The AMI QT Devotionals from December 4-10 are written by Andy Kim. Andy, a graduate of Northwestern University and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.) currently serves as a staff at Radiance Christian Church in San Francisco. And this past November Andy got married . . . to Jane. Congratulations.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted.30 And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom. 31 Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.”32 Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” 33 Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.
Every year, America witnesses the inner savage in all humans—we call it Black Friday shopping. In the past, shoppers have actually pulled out guns but people still refused to let go of televisions and computers even as they were getting shot at. This year, a shopper threw a shoe at a poor innocent baby while trying to beat the rush. Suffice it to say, we can all agree that Black Friday shopping has taken over and destroyed the meaning of Thanksgiving. Rather than celebrating with families and friends and thinking of the years’ past blessings, people sit in tents waiting in lines, fighting one another. Over what? Just to save some money on items that will soon be outdated.
In our passage today, Esau trades his birthright for a lousy bowl of soup because of his physical hunger. During the Mosaic times, the birthright, especially of the first child, meant a double portion of the family inheritance. It was their identity as the one to carry on the family line. Growing up, I always thought that Jacob was the conniving villain and Esau was just a naïve victim. But as I read this passage carefully I realized that, although Jacob deceived his brother, Esau had a great fault of his own. He failed to recognize the value and importance of his birthright; he did not fully understand the depth of the inheritance promised to him. As a result, Esau traded away something valuable for that which would only satisfy his immediate physical need, only to regret forever.
The stories of Black Friday may seem comical, but the reality is, how often have we fallen into the same trap? How often do we chase after things of the world, putting our value and identity in them only to be disappointed? Sure, we can say that’s life and we are simply victims of it, but at what cost? May we never lose sight of our true identity and the inheritance that awaits all those who believe in the eternal value of salvation. It’s not to say other things are not important and that we shouldn’t pursue them; but it is to pursue them in light of our eternal inheritance. We all have been given something far greater than what this world could ever offer. May we never trade our identities as co-heirs to His kingdom for the fading temporary pleasures of this world.
Prayer: Father, we confess that many times we put things before You because we think it will satisfy us. However, we know that all these are temporary pleasures, for only You can truly satisfy us. Would You strengthen us in times when we are tempted to forget this truth? Help us to live our lives in light of our eternal inheritance.
Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 37
Lunch Break Study
Read Romans 8:14-17: For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Questions to Consider
- What does it mean to be led by the Spirit of God? How does this change our relationship with God?
- What does it mean for us to be adopted? What are the implications of this?
- What is the inheritance given to us as sons and daughters?
- Paul states that only those who are led by the spirit can come into a new relationship as sons of God. He contrasts this with the relationship between slaves and their masters. Slaves have no authority in their lives and must listen to their masters. Paul is referring to our state prior to salvation when we were slaves to the flesh under the law. Slaves serve their masters out of fear of being punished; but as sons, we no longer serve out of such fear. Instead, as sons, we have a lasting relationship where we address God as “Father”.
- In our modern context, the word adoption brings up images of legal papers and processes. However, commentator Warren Wiersbe writes: “The literal meaning of the Greel word is “son-placing”—the taking of a minor (whether in the family or outside) and making him or her the rightful heir. As heirs, we are then given an inheritance to His kingdom. We have been adopted into God’s family by the Spirit, and not by our own merit.
- Paul is talking about an eternal inheritance that awaits us—the glory that we will share with Christ! Note, Paul makes a distinction that such glory comes with some suffering along the way. This suffering refers to the discipline that, as believers, we are to live by (Paul speaks of such disciplined life in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27). But such discipline pales in comparison to “what is in store for us is so grand and glorious that it will be, and will feel, as though we each had alone gotten most of the glory of God” (Timothy Keller).
The 1980’s American classic Annie is a film about an orphan girl who lives under the mistreatment of Miss Hannigan, an abusive alcoholic. The story takes a turn when a billionaire decides to adopt an orphan for a week to boost his public image. Annie is chosen and her life is forever changed as she lives in a lavish house with everything at her fingertips. The story ends with the billionaire eventually adopting Annie as his own daughter. Her life is forever changed from living in a broken run down house under a terrible caretaker, to a lavish mansion under the love and care of her new father.
May we be reminded that we too were once orphans in this world. And in our hopelessness, God has adopted us as his sons and daughters. Remember we are heirs to His kingdom and we now have full access to all that is His. Spend some time reflecting on this truth.