After some personal discovery and working with clients, I'm amazed at what we'll settle for instead of the pursuit and blessing of our marriage. We settle for a cup of soup instead of the blessing! Hebrews 12: 14-17 says this,
"14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; 16 that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears."
This is a passage that I have skimmed over in the past but something stuck out to me after some personal struggles. I allow a root of bitterness to take hold in my heart and then use bitterness/anger to justify my behavior. Esau was the oldest son of Issac and brother of Jacob. He had the Abrahamic blessing because of that position which was, " through your seed all the nations will be blessed" (speaking of Christ) . He was the man's man and was in charge of hunting and providing for the family. Jacob on the other hand was the stay at home guy who was bitter his brother had the blessing instead of him. So he constantly looked for an opportunity to get it. His opportunity came when his brother came in from hunting and was hungry. Jacob being the good homebody that he was, had some soup cooking and now he had his opportunity. His brother sold his birthright/ blessing for a cup of that soup because of his physical need. Jacob now had the birthright, but that wasn't enough. When his father Issac was dying, Jacob tricked his dad into thinking he was Esau and yet again Esau lost what was his. Jacob then flees for his life because Esau is ready to kill his brother. The ironic part about this story was it all started with Esau not seeing the value of what he had but he quickly turned it into bitterness against his brother.
This story is part of the epic tale of God's great pursuit of us. He seems to be saying we do not see the value of the blessings he gives to us and we quickly turn our decision to give it away into bitterness toward our spouse, others or God. I see this on a daily basis in counseling where a couple develops bitterness toward each other and forget the blessing they have in each other. I think like Jacob, the enemy is waiting for his opportunity to take advantage of a "need" we have, to literally steal our blessing. So often people don't feel their emotional, physical, or mental "needs" are being met so they turn to another. Whether its another person, possession, status, drug, and even "good" things like church, a person gives up his/her blessing in order to fulfill his/her need.
My journey started with a 1998 Ford Expedition that was generously given to me by my parents because my 4runner had blown a head gasket. God had blessed me with no car payment and a sense of financial blessing. As shallow as it is, my only problem with the car was it was baby blue. From the day my 4runner had gone out I was looking to get a truck and my beautiful wife and I had decided at an appropriate time I could get my truck but that time could wait because we had the Expedition. This obsession went on for a year until I drove past the Toyota dealership and on a calculated adventure ended up "test driving" some cars. I found a deal (on a truck I didn't even like) and against my wife's counsel bought it. I realized what I had done and after only owning the truck for a few hours drove back to the dealership to find out my Expedition was already gone! I plead for it with tears, almost like Esau! They said I could come back the next day and find something different. I found a 4 runner and that is a whole different article, but yet again my vanity caused me to give up blessings in my marriage.
Now the scary thing is, this is a very common story I hear in my office. Men or women making decisions against the wishes of their spouse. Now I realize I gave up the blessing of truly getting the truck I wanted and inviting my wife to be a part of the process. I gave up the blessing of peace between us, the blessing of unity in finances, the blessing of trust, and the blessing of security. The new 4runner has been a constant source of contention and bitterness for both my wife and I but I see God's refining process through out. I do believe he uses things in our life to conform us to the image of the son. I would have never imagined it would have come in the form of a car.
What blessing are you giving up for a temporary "need"? A cup of soup is gone in the blink of an eye but a blessing has been given to us for a lifetime. Is this one thing worth my marriage or worth my ministry? There is hope for our poor decisions when truth is revealed. When God reveals the attitude of our hearts, he heals in a deep way so that we can receive blessings from him. He heals us so that we can see even the worst of things as blessings from Him. Eventually Esau and Jacob do come back together and God restores but there was a lot of turmoil in the process. It is a hard journey to start reconciliation after a blessing has been given up, but it takes ownership on all parties to see their contribution.