Useful Bible Studies > Hebrews Commentary > chapter 12

How Esau sold his right to have a relationship with God

Hebrews 12:16

Esau was the older of Isaacís two sons; his brother was Jacob. You can read how Esau lost his rights as the first son of Isaac in Genesis 25:29-34.

Esau was hungry, and he did not care about his rights. Jacob had food, and strongly desired those rights. That was how Esau sold his rights for a single meal.

If those rights were property or money, then Esau would have just been foolish. But Esau was Abrahamís grandson and Isaacís son. God had made promises to Abraham and Isaac about the future of that family. Those promises could have been for Esauís benefit Ė but he sold them.

So Esau sold his right to have a relationship with God. That was a very terrible thing to do. And Esau did it because he wanted food. He allowed his desires to rule his life.

The author compares Esau with a fornicator. A fornicator is someone who has wrong sex. Sex is wrong when it is against Godís law. If a fornicator continues to do that wrong behaviour then, like Esau, he allows his desires to rule his life.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 is very clear. A person who allows evil desires to rule his life cannot enter heaven. But many people who have done these evil things will be in heaven. Christ died so that God can forgive evil people (Romans 5:8). But they must turn to him. In other words, they must confess their evil deeds to God. They must invite him into their lives. And with his help, they can stop their wrong behaviour.

But if people refuse to do these things, God will not forgive them. Like Esau, they will lose their right to benefit from Godís promises.

Next part: When must people repent? (Hebrews 12:17)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.