week in exchange for a “super valuable stick I found in the woods.” Esau should’ve been tricking his kid brother into eating dog poop. It wasn’t supposed to go down this way. The Law of Siblings states as much very clearly. And none of us can argue with The Law.
- It was a bowl of LENTIL soup. There wasn’t even meat in the bowl. What were you thinking, man? I mean, a bowl of bacon stew… with cheese in it… maybe. Maybe. But lentils!? Lentils are like beans, only smaller and cheaper. We use them for cow fodder, Esau. Lentil soup is NOT worth a birthright or an inheritance.
- Shouldn’t Jacob have been doing something manly? I’m convinced if he didn’t go hunting with Esau, he should have had a manly reason to stay home. Fixing the tractor, mending a barbed-wire fence, cleaning out the stables, or manicuring his rugged beard, maybe. But he was making soup. Lentil soup. Sissy.
k-mart. 400 oak Street. k-mart.
When Esau came in from the fields on that fateful day, he had no understanding of the value of his birthright. I’m reminded of the movie, Rain Man,* in which Dustin Hoffman won an oscar for playing Raymond, an institutionalized autistic savant. Raymond memorized phone books and addresses and could count cards in Vegas like a — well, it’s probably said of others that they count cards like “Rain Man.” But despite Raymond’s extraordinary intellect, he didn’t understand money or anything about how it worked.
Charlie: That’s amazing. He should work for NASA or something like that
Doctor: Ray, if you had a dollar and you spent fifty cents, how much would you have left over?
Raymond: About seventy.
Doctor: Seventy cents?
Raymond: Seventy cents.
Charlie: So much for the NASA idea.
Doctor: Ray, do you know how much a candy bar costs?
Raymond: ‘Bout a hundred dollars.
Doctor: Do you know how much one of those new compact cars costs?
Raymond: ‘Bout a hundred dollars.
properly placed value and worship
When Esau came in from the fields on that fateful day, he had no understanding of the value of his birthright. And the ability to determine and properly place value is critical in life. Without a correct understanding of what is truly important, it’s difficult to have any “quality of life.”
- I might trade my compact car for a candy bar.
- I might exchange my diploma for some gas money.
- I might sell my younger brother for a donkey.
- I might give my praise to someone who doesn’t deserve it.
- I might worship that which is not worthy of worship.
Worship starts with placing value. When we set one thing above all others, we are deeming it valuable. And we must properly place value in order for our lives to function as they were intended. God is the only being worthy of worship, the most valuable entity in all the world.
If we can’t properly determine and place value, our lives are gonna’ be all messed up. And proper placement of value requires that God be praised.
* You’ve got to see this movie if you haven’t. It’s quality. Probably the best acting you’ll see from Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise, both.