In Genesis 25, the twins have grown up. Esau returns home from an unsuccessful hunting trip, only to find Jacob sitting outside the tent cooking a hearty lentil stew. We don’t get a lot of detail in the story as to how long Esau was away, whether it was a few days or a few hours, but when he returns, he is tired and hungry.
Have you ever noticed that when you’re hungry, everything looks good? And even though you’ve been warned numerous times never to go grocery shopping when you’re hungry, like the rest of us, you’ve done it anyway, spending far more than you planned on spending and bringing home things that were definitely not on the list all because you were listening to your stomach instead of common sense and logic.
I’ve noticed that if I don’t decide before I get there what I’m going to buy, things jump out at me and catch my attention that I didn’t plan on purchasing. If that’s been the case with you too, you’ve probably noticed that your flesh has a mind of its own. And it knows what it wants. Like a screaming child in a toy store, you’d better give it what it wants or it will continue to wreak havoc until you do. But isn’t there another solution? If you try ignoring it, you might find the desire that was so strong is suddenly gone as fast as it got there.
The power of distraction will take any number of forms to take you off track. It could be people who take your focus off. It could be things like the latest iPhone, which are good but take your time and money where they didn’t plan on going. And even your own desires can take you way off track, causing you to miss out on what you really want. If you’re not careful to curb your appetite, before you know it, you’ll find yourself selling out your purpose and destiny for something of far less value.
Esau wasn’t stupid. He knew the value of his birthright in relation to a handful of lentils. Back in the day, the eldest son was entitled to the birthright, giving him seniority and assuring him of a double share of his father’s inheritance. However, the birthright did not carry a lifetime warranty; it could be forfeited by committing a serious sin or, as in this case, it could be bartered.
You would imagine that if the birthright were to be traded, it would be for something of equal or greater value. But when you’re thinking with your carnal mind, common sense is not a factor. That’s why you see President and priest alike forfeiting their office for an evening of pleasure. Regret is the debt that gets paid at a later date.
A pastor I know shares the principle of HALT, the warning signals to stop before making a decision if you’re Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. Those are the times you are most vulnerable to temptation and foolish decisions that will cost you later. Those are the times most often when common sense and wisdom are not consulted because the pressing urgency of the moment demands a quick decision.
Under these conditions, even those who are sold out can find themselves selling out. We’re no different from Esau, who realized after the fact he had made a rash decision that cost him everything for nothing.
Like racking up a credit card because you just have to have it now. Or having a few too many and ending up doing something you would never have done in your right mind. But decisions are yours, regardless of who or what influenced you to make them and you will deal with the consequences, whether you want to or not. Ask Esau.
There is a cost to everything. The question is what are you willing to pay? What is the value of what you are “purchasing” with your time, energy and resources and what are you willing to trade for it? Is it worth your freedom? Many people believe they are free to do whatever they want. Whether they see it now or later, there is a cost to that too.
Let’s ask the hard questions. Where do you want to be in five years? Or next year at this time? Are you focused and willing to do whatever to get there? Or will you take anything that comes your way and sabotage your success? Is this a destructive pattern in your life and do you need accountability to see you through? When you know where you’re going, you won’t take the wrong exit, thinking it will still get you there.
Regardless of your past decisions, find your bearings and begin to move forward in the right direction. Know what it is that you want. Know what can take you down. I’m talking about the areas in your life where you’re vulnerable. Get good people around you or none at all. Friends that take you off track are not friends at all. And take it from Esau – don’t go shopping when you’re hungry.