Daily Reflections January 24, 2018
In today’s chapter we see the continuation of God’s line of promise. God miraculously provided Abraham and Sarah with their son Isaac. Isaac’s wife Rebekah was also barren, and this led him to plead with the Lord for her womb to be opened. God answered this prayer and allowed Rebekah to become pregnant with twins. God promised her that he would build two mighty nations from these boys and that the older would go on to serve the younger. The younger, of course, was Jacob. Jacob will go on to wrestle with God and he will be given a new name: Israel. What we see in the opening verses of this chapter is a line of promise through which God is miraculously assembling a people for Himself.
A great deal of attention will be given to Jacob in future chapters, but today we catch a glimpse into the character of Esau. If Jacob will come to be known for his cunning and tenacity, Esau is making a name for himself with his short-sightedness.
As the eldest son, Esau was the sole possessor of the birthright. This meant that he was to be the future head of the family and that, upon his father’s passing, he would inherit a double share of the estate. Not only did Esau possess the birthright, but he was also favored by his father. Esau had stumbled into a favorable position in life.
In light of Esau’s good fortune, the events of verses 29 to 34 are all the more shocking. These five verses tell the story of a man who sold his tremendous inheritance for a bowl of stew.
After working hard in the field, Esau returns home to find Jacob preparing a stew. Sensing that he is on the brink of starvation (though one wonders whether or not this was a case of exaggeration) Esau desperately pleads with Jacob for some food. In a shrewd and perhaps uncharitable move, Jacob offers to trade a bowl of stew for Esau’s birthright. Much to our surprise, Esau accepts the terms of the trade and enjoys a nice, warm meal – at the cost of his entire inheritance. Moses summarizes the story for us:
“Thus Esau despised his birthright.” (Gen. 25:34b ESV)
Esau had taken for granted all that he had been blessed with. He was so immersed in his blessings that he failed to appreciate just how wonderful they were. When faced with the choice between his future inheritance or a quick satisfaction of his hunger, Esau didn’t think twice.
How quickly do we forget the inheritance that is ours through Christ? How often do God’s people lose sight of the reward of heaven and trade it away for the pleasures of the world? Esau’s sin is repeated by God’s people day after day. What better comparison is there for those who, in a moment of lust, turn to the immediate comforts of pornography or a mistress? How many people are choosing immediate pleasure over eternal gain?
Assistant Pastor Levi denBok
This chapter, part of the “Olivet Discourse”, is a warning call, and a call to action to the followers of Christ. There are two big prophecies here, prophecies of the destruction of the Temple and of Jesus’ second coming. If we would seek to be faithful and wise servants of our Master, we need to pay careful attention to these words of Jesus. He is the Lord of history and speaks with authority about the future. Jesus said,
See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. (Matthew 24:6 ESV)
Issues raised in this chapter concern the time of Christ’s return, the “rapture” and the millennial reign of Christ. These have been long debated. Our space here does not permit an in-depth examination of these topics. However, we must not miss what Jesus is saying to his Church - be ready and stay faithful!
This world is temporary; life here and now is about impermanence. We need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus because we live in a dark place at a dark time and life will only get worse. Heaven and earth will indeed pass away, but God’s permanent home of glory awaits the children of God.
Believers have always asked the very important question, “When, Lord?”. “When will the end come? When will you return?” The short and simple answer is, though many have predicted and all have been foolishly wrong, we don’t know. Neither the angels of God nor the Son of God know when he will return in power and great glory. Jesus does not lie. All will be fulfilled, just as he said. The Temple WAS destroyed in A.D. 70, by the Romans under Titus, some 40 years after Jesus spoke. His Second Coming has not yet occurred, but it WILL.
As we press in to consider these things, the Lord gives us clear warnings. He tells us what will take place beforehand, so that we will not be led astray (see 24:4). Jesus tells us, sadly, many will be led astray. False prophets, deceivers with deceptive words and deceptive miracles will come and lead many astray. Tribulation will come and many will fall away. Lawlessness (disobedience and unrighteous living) will be rampant and the love of many will grow cold. In light of all that will take place, Jesus issues a clarion call to stand firm to the end. We will not be saved from trials, but we will be saved through them.
But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:13-14 ESV)
Endure we must, and endure we will by the keeping grace of God. We know the Great Commission will be completed. We know that the Bride of Christ will be gathered from every tribe, language and people (Revelation 5:9). Our mission going forward is to be ready, keep faithful, and keep proclaiming the Gospel locally and globally. The task is not done. Pray fervently and watch for the return of Christ. He is coming back for us! For this we eagerly await,
. . . our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:13 ESV)
Associate Pastor Jody Cross