Look Up

In July I decided I wanted to read the Bible in a year. Of course I am already behind, but I will continue to go forward and yes, it will probably take me three years. If you haven’t ever read the Bible chronologically {instead of just book by book}, I encourage you to try it. I personally like being able to understand things on a timeline a bit better. You can check it out, here.

Anyway, this morning while I was reading about Jacob and Esau {I told you I was behind. No judging.} and found myself yet again humbled by the truth of God’s word. I know it shouldn’t surprise me as it is living and breathing, but it does. Every time. Here is Jacob, the younger brother making stew when his older brother Esau comes in famished. The Living Translation, “I am starved”. And Jacob tells Esau he can enjoy the stew if he gives up his birthright. Let me take a moment and define birthright.

1. privileges or possessions that a person has or is believed to be entitled to as soon as he is born
2. the privileges or possessions of a first-born son
3. inheritance; the estate inherited from one’s father or ancestors.

This is no minor thing folks. He inherits land, animals, a home and any family wealth all because he was born first! All of us seconds, thirds and fourths can understand the desire Jacob had to steal it. It was a position. A blessing. A most valuable gift.

So here the brothers are talking in the kitchen or around the fire which is more likely, when Jacob proposes this idea of giving up his birthright. The outrageously hungry Esau responds with a yes to his request and they shake hands on it. Then comes verse 34. The verse that brought me to my knees.

{MSG} Jacob gave him bread and the stew of lentils. He ate and drank, got up and left. That’s how Esau shrugged off his rights as the firstborn.

{CEB} Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew. He ate, drank, got up, and left, showing just how little he thought of his birthright.

{KJV} Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.

{TLB} Then Jacob gave Esau break, peas, and stew; so he ate and drank and went on about his business, indifferent to the loss of the rights he had thrown away.

Shrugged. Indifferent. Despised. How little he thought of his birthright. What? I read it a few times over. I am reading this through the eyes of someone living in the current economic crisis and so I was more than shocked to see a man throw away his inheritance; his security for his future. And to care so little about it as if it meant nothing at all. But, as almost always happens, I was reminded of my ability to judge so quickly. How often do I shrug off the valuables that God has given me? By this I mean the relationships, the sweet and quiet moments with Him, the pantry full of food, the ability to buy my children school clothes, cars that work, a warm house, a healthy body. MY KIDS. MY HUSBAND. Have I, at times in my life been so focused on a prize or goal that I was willing to stop at nothing to achieve it? Is my desire for the NOW so great that I am willing to give up something valuable? Let’s suppose I was willing to give this “thing of value” away, do I notice what I’ve lost or do I walk away indifferent and shrug it off as if my life has not changed all that much.

I think about some of the relationships in my life that I’ve let go of because I wanted to pursue something else; something more fitting for my lifestyle. Perhaps it was my shopping spree that month that made things really tight for us, but at the time I didn’t even begin to weigh the consequences. It was likely the many choices I have made throughout my life when the emphasis was on pleasing me, making me feel good, giving me significance; filling my belly, mind, soul with things that were far less valuable than my birthright. All of it brought me to my knees.

I am not the firstborn in my earthly family but in God’s family I have a birthright. Because of God’s Son, the one and only Son, died so that we could be called sons and daughters and receive the inheritance God has for us. Hebrews 9:15 says, “For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.” {NIV}. Jesus’ sacrifice made it possible for me to inherit the greater things. The things that this world cannot offer. I am not sure I live that way. I guess you could say I forget who I am at times or better yet, I forget what family I belong to and the birthright I have been given. Oh how I need help with my eyes, my ears and my heart in this broken world. I am reminded of that children’s song, Oh Be Careful Little Eyes What You See. The many verses that follow are about all the other parts of our bodies that can be so easily swayed. We are human. We lose focus. We make bad choices. But those that believe in the sacrifice of Christ have been marked. We have been given an inheritance and our view, our focus, should always be on our Heavenly Father. This is where we find our true purpose; our reason for living and our ability to say “no” when it comes to losing something of value.

And how do we do it? Thankfully, God knows our humanness so he tells us! Colossians 3:1-4. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” LOOK UP. LOOK UP. LOOK UP. Keep your eyes focused on God. When we look down, we see the depravity of our world and begin trying to fix it, fill it, make it better.

Simply. Look up.


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2 Responses to Look Up

  1. Ellen says:

    So very well stated and illuminated!
    I have been working on looking out… I don’t want to forget it is only by looking “up” that it turns my looking “out” into His glory, not my own accomplishment. I need friendly reminders…I need friends like you! God’s blessings on you 24/7

  2. D Dowdle says:

    This has been swimming in my mind

    and the Refrain

    Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
    Look full in His wonderful face,
    And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
    In the light of His glory and grace.

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