We have had ham and bean soup, navy bean soup, and white bean and rosemary soup. We’ve had cream of potato soup, baked potato soup, and loaded baked potato soup. I’ve made bouillabaisse, chicken tortilla, pasta Fagioli, and egg drop soups. For more special occasions I have prepared shrimp bisque, French onion, and vichyssoise. We’ve warmed our bones with gumbo, mulligatawny, and clam chowder. I’ve made practically every vegetable soup there is including broccoli cheese soup, roasted tomato soup, and lentil soup. And if you want just plain soup, I have even made chicken noodle. You can have soup every week for a year and not eat the same one twice.
Not only is it cheap to make, it’s usually cheap to buy. Often the lowest priced item on a menu is a cup of soup. I can remember it less than a dollar in my lifetime. Even now it’s seldom over $3.50. So why in the world would I ever exchange a bowl of soup for something valuable?
By now your mind should have flashed back to Jacob and Esau. Jacob must have been some cook. I have seen the soup he made that day described as everything from lentils to kidney beans to meat stew. It doesn’t really matter. It was a simple homespun dish, not even a gourmet concoction of some kind.
Usually people focus on Jacob, tsk-tsk-ing about his conniving and manipulation, but think about Esau today. Yes, he was tired and hungry after a day’s hunt. But was he really going to starve? I’ve had my men come in from a day of chopping wood and say, “I could eat a horse,” but not only did I not feed them one, they would not have eaten it if I had. “I’m starving,” is seldom literal.
The Bible makes Esau’s attitude plain. After selling his birthright—his double inheritance—for a bowl of soup, Moses writes, Thus Esau despised his birthright, Gen 25:34. If that inheritance had the proper meaning to him, it would have taken far more than any sort of meal to get it away from him. As it was, that was one expensive bowl of soup!
The Hebrew writer uses another word for Esau—profane--a profane person such as Esau, who for one mess of meat sold his own birthright, Heb 12:16. That word means “unholy.” It means things pertaining to fleshly existence as opposed to spiritual, things relevant to men rather than God. It is the exact opposite of “sacred” and “sanctified.” Jacob understood the value of the birthright, and he also understood his brother’s carnal nature. He had him pegged. So did God.
What important things are we selling for a mess of pottage? Have you sold your family for the sake of a career? Have you sold your integrity for the sake of wealth? Have you sold your marriage for the sake of a few “I told you so’s?” Have you sold your place in the body of Christ for a few opinions? Have you sold your soul for the pleasure you can have here and now?
Examine your life today, the things you have settled for instead of working for, the things you have given up and the things you gave them up for. Have you made some really bad deals? Can you even recognize the true value of what you have lost? Don’t despise the blessings God has given you. Don’t sell your family, or your character, or your soul for a bowl of soup.
Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, Phil 3:17-20.