The Esau Syndrome

The Esau Syndrome-2

There are little decisions we make in life that have powerful consequences. Adam ate a fruit in disobedience and the consequences ripped through the pages of history dooming his descendants. Some consequences of little decisions are that vicious and that powerful. Like a truculent goat, these consequences barge through generations, sometimes altering genealogies.

Perhaps no story illustrates the power of simple decisions like that of Mr. Esau. He was quite an interesting fellow. An outdoorsy type, he fellowshipped with the wild. Bear Grylls has nothing on him. He was very hairy red all over. His descendants became known as Edomites, and how that came to be was determined by a simple decision on food. Mr. Esau it turned out was such a reckless fellow. He lacked appreciation of spiritual matters. Esau could not grasp the fact (like some) that spiritual quantities are the determinants of destiny. That would prove his genealogical undoing. Edom is wiped out. In the Greek and Roman era, it was called Idumea.

The man Esau was famished one day and chose to barter his birthright for red bean stew. Stew! Who barters his destiny and that of his descendants for an effluent! The Bible calls such profanity. “That no one… become a profane person as Esau did, who sold his own birthright for a single meal” (Hebrews 12:16). The word profane in that passage is translated “godless and sacrilegious” by the Amplified Bible. That profanity became officially labeled “The Esau Syndrome” by God. Look at this translation: “Watch out for the Esau Syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short term appetite…” Hebrews 12:16 MSG. The passage talks about how “Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God’s blessing.” He really shed tears “but by then it was too late, tears or no tears.” You can read the full story in Genesis 25:29-34.

Esau disposed off his birthright in just five verses of scripture! So here’s the story: Esau comes in, says to Jacob, “I beg of you, let me have some of that red lentil stew to eat, for I am famished.” Esau was named Edom because he was red, and ironically for the red bean stew. Edom means red. In other words, Esau’s name changed into the reflection of his recklessness with his destiny. He removed himself from the generational covenant God entered into with his grandfather. He substituted that covenant with a strange new covenant with his brother. He lost the generational covenant as well as his natural rights as firstborn. All for carnal gratification.

When Jacob asked for his birthright in exchange for food, the reply of Esau was most telling: “See here I am at the point of death; what good can this birthright do to me?” Then he went ahead and actually swore an oath selling his birthright to his younger brother, Jacob. It was a binding agreement because of the principle of “consideration” in law. The principle states that the price paid may not be adequate but as long as price is paid there is a valid transaction. In other words, you can dispose of a heritage for pittance; as long as a price is paid the contract is valid.

And so Esau entered into a valid commercial contract to sell his birthright for a plate of stew. The Bible says Esau ate, drank and rose up. “Thus Esau scorned his birthright as beneath his notice.” May we not trade away our destiny for carnal gratification! And so we can better appreciate the story of Joseph who refused to trade his destiny for sex with Mrs. Potiphar. We must watch our appetite in life. No carnal gratification is worth trading away one’s destiny. By that contract Esau empowered history for the chicanery of Jacob who progressed the agreement to logical conclusion. Jacob went to Isaac their father, pretended to be Esau and collected his elder brother’s blessing. Isaac had asked Esau to prepare his favourite meal, after which he would bless him. While Esau was away hunting, Jacob with his mother’s connivance disguised as Esau and snatched the blessing. Isaac was blind. He relied on the senses of smell and touch. To fool him Jacob wore Esau’s clothes and put on patched skin. Thus Esau sold his birthright for food and his brother collected the birthright on account of food. The original barter with Jacob was food-denominated, the blessing collection voucher was also food-designated. The whole saga was one continuous event, not two separate events.

The principle of causality is very prevalent in spiritual matters. It links two seeming disparate events. Fate made sure that Esau having sold his birthright could not repudiate the transaction through his father’s blessing. And fate perfects its determinations through the normal and ordinary course of life. And so we see the causal link from one spiritual transaction to another. Esau’s father was oblivious of the first transaction. And when he took the initiative to bless him as firstborn, the earlier transaction overwrote the attempt. In spiritual matters you cannot eat your cake and have it. Fate is deterministic and intelligent. Covenants are powerful. The most powerful covenant in the world today is called the New Testament. It overwrote the Old Testament because it preceded it. Christ was slain from the foundations of the world. In other words, the New Testament was enacted from the very foundations of the world. A latter covenant – the Old Testament could not overwrite it. Faith preceded the Law. Abraham was father of faith. Faith is global, the Law of Moses was a nationalistic and people specific program. Faith is larger than the Law. The New Testament is a very valid contract because consideration was paid. The blood of Jesus was the consideration for the New Testament. Blood is spiritual currency. And so the contract for which Jesus had already paid the price eons before cannot be overwritten by the Law of Moses.

You are not under the Law but under grace (Romans 6:14). Under the New Covenant we have been blessed with EVERY spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). Eternal life is yours in Christ Jesus. The Spirit of God is guarantor of this promise (Ephesians 1:14). No one can pluck you from the hands of God. Nothing can separate you from the love of Christ (Romans 8:38-39). There is no enchantment against Jacob, and no divination against Israel (Numbers 23:23). Stop living in fear. You dwell in the secret place of the Most High, under the shadow of the Almighty (Psalm 91:1).

© Leke Alder |