Once a month, Paradise Calvary Chapel’s college-aged group gets together to do an excursion. Someone suggested we go on a hike this time, and we were all excited. However—between exams at school, holiday work schedules, and the idea of meeting at sunrise to go on a hike—when the day finally came, only three of us showed up. Not only that, but the hike we picked was pretty strenuous. We didn’t get far down the trail before we started reconsidering whether a hike for just the few of us was even worth it.
In Genesis 25:19-34, Isaac and his wife had twins: the first was Esau, who grew up to be a mighty hunter, and the second was Jacob, who spent most of his time helping his mother around the house. Now, even though they were twins, Esau was the first twin to be born, so he would one day receive the birthright. That was a pretty big deal; it meant that someday, after his father died, he would inherit everything.
One day, after Esau had finished a long and exhausting hunt, he came home and smelled some soup that Jacob had made—and it smelled very good to him. Jacob was crafty, and told Esau he could have some soup in exchange for the birthright.
Esau took the bargain too lightly, though, and basically told Jacob, “I’m so tired, I feel like I’m going to die, and I won’t care about any kind of birthright if I’m dead. Give me the soup.”
So Jacob gave Esau the soup, and Esau unwittingly gave Jacob the birthright. That was a decision that would leave him practically empty-handed for the rest of his life. And for what? A bowl of soup.
Wisdom would have said to be patient, or to actually consider what was being haggled. Wisdom would’ve said that the birthright was much more valuable than a bowl of soup. Folly, though, listened to the flesh. The flesh was hungry! Folly wanted that soup now. And that soup probably tasted good for a moment, but Esau realized a few years later—maybe even a few hours later—that the bowl of soup was not nearly as satisfying as a family inheritance would have been.
Unlike Esau, the few of us on the hike chose to press on. The trail was difficult, there were only a few of us, and we were tired—our flesh was tired. We easily could have turned around, gone back, thrown in the towel—but we didn’t, and the photos we got of the landscape proved our endurance was worth it.
The calls of the flesh seems stronger in the moment, but wisdom endures longer. Folly is easy to see, but wisdom is a more beautiful picture. The world has flashing neon signs that are hard to ignore, but we must remember to seek God through His Word, otherwise we might become too distracted by folly to hear the gentle little whispers of wisdom. What beauties will we inherit if only we don’t give in to our own cravings?