Doing things to protect our birthright should be a no-brainer. Most individuals have a “birthright”. I have a birthright due to the fact that I am the firstborn to my mother and father. My “birthright” allows me to be included in my parent’s will and share in any estate they have built over their lifetime. Along with the “birthright” I have comes some responsibility. Because of my birthright I am the one looked to when leadership is needed and decisions need to be made. Along the way those of us with a “birthright” wouldn’t want to do anything stupid. Lest we not be included any longer in the will and removed from all “birthright” privileges because of an action not acceptable to the one providing the birthright. (In this case, Mom and Dad)
Being a financial professional I have seen many stupid things done regarding birthright over the years.
Because I have been “born again” and I am child of Christ’s I have another “birthright”. This “birthright” is more precious than the one my biological parents provided for me. A great example is given to us in the book of Genesis. Genesis is the place where all beginnings are. It is important to see and note the beginning lineage and who has the “birthright” privileges and who does not. One of the greatest examples of this “birthright” is when Esau very stupidly gave up his right. I will come back to Esau but want to provide a good definition for you here in blue text:
“BIRTHRIGHT-burth’-rit (bekhorah, from bekhor, “firstborn”; prototokia): Birthright is the right which naturally belonged to the firstborn son. Where there were more wives than one, the firstborn was the son who in point of time was born before the others, apparently whether his mother was a wife or a concubine. Sarah protests against Ishmael being heir along with Isaac, but it is possible that the bestowal of the rights of the firstborn on Isaac was not due to any law, but rather to the influence of a favorite wife (Gen 21:10). The birthright of the firstborn consisted in the first place of a double portion of what his father had to leave. This probably means that he had a double share of such property as could be divided. We have no certain knowledge of the manner in which property was inherited in the patriarchal age, but it seems probable that the lands and flocks which were the possession of the family as a whole, remained so after the death of the father. The firstborn became head of the family and thus succeeded to the charge of the family property, becoming responsible for the maintenance of the younger sons, the widow or widows, and the unmarried daughters. He also, as head, succeeded to a considerable amount of authority over the other members. Further, he generally received the blessing, which placed him in close and favored covenant-relationship with Yahweh. According to the accounts which have come down to us, all these gifts and privileges could be diverted from the firstborn son. This could happen with his own consent, as in the case of Esau, who sold his birthright to Jacob (Gen 25:29-34), or by the decision of the father, as in the case of Reuben (Gen 48:22; 49:3,4; 1 Ch 5:1,2) and of Shimri (1 Ch 26:10). In the Deuteronomic version of the law, a provision is made, prohibiting the father from making the younger son the possessor of the birthright, just because his mother was specially beloved (Dt 21:15-17). The blessing also could be diverted from the eldest son. This was done when Jacob blessed the children of Joseph, and deliberately put the younger before the elder (Gen 48:13,14,17-19); even when the blessing was obtained by the younger son in a fraudulent manner, it could not be recalled (Gen 27). Jacob does not appear to have inherited any of the property of his father, although he had obtained both the birthright and the blessing. In the New Testament “birthright,” prototokia, is mentioned only once (Heb 12:16), where the reference is to Esau. In various passages where our Lord is spoken of as the firstborn, as in Col 1:15-19; Heb 1:2, the association of ideas with the Old Testament conception of birthright is easy to trace.”
Let us now take a look at what Esau did with his birthright. Please go and read this story for yourself as I only have room for a summary. Actually Esau had a double sided “birthright”. He had the birthright of being the eldest son or favored son. He was to inherit the family name, title and big share of his father’s estate. He also stood to become the head of the entire clan. The second side of his birthright was spiritual in nature. He would be next to receive the covenant blessings.
“Esau’s brother Jacob always wanted the birthright even from the womb.” It say’s in Gen 25: 26, “After that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel”. The name Jacob actually means “heal-catcher”. God actually chose Jacob for the “birthright” while the two were still in the womb. We see in Gen 25:23 “And the Lord said, the elder shall serve the younger”.
And so the story goes from Genesis 25: Esau and Jacob were brothers. Sad but true there was some favoritism going on between the two parents and the two sons. Esau was the favorite of dad and Jacob was the favorite of mom. Esau was known as a great hunter as well as worldlier and his father loved it when Esau brought him venison. Jacob on the other hand was quiet and stayed around the home. Jacob was known to be a good cook and made a great red soup. Actually I found that many of the commentaries I read looked at Jacob as being as perfect as Job. Well, one day Esau was out hunting all day and he was exhausted and extremely hungry. Jacob became an opportunist and looked to jump at his chance to grab the “birthright”. (I believe this was all predestined by God) So Jacob made a deal with Esau. He talked his brother into giving up his birthright for a nice hot meal. Esau was hungry, tired, irresponsible and impulsive. He told Jacob he could have his birthright if he just would give him some of that food to satisfy his hunger. He made an oath to Jacob. So Jacob gave Esau the food and Esau wolfed it down like he had never eaten before and left.
The next morning when Esau woke up and realized what he had done he was ashamed of himself and realized what a mistake he made. But it was too late… for in those days an oath was a forever commitment. If we look at this we can see that Esau failed to appreciate his birthright a long time before he lost it. He despised his birthright and he was immoral and sought things of the flesh. If he was truly a man of God he would never have gotten close to leaving his birthright. He would have died first. He gave up the covenant for a one time meal to satisfy the lust of the flesh. He had a natural heart.
“The natural heart places no value on the things of God. To the natural heart, God’s promise is a vague, valueless, powerless thing, simply because God is not known. Hence it is that present things carry such weight and influence in man’s estimation. Anything that man can see he values, because he is governed by sight, and not by faith. To him the present is everything: the future is a mere uninfluential thing,- a matter of the merest uncertainty. Thus it was with Esau.
Hear his fallacious reasoning: “Behold, I am at the point to die; and what profit shall this birthright do to me?” Gen 25: 32. What strange reasoning!
The present is slipping from beneath my feet: I will therefore despise and entirely let go the future. Time is fading from my view, I will therefore abandon all interest in eternity!
“Thus Esau despised his birthright.”
Esau has given us all a wonderful lesson in “birthright”, keeping our faith and not going down the wide road toward the world. He has taught us that we should never compromise our values and stay on the narrow road of our Christian and moral principles. What we have from Christ is the most valuable possession we could have obtained.
I know Jesus; therefore, I have a magnificent birthright! Just like Esau had a birthright, I also have one and likely you have too. I have the love and grace of Jesus Christ inside of me. I will take care of my birthright! We are heirs of the covenant and like Esau and Jacob. Our birthright is covenant blessings, covenant fellowship with Christ and we are the future owners of the Promised Land. “The Mansion on the Hilltop”! We became “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ”
“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Romans 8:17.
“And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” Gal 4: 6-7.
Satan will do all he can to wrestle it away from you and turn you from God. Gird your loins for the battle. It has only just begun. “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.” 2 Tim 1: 12-14. (Guard what was entrusted to you with the help of the Holy Spirit.)
We have an awesome privilege along with a frightening responsibility! As I said in the beginning, we need to be very careful not to do something foolish with our “birthright”.
The church, the people of God through the one-another’s and worship together will help us to keep our sacred possession.
God Bless and Keep you all. Amen.