Lost Opportunities
Dr. Joe Temple


Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Genesis, chapter 25. The book of Genesis is built around the lives of four men…Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. There are other men who are mentioned in relation to these outstanding men. Such a man is the one we want to think about now. Esau. We will not be able to comprehend what God did through Jacob and for Jacob unless we understand Esau's position in the Word of God.

We have noticed the phrase which marks the natural divisions of the book as they have been made by the Holy Spirit of God. In verse 19, we read:

Genesis 25:

19And these are the generations of Isaac…

With this we are introduced to a new section concerning the end of Isaac's life. We have thought together about how Isaac prayed with his wife Rebekah and asked God to send them a child, and how God did more than send them a child. He sent them two. This passage of Scripture is an illustration of the election of God based upon His foreknowledge. God determined before ever Esau and Jacob were born that the elder should serve the younger. Esau was born first, you will remember. Jacob was born just a bit later. As the two were being born, Jacob laid hold upon the heel of Esau, and that is how he got his name. Jacob means supplanter . It was as though Jacob could not wait to be born to take the place of Esau.

Herein lies a lesson that we will be amplifying later. God ordained, as we learned, according to His own counsel and purpose, that Jacob should be the leader and Esau should forfeit the birthright. If that is true, if God ordained it, if God said it, then Jacob should have been able to rest on the promise of God. But he was like a lot of us. He was not able to rest on the promise of God even though he knew well that God had ordained that he should have the birthright. He took every means imaginable to obtain it for himself. We might say, and I think this will be evident as we go along, that all of those efforts were useless. They were not needed. They were superfluous. Not only were they superfluous, but they were very definitely damaging to his testimony. One of the efforts that Jacob made is the springboard from which we begin to discuss the life of Esau. We will notice this portion and a bit that is mentioned elsewhere in the Word of God, and then dismiss Esau from our thoughts as we pursue the study of Jacob.

Esau Sells His Birthright

In Genesis, chapter 25, notice verse 29:

Genesis 25:

29And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint:
30And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.
31And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.
32And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?
33And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.
34Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.

Let us get the picture of this passage of Scripture firmly in our minds before we try to understand it. Keep in mind as we glance at verse 29 that Jacob was making a pot of pottage…actually a stew made out of lentils, according to verse 34. Esau was coming in from the field where he had been hunting, and he was faint and weak. He saw Jacob making the pottage and asked for some.

It is interesting to notice the amusing things in the Word of God. We do not mean to be sacrilegious when we say that, but the Bible has in it a number of amusing things. To my mind verse 30 is one of them. It is not as evident in our King James version as it would be in the original, because the translators have put in the word pottage . You will notice that the word pottage is in italics, which means that it is not in the original text. It does not make a great deal of difference. It does not lead you astray. But sometimes these suggested words do hide some of the real meaning. I think that is so here. This verse is one of the amusing jokes in the Word of God. If you can catch the spirit of it, I think you will see it.

Let us read the verse as it is in the text, and then I will make a suggestion or two about it:

Genesis 25:

30And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.

Another Name for Esau

Literally this verse of Scripture reads:

Genesis 25:

30And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.

Literally, what he said was, “Feed this red,” and the implication of the word is that he put his hand on his beard. Remember from the earlier part of the chapter that when he was born first he came out red all over like a hairy garment. He was covered with red hair when he was born. When he grew up and went out hunting and came in really hungry through the fields, he saw Jacob making a pottage, and it was red in color. He did even know the name of it. So he said, “Feed this red, I pray thee, with that red, for I am faint.” The Spirit of God adds this extra word. Esau did not say it, and Jacob did not say it. The Holy Spirit adds it. Therefore was his name called Red, because that is the meaning of the word Edom . He got a nickname from the experience, and I think that is a bit amusing, don't you?

Here he came in from the fields saying, “Give Red some of that red because Red is about to die.” Jacob saw an excellent opportunity to get the thing he wanted, so he said to Red, “I will give you some of this pottage if you will give me your birthright.” Esau said, “What good is the birthright to a dying man? Of course you can have it.” Jacob, as we will learn, was something of a deceiver himself, and deceivers do not trust anyone else. So Jacob said, “I will not give you any of this pottage, even though you tell me you will give me your birthright, unless you swear on an oath that you will do it. Take an oath that you will give me your birthright.”

Value of A Birthright

In verse 33 we read:

Genesis 25:

33…and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.

Jacob gave him some bread and pottage of lentils, and he did eat and drink and rose up and went his way. Here again the Holy Spirit of God makes a comment, “Thus Esau despised his birthright.” What is a birthright, and why is this incident in the life of Esau so important? A birthright in Old Testament days, up until the time of the appointment of Aaron as the first High Priest, meant two things. It meant that the oldest son was the spiritual leader of his family. He was the priest of his family. He had to bear all the spiritual responsibility. He had all the spiritual privileges related to his family. The other thing that was included in a birthright was that he would receive a double portion of all the inheritance from his father. He was the spiritual leader, and he would receive a double portion of the inheritance.

Keep in mind that when Jacob and Esau were born, Esau was born first, and ordinarily he would have been the leader. Ordinarily he would have had the birthright. But God said, “I have decided in view of the natures of these two men that Jacob will have the birthright and not Esau.” One of the reasons God decided that was the very thing that is suggestd in this paragraph. Esau had absolutely no interest, absolutely no concern, absolutely no appreciation of his birthright.

Reasons for Chastening

I have suggested that whenever the Holy Spirit makes a comment on any given passage of Scripture, that is a better commentary than you can find anywhere in any book in any library. So turn with me to the book of Hebrews, chapter 12, and notice the comment which the Holy Spirit makes on this incident in the book of Genesis. The major portion of this chapter is related to chastening. It is related to disciplining. It is related to the child training that God brings into our lives. Everything that is said about that disciplining and about that child training is summarized in verse 11 when the Spirit of God says:

Hebrews 12:

11Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

We can heartily agree, can we not, with the statement at the first of the verse? “No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous.” No one enjoys the chastening of the Lord. Someone says, “Wait just a minute. Does not James say, ‘Count it all joy when you fall into divers testing'?” (James 1:2). That he does, but he never tells you to enjoy the test. He says count it joyous that you fall into it because God has a purpose in it. God is going to accomplish something in your life. A lot of people misunderstand the Christian approach to problems, and they get the idea that we love to be punished, that we enjoy it so much. Nowhere in the Word of God are we told to enjoy the chastening. We are told to count it joy because we realize that God is interested in us and wants to do something with us.

Chastening to Prove Love

Sometimes there are parents who offer no guidance, no discipline at all, for their children, and they think they are doing them a favor. Sometimes a particular child is talking with children of another family where the parents offer discipline and guidance. Perhaps a child in the family where the discipline is offered says in so many words, “I just do not like this. I am not allowed to do anything. They do not let me do this, and they do not let me do that.” The child from the family where there is no discipline pauses and says, “I wish my folks cared enough about me to care what I do. I wish they were interested enough in me to care what I do.” You see, there is a difference.

That is an illustration of what I am talking about. We ought to be glad that God cares enough about us to chasten us. That is what it means when we read, “Count it all joy.” So when Paul says, “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous,” he is not contradicting anything that is written elsewhere. No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous. We do not like it. It is not comfortable at all. Nevertheless …you ought to circle that little word because it makes chastening bearable. Nevertheless afterward …circle those words. If there were not an afterward to the chastening of God, then it would be difficult, indeed, for us to bear, but there is an afterward. “Nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness.” It yields something. We must notice the last part of this verse: “unto them which are exercised thereby.” If you are exercised by the chastening that comes into your life, you are asking God why, and you are endeavoring to apprehend that thing for which you have been apprehended by Jesus Christ (Phillipians 3:12). Then chastening means something in your life. That is what he is saying.

In view of this, in verse 12 we have the Spirit of God saying:

Hebrews 12:

12Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;
13And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.

Here is one of God's children, and things have not been going well, and his hands are hanging down limp by his side. He is distraught, and his knees are weak, and he is lame and limping. The Spirit of God says, “Make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.”

Then in verse 14:

Hebrews 12:

14Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

What are these things? They are warnings. They are exhortations that make the chastening of God less necessary. We are to follow peace with all men, and holiness…remember, we are to follow them. We will not obtain them fully until we stand at the throne…without which no man shall see the Lord.

Hebrews 12:

15Looking diligently…

This phrase looking diligently means taking the oversight . It is the same word that the Spirit of God used to address the elders at Ephesus when He reminded them of their responsibility to look out for grievous wolves that might enter the flock (Acts 20:29). Looking diligently, taking the oversight, lest any man fail of the grace of God. God's grace is sufficient for every time of need. The people are failing of the grace of God. What is he saying? He is saying that you and I should be interested enough in our own lives and in the lives of those who are trusting Christ that we are constantly looking about to see that no man fails of the grace of God. We ought to be interested enough to see to it that everyone has God's very best for him, that he does not come short of God's grace.

Harmful Roots of Bitterness

Notice that he said, “lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” That is something else you have to watch out for as you take the oversight. You have to watch out that no root of bitterness springs up. There is something about bitterness that is sad. When a root of bitterness springs up in the heart of a believer, many people are defiled by it. That is what makes it so sad. The Devil could plant that root of bitterness in your heart, and if you could build a great big fence about it and it could never get out of your heart, it might not be so serious. But when that root of bitterness springs up in your heart, many people are defiled.

Hebrews 12:

16Lest there be any fornicator…

Take the oversight, lest anyone fall into sin as the man did in I Corinthians, chapter 5.

That brings us to the comment of the Holy Spirit on Genesis, chapter 25. But I would like to emphasize that the statement about the fornicator has no connection with Esau at all. That is an entirely different subject. We might say, in view of the manner in which we have presented this, take the oversight lest there be a profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. You know how afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected, and found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears (Hebrews 12:17).

We say to the Holy Spirit, “Why was this portion about Esau preserved for us in chapter 25 of the book of Genesis?” The Holy Spirit answers, “I preserved it because I wanted to impress upon you the danger of a profane life. I wanted to impress upon you how easy it is for the person with every spiritual advantage in the world to become profane, and in becoming profane, to miss out on so much.” “Holy Spirit, what kind of man was Esau?” The answer comes back, “Esau was a profane man.”

Meaning of Profane

What is a profane man in the Scripture? Today when we speak about a profane person, we usually mean that he is uttering words of blasphemy or profanity all the time. There is no indication at all in the Scripture that Esau cursed. He was not a cursing man. He was a man typical of many, many men today. How is that? He was more interested in the material than the spiritual. He had no perception of the value of spiritual things. He put all his emphasis and all his interests and all his time on that which was material.

This word profane is very picturesque. It speaks of a threshold which is dedicated and holy, and it speaks of a man tramping on that threshold as though it were just as common as dirt. The one word profane is translated from two Greek words that present such a picture as that. It is the exact opposite of that which is hallowed and that which is sacred. If any individual should come into any building that is dedicated to the worship of God, regardless of what name it might bear, and should write obscene words on the sides of the building and turn over the benches and throw the song books on the floor and tear up the Bible, what would you say about him? You would say that he was profane in sacred places. That is the picture here. Esau was a profane man in that he had no regard for spiritual things, no interest in them. The material was more important than the spiritual.

Too Much In the World

We have the illustrations here in Genesis, chapter 25. Think back about it for a moment. Here was Esau out in the field. I think the choice of that word is tremendously significant, because the word field in the Word of God always stands for the world. Matthew, chapter 13, verse 38, says that the field is the world. So we have a picture of Esau coming in from the world. A spiritual opportunity was to be presented to him, but he was completely oblivious of the spiritual opportunity because he was too much in the world. That is where Esau spent most of his time.

When Esau came in from the world, he was unsatisfied. There was still longing and yearning within him that he did not fully understand. I think there is a wise choice of words on the part of the Holy Spirit, because it is so typical of Christian people who spend their time in the world and never find anything that completely satisfies…never, no matter how much time they spend.

Here he comes in from the field, and he sees Jacob with his stew of lentils. He says, “Jacob, I am hungry. Give me something to eat.” Jacob, taking advantage of the opportunity says, “I will, for the birthright.” If Esau had had a sense of spiritual values, he would have been indignant. He would have said, “Jacob, how dare you talk like that about sacred things? Do you think that I would surrender this great spiritual blessing for a mess of stew?” He would have been indignant. But what did he do? He said, “I am going to die.” Well, he was not going to die. He had had a good breakfast that morning, but in his estimation this was important to fill his stomach. “I am going to die.” This birthright…it is not so apparent in our English translation as it is in the original text that when he said “this birthright,” he was speaking with disdain of this spiritual thing . If I die, what good is it going to do me? Why of course you can have it.” You see how warped he was in his thinking. You see how completely out of focus he was. If a man thinks he is going to die, he ought to be thinking about permanent values, ought he not? He ought to be thinking about spiritual things and spiritual verities instead of about food and comfort. You see, the whole thing was inconsistent, because Esau had absolutely no spiritual comprehension of his birthright.

Failing to Look Ahead

So he sold it, and the Spirit of God said that Esau was a profane person. What is so serious about that? The thing that is so serious is suggested in Hebrews, chapter 12, verse 17:

Hebrews 12:

17For ye know…

This is why you need to be careful that you or someone else does not become profane in regard to spiritual things:

Hebrews 12:

17For ye know how that afterward…

You see, there is always an afterward. Oh, at the moment this spiritual blessing that is offered to us may not mean anything at all, but there will be an afterward:

Hebrews 12:

17For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

What does that mean? It is a comment on another passage in the book of Genesis. Let us turn to chapter 27 and notice exactly what that passage actually means. We will not take the time to read all the chapter, because we will be thinking about it more in detail with the life of Jacob. But you remember that there was a blessing to go with the birthright. The blessing, you see, was related to the material things. Jacob had bought the birthright from Esau, and he wanted the blessing. Keep in mind that he did not have to do any of the things he did, as God had already promised it. He was a conniving supplanter, and he thought he had to do it. So, he and his mother connived together to make the good stew that Isaac, his father, wanted. Isaac's eyesight was very dim. They knew, judging from how things were going, that after Isaac ate of the stew he would give the blessing. Keep in mind that as head of the family his blessing had prophetic import. If I were to bless some of my children, it would not mean anything except perhaps an encouragement for them to go with God. These Old Testament patriarchs had all the authority of prophecy. They knew that Isaac would give the blessing real soon, and Rebekah said, “We will fill him up with stew, and that will put him in a good mood, and then you will get the blessing, Jacob.” Jacob said, “But Mother, Esau is a hairy man. He is all covered with red hair. Dad will not be able to see anything, but he will put his arms around me, and when he does not feel that hair, he will know that it is not Esau.” Mother said…it is a shame that there are conniving mothers when there could be believing mothers…“We will fix that. You skin the goats real carefully and bring them in,” and she covered him with goat's skin.

Desire for Blessing

So Jacob went before his father. You know the story. We are running over it hurriedly. The father, Isaac, ate the stew. He felt of Jacob and thought he was talking to Esau, so he gave the blessing. Esau, ready to receive the blessing, came in with his stew, and in chapter 27, verse 33, we read:

Genesis 27:

33And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, Who? where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? yea, and he shall be blessed.

This means, “There is nothing I can do about it. I cannot change it.”

Genesis 27:

34And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father.

You see, this is the afterward, Beloved. When Esau wanted that mess of stew, he made fun of his birthright, but he soon tired of stew and wanted the real thing. He said to his father, “Bless me, too.” Isaac said:

Genesis 27:

35…Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing.

“The blessing that was intended for you, Jacob got.” This is a part of the afterward. When we are bartering away these precious things, we do not think much about it, but when the afterward comes, we wish we had it to do all over again. I think many of us will stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ with the same feeling that Esau had. The Word of God tells us in Revelation, chapter 3, verse 2, for example, that we should be careful that no other person receive our crown. Just as certainly as there was blessing for Esau, there is a crown for us, yet someone else could receive it because we are too profane, because we are too interested in material things.

Genesis 27:

36And he said, Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing…

Can you recognize the pathos in these words? What a difference there was. When he was standing before that pot of stew, and they were talking about the birthright, Esau said, “This birthright…what good is it to me?” But afterwards has come now. The stew is all digested and not remembered. Now the birthright is important. He said that twice his brother had supplanted him. “You gave him a good name, Dad, when you called him Jacob. He took my birthright away, and now he is taking my blessing away.” Notice what he said:

Genesis 27:

36…Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me?
37And Isaac answered and said unto Esau, Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained him: and what shall I do now unto thee, my son?
38And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept.

Why was he weeping? He was weeping for lost opportunities. He was weeping for lost opportunities. He was weeping for a lost blessing. Isaac did bless him in a measure, as you notice in the next two verses, but nothing to be compared with what he might have had, had he not been a profane man.

Correctly Understanding the New Testament

Let us go back to Hebrews 12 now, because there we have the comment on Genesis, chapter 27. This portion in Hebrews cannot be understood without understanding Genesis, chapter 27. This is why some of God's dear children, well meaning but definitely misled, had misinterpreted Hebrews, chapter 12. Notice verse 17:

Hebrews 12:

17For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

Some people who evidently do not take the trouble to read Genesis, chapter 27, say that this verse of Scripture teaches that if you sin against God, if you turn down God's invitation, you can go through all your life begging to be saved, pleading for God to save you, and God will not do it. The Bible does not teach anything like that. This verse of Scripture does not tell you that if you turn down an opportunity, when you want to be saved you cannot be.

The Only Time To Be Saved

The Word of God says that he, that being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy (Proverbs 29:1). But until you are destroyed, which speaks of physical death, you can come to God. No matter how far away you get, no matter how stubborn and rebellious you are, when you reach the place of surrender, you can come to God if you are alive. But do not presume on that, because sometimes God's patience wears out, and sometimes God says to stubborn, disobedient children, and stubborn, wilful sinners, “This is as far as you go,” and He takes away life. If a man is a sinner when that life is taken away, he goes out into eternity without God and without hope forever. If he is a Christian when that life is taken away, he stands in the presence of Christ and eventually at the Judgment Seat of Christ with a ruined and wasted life. There is no way to do anything about it.

This passage of Scripture does not mean that a man cannot be saved if he wants to be saved. What does it mean? Let us look at the verse again. The Spirit of God said:

Hebrews 12:

17For ye know how that afterward, when he [Esau] would have inherited the blessing…

That is, when he came in to his father, just as we read, and said, “Dad, bless me,” he was rejected. The word rejected means disapproved . He was not acceptable for the blessing. He did not meet the requirements.

Working for Rewards, Not for Salvation

Will you turn with me to I Corinthians, chapter 9, and notice the last paragraph beginning with verse 24:

I Corinthians 9:

24Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

You see, that is what Esau did not do. He did not run so that he could obtain.

I Corinthians 9:

25And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things…

That is, everyone who strives in the athletic contest knows the meaning of self-control. People who strive in sporting events and athletic contests do it to obtain a corruptible crown…that is, a crown made out of leaves that will soon dry up and blow away. But we are engaged in a much more important contest than that. We will receive an incorruptible crown… a crown that will last throughout eternity. No, no, it is not salvation. You do not even get into this race unless you are saved. This is the reward.

I Corinthians 9:

25…Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
26I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:

I run toward the mark. I do not do any shadow-boxing. I do not have time for that.

I Corinthians 9:

27But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection…

You see, the Apostle Paul was exposed to this same danger of profanity that Esau was exposed to, and he said, “So I watch out for it.”

I Corinthians 9:

27But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

You see the word castaway . It is the very same word that is translated rejected in Hebrews, chapter 12, verse 17. It means disapproved , not meeting the requirements. Esau could not receive the blessing, not because he was rejected from being his father's son, but because he could not meet the requirements for the blessing.

Why was it that all this occurred? How permanent was it? He found no place of repentance. There are two words in the New Testament for repentance , and this one means a change of mind . When it says no place of repentance , it means that he found no room for a change of mind on the part of his heart. Did you notice how he begged his father? “Bless me!” Isaac said, “I cannot change what I have already done. I blessed your brother. True, he connived and deceived me, but I blessed him, and I have no room to change my mind.”

Too Late for Blessing

Then we read in the last part of verse 17 that he found no place of repentance even though he sought it carefully with tears…even though he sought it anxiously, begging, imploring, and crying as he begged. It did not do one bit of good. This is the danger of being profane. We miss out on the thing that God intended for us to have. No matter how much crying we do, no matter how much heartache and sorrow there may be, as for that particular blessing, it is gone.

Closer Relationship With God

There is one redeeming thing, though, about it. Sometimes when we are conscious of the fact that we have missed the blessing that God has for us, it shakes us up and brings us to attention. We say in so many words, “Oh, God, though I have missed that blessing, I covenant with You that from here on I am not going to miss another blessing You have for me. I may have missed that one, but I am not going to be profane enough to miss another.” Did that happen to Esau? Well, we do not have any certain word about it, but there is a little inkling that interests me, and I would like to pass it on to you if you will go back with me to the book of Genesis again.

Remember, I have told you as we have been studying the Old Testament that the names of these Old Testament characters are very significant. The names they gave their children many times indicated some spiritual crisis or some spiritual blessing in their lives. There is a little indication of that in the line of Esau:

Genesis 36:

1Now these are the generations of Esau, who is Edom.
2Esau took his wives of the daughters of Canaan; Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Aholibamah the daughter of Anah the daughter of Zibeon the Hivite;
3And Bashemath Ishmael's daughter, sister of Nebajoth.
4And Adah bare to Esau Eliphaz; and Bashemath bare Reuel;

Look at those two boys' names. Eliphaz and Reuel. Eliphaz means strength of God . Reuel means the joy of God . I would not want to be dogmatic about this to the extent of building doctrine on it, but I wonder if the names which Esau gave to these two boys might not indicate that somehow this loss of blessing brought him to his senses. Perhaps he covenanted that by the grace of God he would go on with God, and he depended upon the strength of God, and that is why he gave his firstborn the name, the strength of God . Perhaps he began to experience the joy of God, and that is why he gave the name Reuel to the other one.

Change of Heart Toward Jacob

As we read about the relationship of Esau and Jacob, I think we have another indication that that is true. Remember that when Esau found out what Jacob had done to him, he was so mad he said, “I will kill him. I will kill him.” Mother Rebekah said, “Now Jacob , you get out of here as fast as you can because Esau is going to kill you.” And away he went! But Esau met Jacob coming back home after fourteen years, after Esau had had a chance to know something about the strength of God and the joy of God. You remember that Jacob did not know what the reception would be, so he divided his wives and children into companies and put some of them here and some of them there. He thought, “If Esau attacks the first group, well, the other groups will be saved. I will not lose everything at once.” Here Esau came out with a great crowd, and Jacob was scared to death when he saw that, and what happened? If you read the story you will find that Esau ran to him with open arms and said, “Jacob , I am glad to see you.” Something had happened to the murder in his heart. Something had happened to the hatred that was there. Something had blotted out the despicable thing that his brother had done to him. I like to think that this experience of a lost blessing woke him up and that he made up for lost time.

May we follow the exhortation given to us in Hebrews to look out carefully, take the oversight in our own lives and in the lives of those with whom we have contact. Be sure that no profane person such as Esau arises in our midst and loses the blessing and causes us to lose it too.

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