God's World Videos & Essays

Red Bean Soup

Esau a Profane Person

Scripture text: “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.  For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears” (Hebrews 12:15-17).


Esau, as many of us already know, was the firstborn son of the Hebrew patriarch Isaac.  As the first child, upon his father’s death, he was entitled to receive an inheritance, 

“The birthright was the natural privilege of the firstborn son. Receiving the birthright, the firstborn would become the head of the family, and would have charge of the family, including the family property. He would be responsible for the welfare of the younger sons, the widow, and any unmarried daughters. He would exercise considerable authority over the other members of the family. The blessing that he received would also place him in a special covenant relationship with the Lord. During the Patriarchal period when Jacob and Esau lived, God dealt directly with the heads of the families. The Hebrews counted the blessing given by the father to be very important and considered it an oral contract, which was just as binding as a written contract.”1

With his birthright given to him, he did not have to work for it.  He only had to keep it and esteem it.

But at some point in his youth, after a hunt, he grew extremely hungry and offered to sell his birthright to his younger brother Jacob—something so precious, valuable, and beneficial—for a single bowl of red bean soup.  When Jacob heard that offer he was only to glad to take him up on it, for he knew exactly what Esau did not know:  Esau knew only how much it cost him (which was nothing) but Jacob (whom God later renamed ‘Israel’ - Genesis 32:22-32) knew the value.

The transaction was not something that was blazed abroad; nobody knew what had happened except Jacob and their mother, Rebecca.  But God considered Esau to be a profane person—a fornicator.  He wanted to have his cake and eat it, too.  After selling such a costly entitlement he had every intention of double-crossing Jacob and receiving the blessing that belonged to him through it.

At the time when Isaac was near his last and on his death bed, it came time for him to confer the blessing of the firstborn upon Esau (Genesis 27:18-30).  But old Isaac had no idea that Esau had long ago sold his rights to his brother.  But Rebecca was having none of it and sent Jacob out to get some animal skins to put on his arms so he could receive the inheritance that having the birthright accorded him.  Isaac was blind and recognized Jacob’s voice, but when he felt Jacob’s arms and they were hairy he gave the birthright to Jacob.  By the time this was done, Esau came in to deceitfully receive the blessings—but was rejected because the benedictions had already been pronounced over Jacob.  A murderous rage passed over him and Jacob had to flee far from home and for years he kept his distance until he contrived a way to be reconciled to Esau.

The point of the story in Hebrews, however, is that Christians have a birthright afforded to us “by the grace of God.” 

It costs us nothing—but it certainly wasn’t free! 

Engaging in the satisfaction of carnal appetites—specifically pornography, which the Bible calls πόρνος /porn/ “fornication,” and it is grounds for our being rejected by our holy God as “profane persons.”2  Nobody may see that we have surrendered our birthright because the tell-tell evidence may be hidden on our phone, or be untraceable and undetectable by a VPN, or some other such means of being incognito, but God knows and we don’t want to play fast and loose with our salvation!  As Christians, we have a right to the tree of life and to enter in through the gates of the City, but we mustnt play with God!

Life is not guaranteed to us.  We are not promised that we will wake up in the morning or live to see next year.  We may live to be very old or we may end up dying very young.  Being a CHRISTIAN is a very valuable thing and we must be keen to make sure we do not despise it in the Bless the Lord O My Soul and Do Not Forget His Benefitsname of even legitimate hungers—let alone illegitimate ones!  What we claim to be publically should be completely true—even when no one is looking.  The quality of our commitment to Jesus Christ is proven, not only by what we profess to be, but also by what we engage in, how we speak, and where we go in the framework of self-limitations informed by our confession of faith and expectations of encountering a holy God at the end of our lives.

And it is only in this way that we can stay vigilant and not fall prey to powerful desires that can drag us down and prevent our entrance into the gates of the City (Revelation 22:14).  Fear God; eschew evil (Acts 10:34-35 and Peter 3:11).  Maintain your zeal and love for the Lord so as not to grow slack and careless (Hebrews 2:3 cf. Revelation 2:4-5).  Reach out, if you must, for Pastoral care and encouragement; refrain, at all costs, from pleasures that destroy your soul and will lead to regret (James 1:14-16).  And may God bless you in this Christian way.  


1 https://housetohouse.com/jacob-take-took-esaus-birthright/

2  See the various translation renditions of Hebrews 12:16 here.

 How to Improve Your Relationship

With God in 4 Steps


What Did the Apostle Peter Mean By

Adding “Virtue” to Your Faith?

Does Christianity Encourage Immorality?

(Arabic with English Subtitles)

Shepherd of My Soul