Pastor Nelson Bonilla: 7-16-23 ” Selling the Firstborn Right ”

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Genesis 25:19-34

The scripture we read from the Old Testament is about the Firstborn right. And for at least three reasons the Firstborn right was a precious possession among ancient people. First was the social reason. The firstborn used to become the leader of the family after the patriarch death. Second was a financial reason. The firstborn used to inherit a double portion of his father’s assets and, third was a spiritual reason; the firstborn became the spiritual leader, the priest of the family. Therefore, it was a high honor to possess the Firstborn right.

That is the point to understand in the story we just heard about the family of Jacob and Esau. Let us remember that many years before this event, God made a promise to Abraham, the grandfather of these two men. God told Abraham that He would give his descendants the land of Canaan as their inheritance. He also told him that through his descendants all the nations of the earth would be blessed. Those promises were also repeated to Isaac, the father of Jacob and Esau. Those promises also belonged to the Firstborn in their generation. As the story of the Bible develops, we learn that this special blessing would also include the birth of the Messiah, who would be the Savior of the world. Therefore, the Firstborn right in this family was a precious possession indeed.

Consequently, we can see that Esau traded something of great value for a bowl of stew! You see, as the first-born son in his family, Esau was entitled to special privileges; but when he exchanged his Firstborn right, he voluntarily gave up those privileges.

As I said before, among those privileges was a double portion of his father’s estate. When the father’s estate was divided among the sons, the first-born usually got twice as much as the rest of his brothers. For example, if there were 2 sons, the estate would be divided into three parts. The youngest would get one, and the eldest would get two.
            Now, for Esau, this estate would include all the land promised by God to Abraham, Isaac, and their descendants. But by the time of this story, this was still only a promise. The only piece of land his father owned in the promised land was only a graveyard where Sarah was buried. All they had by then was a promise from God that he would give them a whole lot more someday. We can see that for a man like Esau, that promise didn’t mean a whole lot. Therefore, when Esau exchanged his Firstborn right, he also gave up God’s promises.

As the first-born, Esau had it all! He had power over his younger brother; he had the promises of God; and he had the priesthood of his family. And yet he traded it all for a bowl of stew. He valued a momentary need, a momentary pleasure of a full belly more than a promise from God, and he gave up something of infinite value for a bowl of stew.

              Sometimes, we, like Esau do not appreciate what God has given us and we do not value all those wonderful promises we have received. 1 Peter 2:9 has one of them. Listen to what Peter says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” When we do not live according to this title given to us by God, we are doing what Esau did. The priest in the Old Testament was the person who presented the sacrifices he was the mediator between God and Israel.

As priest and priestess, we must also present sacrifice to God. What kind of sacrifice we must present? Take a listen to Romans 12:1 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” This means that everything we do with our bodies must bring honor and glory to God.  According to Hebrews 13:15, we also must present sacrifices of worship and lift others up before Christ. This is what it says, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” When we do not do this, we are exchanging our Firstborn right for a “bowl of stew,” so to speak.

When we do not own these promises; when we do not embrace them is like we are saying to Jesus “I do not believe you.”

When I read the New Testament and see what our brothers and sisters did in the name of Jesus; when I read all the miracles I conclude that the difference between them and us is that they believed and owned all the promises God gave them and therefore, they lived their lives embracing these promises, and according to these promises.    

Romans 8:17 reminds us of another important promise, which I believe should be the base of all promises, “Now -Paul says, – if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ,” This means that everything that belongs to God and Jesus, belongs to us. All those promises we find in the Bible belong to us.

Let us take Jesus at his word and believe every promise he made to us. There is one anecdote of Napoleon. It says that Napoleon’s horse bolted, and a soldier managed to control the horse. After Napoleon was safe, he said to the soldier, thank you Captain, you saved my life. When the soldier heard that he when to the person in charge of the uniforms and ask to exchange his private uniform for a captain uniform, when he was asked why, the private said, my commander called me Captain. This soldier believed Napoleon and took his word and made it his.

Jesus -sisters and brothers- gave the title of children to all those who believe in his name, therefore what Paul says it is true, we are heirs of God. Let us not make the same mistake Esau made. Let us believe.  In the gospel ofJohn 16:33 Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Those Christians who herd Jesus saying this, believed and they after Jesus’ death, they were able to overcome the world.

You see this power or authority to overcome the world is nothing magic; it is the presence of God through the Holy Spirit; is God Himself providing what we need to be faithful. All we must do is take Jesus at his word. All we must do is believe and live according to this promise. In John Jesus told Mary in John 11:40, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

Jacob believed in all the promises God made to Abraham, Isaac and later to him and he saw the glory of God in his life; he believed and now the people God made out of Abraham, bears now his name.

In Napoleon’s anecdote that I share with you, the soldier believed in what his commander said, and he became captain. God has called us his people, his children; Jesus called us brothers. Let us believe who we are; let us live as who we are, and we will see the glory of God in our lives.

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