For A Bowl Of Lentil Stew

<img src="" alt="Photo by <a href="">Artur Kornakov</a> on <a href="">Unsplash

Turn with me in your Bibles to:

Hebrews 12:14-17 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 15 looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; 16 lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. 17 For 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.

Life is all about the choices we make. If we make the right choice, the God honoring choice, then God will bless us. But if we make the wrong choices it can have a lasting and permanent impact on our lives.

In our text today we see a reference to Esau. Esau’s name in the Hebrew means “he that acts or finishes”. Esau made decisions, and acted on them, without thinking “down the road”. Esau would be like the chess or checker player that just moves pieces without any consideration as to what others might do.

Esau was “ME” focused.

Pastor John MacArthur said about Esau:

Perhaps the saddest and most godless person in Scripture outside of Judas is Esau. On the surface, their acts against God do not seem as wicked as those of many brutal and heartless pagans. But the Bible strongly condemns them. They had great light. They had every possible opportunity, as much as any person in their times, of knowing and following God. They knew His word, had heard His promises, had seen His miracles, and had had fellowship with His people; yet with determined willfulness they turned their backs on God and the things of God. Esau not only was immoral, but was godless. He had no ethics or faith, no scruples or reverence. He had no regard for the good, the truthful, the divine. He was totally worldly, totally secular, totally profane.”

Background To Our Text

Esau’s story begins in the womb of his mother, Rebekah. But for the Grace of God, Esau would never have been born. Esau’s father was Isaac, the only son of the patriarch Abraham. Isaac was born to Abraham when he was a hundred years old (Genesis 21:5). Isaac was a grace-gift from God to Abraham. When Isaac was forty years old, he took Rebekah to wife (Genesis 25:20). But there was a problem – Rebekah was barren. What did Isaac do? He did the best thing he could do.

Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, and God gave them not one, but TWO children.

This is what God does. God blesses us when we, in love, seek Him out. God wants us to love Him more than anyone on earth. When we love God, God loves us back TWICE as much. That’s how our Creator is. He loves us.

When Rebekah conceived, “the children struggled together within her” (Genesis 25:22). This frightened Rebekah, because she was an older woman carrying children. Was it possible that her pregnancy would miscarry? Rebekah did the best thing she should do. Rebekah prayed to the Lord.

Choices – life is about choices. Oh, how I wish you would let God carry you through life’s ups and downs! Oh, how I wish you would rest in the arms of Jesus!

Isaiah 46:4 .. even to your old age I am he; and even to {gray} hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.

Isaiah 40:11 {God} shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

If we would trust in God, and seek Him FIRST, life would be so much sweeter. God told Rebekah:

Genesis 25:23 Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

There are so many interesting things I can point out about this verse. First, God knew – even while the children were in the womb – the nature of each child. God knew the choices they would make, long before they ever made them. And yet, God nonetheless holds Esau accountable for the choice he will later make in life.

I have heard it said so many times, “I was born this way, so God made me thus – therefore the choices I make, they carry no guilt”. Yet that is not true. We are each responsible for the choices we make. We cannot pin our bad choices on God, as if it were His fault. The Apostle Paul addresses this in:

Romans 9:10-15 when Rebekah also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; 11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) 12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. 14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. 15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

God knew the decisions that Jacob and Esau would make in life, long before the children ever did any good or evil. And yet, God still holds Esau accountable for the choices that he makes. God knew that Judas Iscariot would make bad choices. Jesus said:

John 6:70-71 Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? 71 He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.

Our Lord knew that Judas would betray Him for thirsty pieces of silver. He knew that Judas Iscariot would choose money and power over eternal life. And yet Jesus said:

Matthew 26:24 The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.

God knows our choices, but our choices are our own. We will stand before God one day and,

Romans 14:12 … every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

We cannot shunt our bad choices off on God. They are our responsibility. Let’s get back to Esau. The Bible says that Rebekah had her twins:

Genesis 25:25-28 … first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. 26 And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them. 27 And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. 28 And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.

Word Study Sometimes the King James translation obscures our understanding of the text. Esau was flamboyant, with his red hair and amazing skills. He knew how to go out and get what he wanted – and he was used to winning, and not losing. Esau would be the “Jock” on the Varsity Team in High School. He would be voted “Most likely to succeed” by his peers. Esau would date the head cheerleader, make the winning goal in football, always come in in first place in any race. Esau was the firstborn child, and his daddy was awful proud of him!

But then you have Jacob. The King James says Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. The word plain is the Hebrewתָּם tâm, {pronounced tawm}, which means “one who is complete, sound, wholesome – an ordinary, quiet sort of person”. If Jacob were in a room, he would be the invisible man. In a “Where’s Waldo” book, he would be part of the crowd. Jacob was no risk taker, but cool and calculating – a home body.

One day Esau came back from hunting, but had caught nothing at all. Jacob is cooking a lentile stew (Genesis 25:34), and Esau tells his brother:

Genesis 25:30 Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint

There’s no doubt that Esau was hungry. He had been hunting all day, trailing wild game, but couldn’t get anything. But he was far from dying of hunger. Esau does not focus on God, but focuses on a pot of lentil stew. So Jacob says:

Genesis 25:31-33 … Sell me this day thy birthright. 32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? 33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.

Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of lentil stew, and a loaf of bread. As the elder son, Esau had a right to the double portion of the inheritance. To Esau would have passed his father’s authority, and most of his properties. Yet Esau despised his birthright, choosing a bowl of lentil stew over the greater blessing.

We Need Grace, Not Lentil Stew

Hebrews 12:15-16 looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; 16 lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.

Word Study God brings this story of Esau into the message of Grace. God tells us first to be looking diligently, which is the Present Active Participle of the Greek ἐπισκοπέω episkopéō, {pronounced ep-ee-skop-eh’-o}, which literally means take charge of your eyes, and make them carefully inspect. Back in the Old West days, those traveling through hostile Apache territories would have been told, “keep your eyes peeled, boys and girls, or you might lose your hair!” If you were on a Safari in deep Africa passing through lion country the guide would say “keep your eyes wide open, boys and girls, or you’re liable to become a’Happy Meal’ ”. The writer of Hebrews tells us all to “wake up, and be very careful to watch out for this”.

You don’t want to fail of the Grace of God. Be diligent, keep your spiritual eyes opened lest any person fail of the Grace of God.

Word Study The word “fail” in our text is the Greek HUSTEREO (υστερεω pronounced hoos-ter-eh’-o), which means “to keep on falling short of”. You do not want to keep falling short of the Grace of God. We are exhorted in this text to keep on being on the lookout lest we keep on falling short of the Grace of God. We all need the Grace of God. We need the Grace of God to save us from damnation. We need the Grace of God to bless us once we are saved.

How does one “fall short of the Grace of God”? People do it every day. First of all, salvation is entirely of the Grace of God. We are not saved by our works, but are saved by the finished work of Jesus Christ. The Scripture says:

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 not of works, lest any man should boast.

When a person realizes – through the operation of the Spirit of God – that they are lost and undone, and that person calls upon the name of Jesus, God the Spirit changes that person. Before we meet Jesus we are “dead in our trespasses”, unable to please God. But when we call upon Jesus as Savior and Lord, the Bible says:

Ephesians 2:4-5 God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

We are told in:

John 1:12-13 But as many as received {Jesus}, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

The Child of God is saved by the grace of God. When Jesus Christ came to this earth, the Bible says that Jesus did not come as an Angel, but:

Hebrews 2:9 … was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that {Jesus} by the grace of God should taste death for every {person}.

Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of lentil stew. People today sell their birthright, salvation in Christ, for a bowl of lentil stew. People sell themselves sexually. They have pride in chasing human sexuality outside of God’s design. The devil says, “have a bowl of lentil stew with just a morsel of meat”, and people buy into this.

God designed marriage and human sexuality to bless us, to satisfy us, and to perpetuate the human race. We need to LOOK OUT, to be constantly on the lookout.

Hebrews 12:16 lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.

The fornicator is the person who chases human sexuality outside of God’s parameters. The fornicator has chosen a bowl of lentil stew over the greater good, a blessed marriage with your God ordained opposite. Human sexuality in America today is represented by a number of man-made genders and a rainbow of colors. Yet what God has said is sin, is still sin. What God rejects as acceptable is still unacceptable.

Word Study The word translated profane is βέβηλος bébēlos, {pronounced beb’-ay-los}, which means “a wicked, ungodly, or unhallowed person”. So many people today satisfy their God given appetites in godless and sinful ways.

There are so many that choose lentil stew over faith in Jesus Christ. They choose something temporary and passing that will one day grow old, over a relationship with God, which will never grow old.

We all need Jesus. We all need to surrender to Him, to receive Him as Lord and Savior. This is our birthright as humans, to become the children of God by faith in Him.

Galatians 4:4-7 But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, [5] To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. [6] And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. [7] Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

It is Grace that makes a child of God. It is Grace that causes the believer to receive the Holy Spirit of God. It is Grace that takes a person from a position of servant to Son. It is God’s unmerited favor – His Grace – that enters a person into the family of God, and keeps that person in the family of God.

The Grace That Saves Is The Grace
That Keeps On Saving

It is your birthright as a human to come to Jesus Christ and be saved. Once you are saved, it is your birthright to keep on coming to Christ. If you will again notice:

Hebrews 12:15 LOOKING diligently …

That word LOOKING is, as I said before, the Greek ἐπισκοπέω episkopéō, {pronounced ep-ee-skop-eh’-o}, which means “to take charge of your eyes”.

Watch what you are watching. Don’t give away your birthright for a bowl of lentil stew.
This applies to Christians as well.

Don’t give away your blessings, your birthright in Christ, for a bowl of lentil stew. So many believers do this. So many pastors do this. Over my last 25 years in ministry, I have seen so many that I thought were good people choose lentil stew over the greater blessing. I have seen Christians grow cold in their faith, so much so that when a trial or death came knocking they had no more spiritual strength than the lost person. Don’t choose lentil stew over God’s blessings.

The Bible tells us of a time when Jesus was visiting with His friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. When Jesus came, Martha immediately began to play the part of good hostess. The Bible says:

Luke 10:39-42 {Martha} had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. 40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. 41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42 but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

For Martha, it was a good thing that she was waiting on the Lord. But the better thing would be to do as Mary did. Martha would be better blessed if she sat down at Jesus’ feet, and listen to His teaching. Jesus will not be at their home forever – He must be on His way. Meals will come and go. Parties will come and go. “But the Word of the Lord endureth forever” (1 Peter 1:25). Martha was choosing lentil stew over her birthright.

Our eyes need to be not on lentil stew, but on Jesus. The Bible says:

Hebrews 12:1-2 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Word Study The word translated lookingis the Greek ἀφοράω aphoráō, {pronounced af-or-ah’-o}, which means “to turn the eyes away from other things, and fix them on Jesus”. The Christian is to stay in a dynamic relationship with Jesus. The Apostle tells us to do three things as we focus out gaze on Jesus:

  • let us lay aside every weight”. Get rid of the unnecessary. The most important thing for you to do is to live in union with Christ. The devil will throw other things at you, things that are good, but not the best. Endeavor to love Jesus with your ALL, and to let the things that are of lesser importance go.
  • let us lay aside … the sin which doth so easily beset us”. Reject sin. Hate sin. Do battle with sin. Confess sin, and put it under the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:8-9). But do not rename sin. Do not justify sin. Do not be “proud” of sin. Consider sin to be poison, a thing to be confessed unto God and rejected.

    You cannot walk with the devil and run with Jesus

  • let us run with patience the race that is set before us”. Whatever our God puts before us to do, let us RUN. Let us do it as fast as possible, exactly as He has said. Let us RUN WITH PATIENCE. The devil will do much to cause us to get off track. Refuse the devil. Follow Jesus. Imitate God.

I want to close focusing on these words.

Hebrews 12:17 … ye know how that afterward, when {Esau} would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

The choices we make have a last effect. We can make sexual decisions that will bring AIDS, STDs, or worse to our lives. I have an adopted granddaughter that has type 1 Diabetes because her birth mother made bad choices. The innocent suffer because of bad choices. Do not give away your birthright for a bowl of lentil stew. God wants the best for you. Give your lives to Jesus, and follow Him all the days of your lives. May God bless the reading and preaching of His Word. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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