God has called each one of us to have an intimate relationship with Him. As the saying goes, God doesn’t have grandchildren. Each of us must come to Christ as individuals. We can turn to others for advise from time to time but in order to sustain our abiding in Christ we need to talk to Him regularly and read His Word. As we do these things, we begin to grow closer and closer to Him. Without abiding in Christ we leave ourselves vulnerable and tend to make decisions based on our feelings or by seeking answers from others.
This morning I was reading from Genesis and I couldn’t help but notice that Esau was a man that did not walk in intimacy with God. Without seeking God regularly his impulsive nature caused him at times to make rash decisions, thereby losing God’s favor and blessing on his life. The first example being when he sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew!
Genesis 25: 29-34 NIV 29 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. 30 He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” 31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.” 32 “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?” 33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright.
Then he went on to marry two Canaanite women, Judith and Bashemath who were Hitites from Canaan. The Hitites did not serve God and were an idolatrous people yet even with his amazing heritage of faith, Esau seemed to make decisions that caused himself and his family grief because he made them without a heart for God’s will.
In Genesis chapter 28, we find Esau listening to a conversation between his father Isaac and his brother Jacob with regards to choosing a wife for Jacob.
Genesis 28:1-9 NIV 28 So Isaac called for Jacob and blessed him. Then he commanded him: “Do not marry a Canaanite woman. 2 Go at once to Paddan Aram, to the house of your mother’s father Bethuel. Take a wife for yourself there, from among the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother. 3 May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples. 4 May he give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham, so that you may take possession of the land where you now reside as a foreigner, the land God gave to Abraham.” 5 Then Isaac sent Jacob on his way, and he went to Paddan Aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, who was the mother of Jacob and Esau.
6 Now Esau learned that Isaac had blessed Jacob and had sent him to Paddan Aram to take a wife from there, and that when he blessed him he commanded him, “Do not marry a Canaanite woman,”7 and that Jacob had obeyed his father and mother and had gone to Paddan Aram. 8 Esau then realized how displeasing the Canaanite women were to his father Isaac; 9 so he went to Ishmael and married Mahalath, the sister of Nebaioth and daughter of Ishmael son of Abraham, in addition to the wives he already had.
Esau did what many of us do. Instead of seeking God’s will in our decision making, we at times make rash, foolish decisions that prevent us from receiving God’s blessing and favor on us. Could it be that Esau really wasn’t aware of the fact he should not marry outside his people? Abraham and Isaac most certainly would have instructed their descendants not to marry idolaters. In any case, judging by verse 8, it seems to be the first time Esau really acknowledges how upsetting it was to his parents that he married Canaanite women and so he goes out and marries another woman, this time a woman who is a descendant of Ishmael. (Ishmael and his descendants were not part of the Covenant God had made with Abraham and thereby were not part of the blessing.) He appeared to make one poor decision after another.
This story reminds me how important it is that I don’t get so busy doing life my way. Just as Esau made many poor decisions with little thought of the consequences, I am capable of doing the same thing when I don’t seek God’s will along the way. God doesn’t want to be an afterthought. He wants to be our all in all. When we abide in Christ and seek His will daily, we won’t live a life of regret. We will fulfill the purpose He has for us, whatever that may be. We may get sidetracked from time to time but as we continue to turn to Him, He will see that we finish well.
“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” ~Francis Chan