And now (after a few weeks of vacation), we come back to Genesis, and we land in chapter 25. Ah, Jacob and Esau. Have you ever noticed how much sibling rivalry is in the Bible? Just wondering. It hit me recently. There’s a lot. Interesting.
I spent a chunk of my summer doing a devotional on the particular dysfunctional family we see here. Trust me, I see them–and me–in a whole new way now. (If you’re interested, check out Michelle Lesley’s Jacob: Journaling the Journey. I promise you won’t be disappointed.) I was all set to write about something I learned there, but something struck me as I read through one more time and hit verse 32.
Genesis 25: 32 (GW)– “I’m about to die.” Esau said. “What good is my inheritance to me?”
Oh my. Esau was a drama queen… er, king.
Because, you see, he’s been outdoors, presumably all day. And now he’s soooooo hungry. Oh, he’s just sooooo hungry he could fall out in the floor and die. He’s sooooooo hungry that he…
He what? Pays his brother to feed him? Offers to be his brother’s slave for life? Uhm, no. He gives up his entire future. “Here ya go, bro. For a bowl of your soup there, I’ll give you every right I have as the firstborn: money, status, everything. All of that God-given gift. You can have it.”
Wow. That’s a lot for a bowl of soup. And it’s easy to judge Esau, standing here a few thousand years later and knowing the end of the story.
But don’t we do the same thing? How many have traded scruples for money at our jobs? Self-respect for acceptance? Sex for attention? We’ve all given up valuable pieces of ourselves in pursuit of something we were convinced we were soooooo hungry for, haven’t we?
As a middle school teacher and a mother to a precious little girl, that last one up there gets me. We live in a society that tells girls they should pass out their most valuable commodity like, well, a bowl of soup. Sex is a game. A frivolous activity. Necessary to dating. God’s precious gift saved for one, handed out to all, treated as casually in some cases as a handshake.
And the price? So much more than an inheritance. The ramifications for individual young men and women, for families, for society can be seen and felt every day. And it breaks my heart. When did we stop seeing our value and our worth? When did we start trading that for a few moments of attention from another? When did we literally start giving away chunks of ourselves for the lie that it’s pleasurable to do so?
Man, I didn’t expect this blog to go this direction, but it did. And now I’m wondering, what do we do?
I got to witness something amazing last May. Our eighth grade students spent a large part of the year talking about purity, being built up in who they are in God’s eyes, learning what matters most. And at the end of the year, most of them stood up in front of friends and family and took a vow to remain pure. Even now, it brings tears to my eyes. You could tell. Most of them got it. They understood what they were saying, and they live it now.
The tiniest millionth of a percent of kids in the world, but it’s all of the world to them.
And for their lives, it’s everything.