January 11 – The Power of the Flesh


  • Gen. 25:1-10, 12-18, 11, 19-34; 26:1-35


In these two chapters we have two examples of how powerful our human desires can be and the impact of poor choices on our lives. In Gen. 25 we read that Esau had been hunting and when he returned from the field he was very hungry. His brother Jacob had cooked some stew and Esau, being weary from hunger, asked Jacob for a bowl. Jacob replied, “Sell me your birthright as of this day.”

In these days the birthright was a very important blessing. Fathers would distribute their possessions to their children when they got old, and the firstborn would receive a double portion. In other words, the oldest child got twice as much of their father’s stuff as their brothers and sisters. But the birthright was a blessing the child wouldn’t receive right away. They had to wait until their father was old.

But Esau, feeling his hunger pangs, said, “Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?” So he agreed and traded his birthright blessing for a single bowl of stew. Which was of greater value: the birthright or the stew? Why would someone do such a foolish thing? Because his body’s desire for food was so strong that it was all he could think about.

Gen. 26:33-34 tells us that Esau took wives from the Hittite people and they “were a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah”. We aren’t told why Esau chose these women as his wives, but for whatever reason he wanted to do so. And his parents were not pleased at all. These women were probably not godly and were likely a bad influence on Esau.

Our body has desires—things it wants to do. Many of these desires were given to us by GOD, such as feeding ourselves when we are hungry. But sometimes our bodies try and get us to do things that aren’t good. We have to be very careful. Just because our body tells us to do something doesn’t mean we should do it. GOD has given us a mind that lets us think, and He tells us to use our mind to make our body behave.

For example, in Gen. 4 Cain became angry with his brother Abel. Satan put it into Cain’s mind to kill Abel, and Cain’s body wanted to kill Abel, but GOD told him:

If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.
(Gen. 4:7)

Recall that Cain made the wrong choice. He listened to Satan and his body and killed his brother. And GOD punished him for doing evil.

So remember, our body often tells us to do things. But we must use our minds to make good choices based on GOD’s word! Otherwise we end up like Esau and trade really valuable things for very invaluable things.


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