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The Despised Birthright

Genesis 25:34
Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

Most Christians and all Jews are familiar with what the Bible tells us about Jacob and Esau. One wonders what might have been if it had been Jacob who despised his birthright. Of the twins, it seems that Esau had the more noble character.

Genesis 27:36
Esau said, "Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has cheated me these two times. He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing." Then he said, "Have you not reserved a blessing for me?"

The name Jacob means "usurper" or literally, "heel grabber." In this verse Esau accuses Jacob of cheating him out of his birthright and his blessing, but according to Genesis 25:34, Esau despised his birthright and practically gave it away in exchange for a pot of stew. He was incapable of recognizing blessings because he despised his birthright.

We live today in a much different world, but human nature has not changed. Like Esau, there are many who despise their birthright and sell it cheaply, give it away, squander it, gamble and lose it, or trash it.

Man was created in God's own image. He was designed to be a child of God, to inherit eternal life and the blessings of his eternal kingdom. Happily, there are some who, although equally depraved, come to recognize the value of their birthright and seek God's forgiveness, blessings and that which is promised them.

Human rights are mentioned in the US Constitution and said to be unalienable. The absolute rights of individuals may be defined as 1) the right of personal security, 2) the right of personal liberty, and 3) the right to acquire and own property. These rights are declared to be natural, inherent, and unalienable rights, endowed us by our Creator. The founding fathers recognized the fact that no man or government could make that offer. Every individual must grasp his or her own birthright.

In the 50 years since the Supreme Court legalized the slaughter of infants in Roe v. Wade, 60 million babies have been robbed of their birthright. That is a great tragedy and God will judge the perpetrators and the nation for that evil. But the far greater tragedy, is the fact that millions more Americans despise their own birthright.

My father used to say, "You have the whole world to make a living in. I can try to teach you how, but you must do it yourself." That was his concept of my birthright. My mother saw it differently. She read in the Bible (Deuteronomy 21:17) that the eldest son was to receive a double portion of the inheritance. I was the oldest son among a dozen siblings, so she wanted to make note of this in her testament. I suggested that she read the rest of the chapter. I was anything but a model child and quite rebellious. That same text also demanded that my parents should have me publicly stoned!

I was not stoned, but I did receive a double portion of the inheritance. Two times zero is zero!

Some claim that they may someday seek God's forgiveness and join God's family. They fear the consequences of their sins, but want to live their own selfish lives as long as possible. Few Americans would despise a human inheritance, yet many despise their eternal birthright, exchanging it for trivial and temporal pleasures.

Ralph V Harvey, 2013