Trading The Privilege Of Heaven For The Porridge Of Earth
Journey In Genesis: Selected Passages 6
Genesis 25:21-34: Please click HERE.
Birthright: “A right, privilege, or possession to which a person, especially the firstborn son,
was entitled by birth in Bible times. In Israel, as in the rest of the ancient world,
the firstborn son enjoyed a favored position. His birthright included a double portion
of his father’s assets upon death (Deuteronomy 21:17). Part of the firstborn’s benefits
also were a special blessing from the father and the privilege of leadership of the family
(Genesis 43:33)” (Nelson’s Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible, p. 184).
So in the birthright is both something to be enjoyed (blessing)
& something to be employed (leadership—used for others);
it’s an undeserved reward & responsibility.
Biblical leadership = first to give, not first to get;
first to serve, not first to be served; first to die, not last to live.
Many might think, “Goodness gracious what’s the big deal? He sold his birthright.
He was hungry! If he died of starvation he wouldn’t be alive to enjoy the birthright.”
This is pragmatism: whatever works is what’s right. Living as a slave in the kingdom of now
under the tyranny of the urgent using whatever you can get your hands on to help you.
Pragmatism is what Proverbs 3:5-6 warns against:
“Trust in the LORD
[what He has said not what we feel/think],
lean not on your own understanding
[not how your situation seems from your perspective
but how God declares your situation to be through His Truth;
your eternal character is more important to God than your earthly comfort],
in all your ways acknowledge Him
[Him as King & Lord & in charge, not ourselves, His ways/methods, not ours]
and He will make your paths straight
[guide & take care of both your now & your tomorrow].”
And so Esau’s sin here is not that it’s wrong to eat stew,
or that it’s wrong to care for our immediate needs.
It’s that Esau didn’t care about his privilege & responsibility
from God as the firstborn son;
by despising it flippantly he was despising the God Who gave him the privilege,
the God who determined Esau’s birth order.
God had given Esau something to enjoy & employ,
to have & to live out, & Esau traded it away casually.
- Ever given a gift to someone that they didn’t like/care for,
that they never used/threw out, maybe that they re-gifted to someone else?
It hurts, and increasingly so according to the effort/cost that you put into the gift.
Bottom line: what Esau did was a big deal because
it reflected his attitude/heart against the LORD.
But do we know the details of our “re-birthright” in Christ?
Do we realize the privileges, blessings & responsibilities
that come with being a forgiven & reborn child of God?
If God is willing we will dig into this, the riches of our inheritance in Christ, in January. Why?
Many of us simply do not know, we haven’t opened the vault of our Father’s Word
to see & enjoy & understand the riches that are ours in Christ,
& not just the riches, but the responsibilities.
The riches are to be enjoyed, but also to be managed well,
enjoyed & employed for His honor & fame, not just our happiness.
Let’s quickly look at a few:
John 15:16:“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you
so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—
and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.”
We have been appointed to go and bear fruit, to mature in Christ.
A privilege to enjoy & responsibility to employ—not optional!
1 Thessalonians 5:5-11:“You are all children of the light and children of the day.
We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.
6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.
7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night.
But since we belong to the day, let us be sober,
putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath
but to receive salvation thru our Lord Jesus Christ.
10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep,
we may live together with him.
11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,
just as in fact you are doing.”
Saying no to sin, receiving salvation,
living together with Him, encouraging each other…what a gift!
All a privilege to enjoy & a responsibility to employ—not optional!
Ephesians 2:18:For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
Access to the Father thru Jesus Christ! Be with Him!
A privilege & responsibility—not optional!
Philippians 1:29:“For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him,
but also to suffer for him…”
Faith & suffering for Christ…A privilege & responsibility!
Why? Can’t grow without manure…
Romans 5:3-5: “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know
that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.
5 And hope does not put us to shame,
because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit,
who has been given to us.”
Like waterfalls that flow into a series of pools, each below the other.
If the top pool—suffering—isn’t filled to overflowing,
the lower pools—perseverance, character & hope—won’t ever be full.
Don’t give up as our Father designs trials for you—keep seeking Him!
“The storms are guided by the hands which were nailed to the cross-John Newton.
John 13:12-17:“When he had finished washing their feet,
he put on his clothes and returned to his place.
“Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.
13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.
14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet,
you also should wash one another’s feet.
15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master,
nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.
17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
Wash each other’s feet, before we hurt each other and after we hurt each other.
The Lord did this to people who He knew would
betray Him, deny Him, and fall asleep on Him.
This is a privilege to enjoy & a responsibility to employ to each other.
Romans 10:12-15: “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—
the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,
13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
14How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?
And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?
And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?
As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
Go, show & tell the Gospel with our feet & words! Our feet are blessed!
A privilege to enjoy & responsibility to employ, to represent the King & deliver His message.
Now those are just a few of our privileges & responsibilities as Christians—
all given to us thru the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ…
there is duty & delight in all of them.
So bring these questions to our Father:
Do I trade the privilege of heaven for the porridge of earth?
Did Christ die for me to do what I do each month?
- It is a privilege to pray—access to God! But do I trade praying for playing?
- It is a privilege to give—just as the Father gave His Son, gave us faith, gave us life!
But do I trade giving for getting?
- It is a privilege to suffer—participate in the sufferings of our Savior (1 Peter 4:13)!
But do I trade suffering for safety?
- It is a privilege to be in fellowship with other Christians,
learning to wash their feet & have them wash ours, just like our Savior did!
But do I trade deep fellowship for shallow acquaintanceship,
do I trade learning to forgive for learning to avoid.
- It is a privilege to “train yourselves to be godly” (1 or 2 Timothy)—
but do I trade training for couching, do I trade working out for hiding out,
do I trade growing pains for staying the same?
Now this is a dangerous post—
we might swing from the extreme of laziness as Christians
to the other extreme of guilt over doing anything outside of Bible study & prayer.
That’s not my intention!
Heading for a ditch often leads to us violently swerving & turning the wheel
to hurdle toward the ditch on the other side of the road.
Both extremes/ditches are bad.
So how do we know when we are doing this,
trading the privilege of heaven for the porridge of earth?
It takes time…time with the LORD, alone & with other Christians.
This requires us to be in God’s presence quietly with a
humble heart, open Bible, and attentive ears…
regularly over the course of our lives.
Christ has saved us for relationship, not obligationship—we get to be with Him!
Let’s use the back-stage access He died to give us.
Learn to read His voice in Scripture, learn to sit at His feet like Mary,
learn to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD,
learn to ask Him to reveal your idols & sin & then own them,
repent of/turn from them, & let Christ own them…
Do this as a lifestyle & He will show you in His Word & thru His Spirit
the ways we’re heading toward one ditch or the other—
He will steer us back to the center of His righteous & holy & joyful lane,
the narrow road that leads to life,
so we can both enjoy & employ our re-birthright in Christ.
Ephesians 5:15-17:“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,
16making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
Colossians 4:3-6: “And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message,
so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.
4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.
5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.
6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt,
so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
May we wisely use the time our Father has given us,
may we enjoy and employ our privileges and responsibilities
as sons & daughters of God thru faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,
not longing for the porridge of earth
but introducing people to Jesus, the Bread of Life,
who adopts & transforms any sinner
who calls on Him in repentance and faith…