Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright. Genesis 25:31-34
But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:12, 13
How do you face a crisis? How do you handle failure, sin, and guilt?
Isaac faced a crisis, a famine, to be precise. He considered immigrating to Egypt, but God appeared to him and reassured him of His presence and provision. Isaac rested upon God’s promises and stayed in the land. Isaac’s faith honored God and kept him from a bad decision.
Esau faced a crisis or two. He came home starved from his hunting trip. He gave in to his hunger and sold his birthright for Jacob’s delicious stew. Later, Esau wanted a wife. He married a local pagan woman rather than follow the family tradition of marrying within their clan. Esau could not tolerate any delay in the gratification of his physical needs in order to make wise and godly decisions. In both of these cases, his choices had devastating consequences for him and his family.
I admire Isaac’s faith and am repulsed by Esau’s undisciplined appetites, but it is easier for me to be like Esau than like Isaac. Do I consistently resist temptation and sin? No. I do not always choose to trust God and to endure whatever difficulty may come without complaining or choosing the path of least resistance
Yet Jesus gives me hope. He was observed eating with tax collectors and sinners, the low life of society. When questioned about this, He replied: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick… For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Think about it
We fail. We sin. But Jesus Christ came for sinners like us. He came to call us to repentance. He came to heal us. How do you deal with a crisis or the failure to deal with it well? Don’t be like Esau who failed to obtain the grace of God (Hebrews 12:14-17). Seek to face a crisis with faith. When you fail, and you sometimes will, repent, confess sin, and find forgiveness from Christ. Get up, press on.