Summary: Esau hungered for stew but we are commanded to hunger for justice. This sermon takes a look at the results of hungering for the right thing.
John and his friend George went golfing together one Sunday morning, as they had for many years, while their family was at church. This particular Sunday was Palm Sunday, the Sunday that celebrates the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. This led to a very empty golf course with only John and George playing. They were fanatics about their golf game. Later that day, John returned home completely exhausted and plopped down in his easy chair. His wife was quite concerned since he was more exhausted than usual after his Sunday golf game.
She asked him if something went wrong with the game. He replied, "No, hon, I had the best game in years!
As a matter of fact, I started out the first three holes at 4 under par, including a hole-in-one on the 3rd."
"So why are you so worn out?" she asked.
"Well, George had a heart attack and died on the 4th hole."
"What!? Are you so exhausted from trying to save him?"
He said, "No, honey, it was quick and there was nothing anyone could’ve done. But after that, it was just hit the ball, and drag George, hit the ball, and drag George.”
Today is Palm Sunday. Today marks the day that Jesus rode on a donkey into Jerusalem with people praising his name and laying palm branches before him as a sign of honor. Palm Sunday, as we refer to it, will be the best day He has that week. By Friday He will have been beaten, tortured, and crucified. However, also within this week He will be resurrected from the dead.
Two really great things come from his resurrection. First, the guarantee of eternal life. And secondly the indwelling Holy Spirit. Indwelling meaning He lives within us. He comes as a teacher, a helper, and a guide. But even more so He comes to give us power.
Right now perhaps you have caught a whiff of some chili cooking for our chili cook-off. It can be distracting. Perhaps you are trying to come up with a plan to sneak out and get some. That’s why it is sitting in here under everyone watchful eye. But also it’s here to make you hungry.
Hunger can be a good thing or a bad thing. Hunger is motivated by a need to survive. When you body’s cells begin to be depleted of energy, your brain begins to send messages to activate signals of a need to be fed, like a growling stomach for example. How you react to that need can be acceptable or devastating. Let’s look at Bad hunger
Genesis 25:29-34 “One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry. Esau said to Jacob, ‘I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew!’ (This is how Esau got his other name, Edom, which means ‘red.’)
‘All right,’ Jacob replied, ‘but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.’
‘Look, I’m dying of starvation!’ said Esau. ‘What good is my birthright to me now?’
But Jacob said, ‘First you must swear that your birthright is mine.’ So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother, Jacob.
Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate the meal then got up and left. He showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn.”
Hunger got the best of Esau that day. He was tired and starving. In fact he was starving to death. Nothing he possessed was worth having over his hunger. That included giving away the rights to 1/3 of his father’s possessions and his father’s blessings.
Hunger from oppression would get the best of the nation of Israel this week over 2000 years ago. They were tired and starving to death for freedom. They expected Jesus to become their king ad overthrow their Roman oppressors. But instead they saw a man helpless and weak. Jesus could do nothing for them. So they were willing to give away the Father’s possessions and blessings to appease those who oppressed them.
Then there is the good hunger.
Matthew 5:6 “God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.”
Let’s analyze this verse. First let’s talk about justice. Often this word evokes a sense of people getting what they deserve as determined by law or our opinion. Mostly it’s used in a negative sense. The “they had it coming” kind of justice.
But this justice is more about us than them. This justice is the act of doing what is in agreement with God’s standards and actions. I am not responsible for this type of justice to be meted out on you. This justice is between God and me. This justice is a state of me being in a proper relationship with God. In order for me to achieve this justice God sent the Holy Spirit to teach, help, and guide me to discover justice. And then He empowers me to live this justice out in my life. Now my actions can be in agreement with God’s standards and his actions.