Temporary Pleasures over Eternal Inheritance
Main Scripture Reading: Hebrews 12:14-17
Matthew Henry once said, “The gratifying of the sensual appetite is that which ruins thousands of precious souls.” Surrounded by worldly temptations, the Christian must be on guard and look to the end goal of their faith, being careful not to give up their everlasting reward for something that is short lived. The writer of the book of Hebrews wrote about the dangers of exchanging Christ for the world and alluded such action to the Genesis account of Esau and Jacob. In Genesis 25 and 27, we read that Esau was so famished after hunting that he gave away his birthright to satisfy his hunger. After realizing what he did, he despised it (25:24) and “cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry . . . [he] lifted his voice and wept” (27:34, 38).
Esau is called an “immoral” and “godless person” because he chose a momentary satisfaction over his inheritance (Hebrews 12:16). He gave up something valuable and lifelong for a bowl of lentil soup. The Hebrews writer was telling Christians in the first century that they were in danger of doing the same thing should they forsake Christ to return to Judaism; the warning stands for us today.
Esau serves as an example to tell Christians that, in moments of temptation and weakness, sin looks desirable. Our eternal inheritance in Christ seems too long of a wait in the face of worldly pleasure. We become hungry like Esau to satisfy our flesh that we don’t stop to think about the lasting consequences it could have on our spiritual lives. After our indulgence in sin is over, the feeling of gratification goes away; guilt and disgust at what we did kicks in. It did for Esau. When he finished his meal and the weight of his action settled in his mind, he wept, bore a grudge, and set about trying to kill his brother. He never received it despite all of that (Hebrews 12:17).
We are called to lay aside the “sin which easily entangles” and persevere in godly conduct, patiently waiting to inherit the blessing in store for us by “fixing our eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:1). Worldly pleasures are fleeting but the reward we have in Christ is eternal. This passage in Hebrews cautions that if one continues in sin with no efforts of putting it off or if one chooses the world over Christ, they forfeit their heavenly blessings.
Wait for “what’s to come” rather than choose “in the moment.” Whenever you feel like returning to the world or indulging in sin, remember Esau.
Grace and peace be upon you.