“Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. 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; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. 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.”
---End of Scripture verses---
Sometimes we need to “reach back for something extra” as the old sports cliché goes. Every so often we feel spiritually “weak” and “feeble” (verse 12)—drained from the stresses of our perpetual endurance race. It is at times like these that we need to strengthen our resolve to push ourselves forward (with God’s help of course) along the course of truth and righteousness. During our weakest moments, we run a great risk of deviating from the “straight” and narrow “path” that leads to heaven above (verse 13). Giving up may seem like the easy thing to do, but seeking the path of least resistance will only take us from bad to worse. When we return to the world we go from weak to “lame,” but if we turn to the Lord we will “be healed”.
God expects us to “pursue peace with all men” (verse 14) even when they are determined to ridicule and mistreat us. It is only natural for us to feel resentment and become bitter because of rough treatment, disappointments and unmet expectations, but this will only cause us to fall “short of the grace of God” (verse 15). The Lord has redeemed us for our purification and “sanctification,” and we will not “see the Lord” if we become embittered instead. A bitter root only produces bitter fruit. When we grow distrustful and angry because of the difficulties associated with following God, our own bitterness can cause “many” to “be defiled”. Christian beware! Pessimism is a highly contagious spiritual disease!
Esau is a prime of example of what becomes of a worldly (“immoral”) person who is only concerned with his physical comfort and the satisfaction of his natural desires. He was so short-sighted that he willingly traded the long-term future benefits of his “own birthright for a single meal” (verse 16) that provided minimal, temporary gratification. This single episode was emblematic of his approach to life, and the fallout of this one, rash decision affected the course of his life for many years to come. Later, when he lost his father’s blessing as well as his birthright, he was filled with rage and bitterness toward his brother Jacob, but he had no one to blame but himself. When he begged for a blessing of his own, it was just too late to do anything about it.
Friends, be careful of rash, foolish decisions that can set you on a course of physical and spiritual destruction. Learn from the example of Esau that it is just not worth it. But, unlike Esau, please do not learn this lesson when it is too late.
Please read Hebrews 12:18-24 for tomorrow.
Have a great day!
- Louie Taylor