Sunday, May 31, 2009

Repentance:Study Question

“Why did Esau find no place of repentance for simply selling his birthright while David found repentance for adultery and murder?” (See Hebrews 12:16–17 and Psalms 51.)

As always, I learned so much when I was looking for the answer. You know, the more I study, the more I realize how little I really know and how true it is that the Bible truly is a Living Book.

A little background information, (because this is what I enjoy.) I do not want to just read the scripture, but think about that time. Why is what is being said, important? Esau was the older brother to Jacob. The oldest son inherited the birthright which would entitle him to double portion of the property and assets and to leadership and responsibility. As well as to additional spiritual responsibility for the coming generations. Normally the eldest son followed their father's line of work, which would have been to follow Isaac as a pastor. (But we do not see that with Esau). Esau had been out hunting and as most outdoorsmen, came home famished. Jacob had a delicious soup ready and waiting and offered him a bowl of porridge for Esau's birthright. And Esau agreed.

Sounds pretty simple. Two grown men made a trade, a little horsetradin' is what we call it round here. So why is what Esau did so wrong 1st of all? First, it was his lack of consideration for his or his future generations loss of their blessings. His lack of self control and need for that immediate desire to be filled, his lack of responsibility and maturity that seemed to overshadow his lifestyle. The scriptures tell us that Esau was a cunning hunter. Not that he needed to be for survival. So we can guess that it was more likely for entertainment purposes. Much like my own husband. In Genesis, it states that he despised his birthright. Just the thought of the additional responsibilities made his sick.

Oftentimes, I had thought of Jacob as the bad guy in this story as he tricked his hungry brother then Jacob tricked his father for the blessing of the birthright. Yet, it is this same Jacob that is listed in Hebrews 11, the Hall of Fame for those with faith. At the sake of jumping all over the place, I found it interesting that Jacob was the deceiver yet honored. Why did he want the birthright? For the interest of the material blessings? I don't think so, he was a quiet, tent minded man as scriptures tell us. And he continued to use his life to followed God. Jacob had to learn though that he needed to wait for God to open the doors for the right timing rather than pushing ahead and trying to make things happen against God's wishes.

I can identify with both these men. Esau for not wanting to do the hard things in life and take the easy road at times and for Jacob for trying to push ahead and make things happen even if that means taking matters into my own hands.

The difference between the two brothers was that Jacob had a desire, much like David to live a life pleasing to God. In Psalms 51 we see the heart plea of David to God to forgive him. David repented for the only right reason, he wanted that relationship with God to be restored, he did not want separation from his Lord. He ached with hurt at what he had done. This is the difference between David and Esau. While Esau wept tears over his mistake, they were not tears of repentance at the damage he had caused but tears over the lack of material possessions he would not be gaining. Even at the time he regretted his decision, he hadn't turned his life around, he was still living in a way that the scriptures referred to him at a fornicator and a profane person.

True repentance is shown in our actions to not only plead for mercy from God and be broken from our sin but then to turn and change our lives.

I got a great question on this from a friend, "Is there forgiveness without repentance? I think we have to come before God with a repentant heart before He wipes the sins away. So, are we called to forgive without repentance? I've always heard that we are supposed to "forgive and forget" regardless of how the other person feels or whether they regret their actions. However, I'm wondering how we can be called to something so unnatural when that is not the way that God Himself functions. I know that unforgiveness hurts us, but are there "levels of forgiveness?" Can I release a person to God without absolving their actions?"

Great question! I'll pray and study on this. As I hadn't thought about this before from this perspective.

“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).


Anonymous said...

So deep. Love this post

Sun-Kissed Savages said...

I agree. Love it. Update me after you study and pray about it. Naturally, I was praying about these same questions last night. ;-)


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