Primary Allegiance

I remember as a young boy reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in class.  “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America…” I was declaring my commitment to the flag and our country as a high priority in my life.  As I read about Esau today, I could not help but think of his lack of allegiance to what really mattered.  This passage says,

“Jacob said, ‘Sell me your birthright now.’ Esau said, ’I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?’ Jacob said, ‘Swear to me now.’ So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.” (Gen. 25:31-34)

I am sure you remember the story, where Esau’s temporal hunger was more important to him than his birthright.  Esau was not only willing to give up his special inheritance, but he also was giving up the leadership of the family.  The text says he “despised” his birthright.  Moses, in writing this is making sure we do not miss what Esau did.  It is a moral judgment of his action.

The word “despise” is emphasizing that Esau regarded his birthright to have little value. “For Esau, the birthright is a worthless object.”[1]

As Tom Constable notes,

Esau cared only for physical and material things whereas Jacob valued the spiritual. Esau gave priority to the immediate satisfaction of his sensual desires, but Jacob was willing to wait for something better that God had promised in the future.”[2]

I think the reason this hit me this morning is that I can treat the privileges of being a child of God in that same way that Esau treated his birthright without realizing it!  The amazing blessing I have as a son of the King, with a desirable future and destiny can be lost in the pursuit of temporary busyness and personal fulfillment. I certainly have responsibilities now, but I must not let them challenge God as the number one allegiance of my heart.

How are you doing with keeping Jesus the number one allegiance of your heart?

Father, thank you for letting me see how Esau lost his perspective and craved temporal fulfillment more than the promised future you had given him as a descendent of the Promise.  Father, life is busy, it has pressures and demands that can challenge making you the priority of my life.  Forgive me when that happens and help me to be aware of this before I lose you as the number one allegiance of my heart.

Following Jesus with you,



[1] William David Reyburn and Euan McG. Fry, A Handbook on Genesis, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1998), 588.

[2] Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), Ge 25:31.

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