Friday, June 9, 2017

HEBREWS 12:16-17

"See to it...that there be no immoral
or godless person like Esau,
who sold his own birthright for a single meal."

They were twins.  His brother Jacob was named "Heel Grasper," as if they were fighting from birth as to who should have first place.  How would you like to carry such rambunctious kickin' and tussling babes in the womb? I know a kick from my firstborn while still in the womb could make me gasp out loud in the middle of church sitting in a pew and leave a bruise, and there was only one of him.  The twins were nothing alike.  Esau became the hairy hunter while Jacob stayed home as a mamma's boy.

Now in the patriarchal family systems, the first born received not just the inheritance, but the blessing.  This blessing is what this reminder is all about by bringing up Esau.  It doesn't even bring up his brother by name, but his brother desired this blessing above all else.  Jacob was a conniver and he even had help of his mother.  Tsk, tsk, a mother showing partiality of one twin over the other.  It wasn't one big happy family in this family scene as Isaac, whose name meant "laughter," was old and blind getting ready to join his eternal reward.  He was anxious to pass on his earthly blessing. 

But Esau was godless, profane, a man driven by his literal and illustrative appetite.  After a long day of a successful hunt, he comes home starving.  He was weak.  His brother tricked him in his weakness to exchange his blessing for one meal of pottage.  Then Jacob had to trick his father into believing him to be his hairy brother, but that's beyond the point here. 

A favorite verse tells us, "Every good thing given and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow." (James 1:17) A blessing.

That is our Father.  The firstborn is Jesus.  He offers to share His inheritance with us.  But we all must come to the point of choosing this blessing or exchanging it for whatever this world offers to feed our appetites.  What is it you hunger after?  It is telling.

Our six year old granddaughter is enjoying her vacation at the beach.  In fact, she declared this week that she doesn't want to go to heaven because she does not want to leave the beach.  Of course she doesn't really mean to exchange her eternity for one grain of sand, but for us, letting go to receive something better of infinite worth is the hinge our eternity squeaks on.   There is nothing on this earth that is worth anything by comparison.  This world is not eternal, will be burned up in the blink of an eye while we have eternity written on our soul, the longing, the pull of desire for our Father's blessing. 

This week I discovered while studying that a man named Thomas Hubbard in my husband's line was burned at the stake in England in 1555 along with 300 others by the ruling Catholic crown, Queen Mary, for refusing to give up his Protestant faith.   

Confessors, "going so openly and talking so frey, their answer was Christ Iesus was their life and onely righteousness: and that onely by fayth in him, and for his sake al good thinges were freely geuen their also forgiuenes of sinnes, and lyfe euerlasting." He is in Fox's Book of Martyrs. 

Driving by the beautiful Catholic Church in our city yesterday, the church--while in the middle of the week--was full, spilling out on the steps where priests in robes with tall golden hats and staffs, probably visiting bishops, were giving their blessings.  This is so foreign to our faith that we would seek such a blessing apart from Christ Himself.  Yet, it was obvious that people seek a blessing in one kind or the other.   

Are we seeking a blessing from our Father who art in heaven or from someone or something else?  Are we willing to die for this blessing when the powers that be seek to take it away.  We are surrounded by a godless, profane world who run here and there to fill the emptiness while at the same time are hostile to those who desire God above all else.  There are still martyrs for their faith who will not give up their birthright.

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