The Sinkhole of Greed: Esau’s Erosion Part 2

 

Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore, his name was called Edom.) Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

 

Genesis 25:29-34

 

Last weekend, we shared that we’ve built our American society upon these particular actions: driven by materialism, deceived by the media, dominated by pseudo-money, and consumed with greed.

 

Our biblical case study today continues to look at the life of Esau as it is recorded in Genesis, where we see how he fell into the sinkhole of greed. We discover Esau’s excessive appetite, exchanging his birthright for a bowl of stew. We also know that his excessive appetite is stimulated by three things: lust of the eye, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life.

 

ESAU’S EGREGIOUS ACTIONS

 

Today, we’re looking at the downward spiral in Esau’s life that caused him to be stuck in the sinkhole of greed. Why would Esau give up his heritage over his hunger? What are some of the things that caused him to sink deeper into greed?

 

DRIVEN BY INSTANT GRATIFICATION

 

Esau engaged in the disastrous consequence of dismissing his divine duties as he gave into the insatiable greed within his heart. The fleshly, carnal impulses of Esau’s heart desired immediate gratification.

 

Esau wanted the bowl of stew, now, not later. Even though he was a skilled hunter and could have easily gone back to hunt, Esau did not. He caved into instant gratification.

 

Instant gratification results from impulsive decision-making—without considering the weight of the outcome of that decision.

 

DELAYED GRATIFICATION 

 

Delayed gratification says you’re willing to wait or tell yourself, “No, not now. Not at this moment.” When you can put yourself in a 24, 36, or even 48-hour window before making a decision, you’re practicing delayed gratification.

 

That’s something Esau did not do. Coupled with a lack of self-control, Esau couldn’t resist the temptation of wanting to have that bowl of stew.

 

The downward spiral into the sinkhole of greed starts with us being driven by gratification and dominated by irrational justification.

 

DOMINATED BY IRRATIONAL JUSTIFICATION

 

When you want something, you will seek to justify it, no matter how crazy or foolish it sounds. When we become irrational, we start making foolish decisions. Esau thought he was about to die of hunger, but if he had just calmed down, he probably wouldn’t have given up his birthright so easily.

 

But we all know that when we really want something, we always know how to justify it. We try to make it rational. We downplay the ramifications of our foolish decisions.

 

DOWNPLAYED THE INJURIOUS RAMIFICATIONS

 

Esau does not see the self-imposed pain he is about to bring into his own life by giving up his birthright for a bowl of stew. Truth be told, he got the bowl of stew, but that stew came with a whole lot of drama.

 

DECEIVED BY THE INHERITANCE VALUATION

 

Esau had devalued what could have been one of the greatest blessings in his life. All of us have had Esau moments where we’ve had certain opportunities that God wanted to bless us with, and yet we devalued the birthright blessing for our own bowls of stew.

 

ESAU’S ESSENTIAL APPLICATIONS

 

When we look at Esau’s life, what can we take from his life and apply to our own lives to help us when we find ourselves slowly sinking into greed’s sinkhole?

 

CONFRONT COVETOUSNESS

 

Covetousness is the attitude that says, “I want what you have, and I want it at any cost.” We see the attitude of need here, which is almost like irrational thinking. There’s a fine line between need and greed. Esau’s story is a reminder to confront our own inclinations toward covetousness. We can only confront it when we have a spirit of awareness.

 

CRAVE THAT WHICH IS CREDIBLE

 

Seek what is spiritual in substance, which is more credible than the carnal compulsions of our flesh. Let’s not be like Esau and stop craving for what is credible. Let’s not give up spiritual blessings for something temporary and trivial.

 

In Matthew 4:4, Jesus acknowledges that we need both physical bread and God’s Word. If you’re not nourishing your spiritual side, you’ll always have a weak will when greed shows up. Boost your spiritual immune system. Get to a place where you’re spiritually healthy and can withstand greed.

 

COMMITMENT TO CHARACTER

 

Impulsive decisions reveal the importance of character and integrity. Have you discerned enough to recognize when you’re not making a rational decision?

 

CULTIVATE CONTENTMENT

 

Stop allowing the impulses of immediate gratification to cause you to forget how blessed you are right now. Count your blessings!

 

Conquering greed is cultivating contentment. If the Lord doesn’t do anything else in your life, you can testify that He’s done enough already.

 

CALCULATE THE CONSEQUENCES

 

Think before you decide. If I do this now, if I get this now, what are the consequences? For every action, there’s a reaction. Give yourself space—maybe a 24, 36, or 48-hour window to think about and calculate the consequences.

 

 

CONCLUSION

 

Don’t end this message with guilt, shame, or condemnation. Start with small steps. Find a creative way to turn the tide. It will look different for everyone, but wherever God is leading you, remember Esau’s story and what not to do.

 

You should seek to cultivate contentment and not allow greed to dig a deeper hole.

 

Start with a renewed mind, and apply what you’ve learned today.

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