Mixed-up Values

John Koedyker

READ : Genesis 25:27-34

Thus Esau despised his birthright. (v. 34)

Isaac valued his godly heritage by becoming a man of prayer. In his son Esau, we see quite the opposite. The end of verse 34 summarizes this story with the ominous words, “Thus Esau despised his birthright.”

The birthright was a very important part of life for people in the ancient world. It was the oldest son’s share of the material estate of the family. Typically the amount he received was a double share of the inheritance. So this was no small matter. Essentially what we see here is a man with mixed-up values. He sells his birthright for “a mess of pottage.” Satisfying his present hunger seemed more important to Esau than securing his future inheritance. How foolish to throw away such a valuable thing for such a momentary pleasure!

But before we go pointing fingers, we should look at our own lives. How many of us haven’t thrown away our values to satisfy our hunger for that which we know is sinful? How many people aren’t trading the eternal life of heaven for an earthly mess of pottage? Our mixed-up values in the twenty-first century say, “If it feels good, do it,” and “Live for today.” But the end result can be disaster. It was for Esau.


Lord, help us to value what lasts and is pleasing to you. Amen.