In Genesis chapter 25, we read of Esau who sold his birthright to Jacob in exchange for a bowl of red pottage. But in chapter 27, Esau was whining to get the firstborn blessing, who was taken by Jacob. Esau wept and was furious for not getting the firstborn blessing.
Why was Esau so sad and angry when the firstborn blessing was given to Jacob, whereas before he himself gave his birthright to Jacob?
Birthright is a right given to the firstborn, which contains:
1. The right to be a leader in worship and family (Inherit the duties and responsibilities of his father or to function as a father).
2. The right to receive a double portion of blessing (Inherit wealth of his father two times more than the others). Or we can refer it as great blessings.
So it can be concluded that the contents of birthright consist of 2 parts: Duties or responsibilities, and blessings.
When Esau was weary after returning from the field, he really wanted to eat the red pottage cooked by Jacob, and then he asked for it. Jacob wanted to give the red pottage but with one condition, Esau must give him his birthright. Without any hesitation, Esau gave his birthright to his brother.
Actually, what was in Esau’s mind? Why he so easily gave his birthright to his brother? But then when his birthright blessing was taken by Jacob, he became so sad and angry. Esau problem is: He separates the responsibility of being a leader and the double portion blessing.
When Esau thought about birthright, he only thought about the responsibilities of continuing his father’s duties and responsibilities. He didn’t want them, because for him to continue the duties and responsibilities as a leader was a heavy burden and troublesome.
That’s why he sold his birthright to Jacob, saying, “I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?”
But when Isaac wanted to give the firstborn blessing to him, he was excited, he was alive.
And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his eldest son, and said unto him, My son: and he said unto him, Behold, here am I. And he said, Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death: Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison; And make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die (Genesis 27:1-4).
Esau forgot that firstborn blessing was part of the birthright he had sold to Jacob. Because he had handed the duties and responsibilities to Jacob, it was not fair if he received the blessings. The duties and responsibilities had been handed over to Jacob; it’s only natural that the blessings were also given to him.
Many Christians act like Esau. When receiving duties and responsibilities, they want to die, but when they receive blessings, they immediately become alive and excited.
When their pastor talks about duties and responsibilities as Christians, they respond as if they are about to die. But when their pastor talks about the blessings the Lord has provided for Christians, they become alive and excited.
This is what Esau and most Christians don’t know: The responsibility and blessing cannot be separated. Every time God gives a responsibility to do, He also gives His blessing.
Every time He gives His blessing, there’s a responsibility. The amount of responsibility is proportional to the magnitude of blessing given.
The firstborn is given a double portion blessing or two parts of everything that belongs to his father because he bears double portion responsibility as well, which is to become a leader among his siblings.
Notice the blessings released from Isaac to Jacob that was supposed to be given to Esau:
And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed: Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine (=blessings): Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother’s sons bow down to thee (=responsibility as a leader): cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee (Genesis 27:27-29).
So in blessings received by Jacob, there are duties and responsibilities in them. This is not understood by Esau and most Christians.
I give another example:
Now the LORD had said unto Abram, “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee (=responsibility). And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed (=blessing)” (Genesis 12:1-3).
Even in Matthew 25: 14-30, when Jesus gave the parable of the kingdom of heaven, He also expressed the link between the material blessing or wealth with responsibility,
“For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them” (Matthew 25:14-19).
God gives wealth to each person according to his ability. Ability to do what? The ability to carry out his responsibility. Maybe at first we think that God is not fair by giving unequal wealth to everyone.
But at the end of the story we know, why that person was only given one talent. Because if a person can’t multiply one talent, he can’t multiply five talents.
So when God gives wealth, He also gives responsibility. And one day He will ask for our accountability, it means demanding accountability from us with all He has given in our lives, both blessing and responsibility.
So the relation between responsibility and blessing is: in the eyes of God, blessing and responsibility are one, cannot be separated. You cannot receive His blessing but refuse His responsibility. Do your responsibility and accept your blessing! Accept your blessing and do your responsibility!