“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the Grace of God. . .lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you and thereby many be defiled. . .lest there be any fornicator or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For you know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected—for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.”
Regret and the residuals of sin need not cause us to miss out on what God is still wanting to do in our lives.
There was no undoing of what was done. Esau knew he’d casually exchanged his birthright for a single serving of red beans and bread (Gen. 25:30-34). In so doing he demonstrated his contempt for that which should have been supremely important to him as the firstborn son.
Later on, his twin brother, Jacob, would steal his blessing through deception at his mother’s insistence (Gen. 27:1-29). And, no amount of pleading or weeping an ocean-full of tears could cause his father to retract the blessing that’d been given (vv.30-38).
This infuriated him. And, with his blood boiling in his veins he cried, “When father dies, I’m going to kill you, Jacob!!” (v.41). That’s why Jacob left home and headed to Haran, where he’d live for over 20 years (Gen. 27:43-31:3).
Even though Jacob had technically only stolen one thing from Esau—his blessing—Esau still accused him of “deceiving him and taking away (stealing) his birthright” (Gen. 27:36), which was not true. He willingly exchanged it for the bowl of beans and bread (25:30-34).
But, bitterness blinds one to his own sins; its only focus is upon the one who wronged him and its only desire is getting even.
No wonder the author of today’s Manna said “Look diligently (Grk. ‘episkopeo’—‘to oversee, beware of, take aim at, have regard for, etc.’) lest you fail (Grk. ‘hustereo’—‘fall short of, be deficient, be inferior, lack, be destitute, suffer loss of, etc.’) of the Grace of God.”
Does this mean “apostasy,” where one is saved and can later lose his salvation, as some would interpret Heb. 6:1-8? Or, does this mean to make sure that we don’t miss out on what God is wanting to do in/through us because of sinful choices of commission and omission?
If we truly believe that one who is born again is “sealed unto the Day of Redemption by Jesus’ Blood” (II Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13; 4:30) and is pardoned, not paroled (Rom. 5:6-11; Phil. 1:6; II Tim. 1:12b), then we must view our writer’s words as those of warning: A warning against allowing a “bitter root to dominate our life and defile our relationship with others” and a warning against treating with contempt God’s calling and blessing in our live.
Although Esau married two Canaanite wives, which grieved his parents (Gen. 26:34-35; 27:46). . .and although he’d vowed to kill Esau after Isaac’s death. . .in Gen. 33:1-10 we find a most moving account of his reunion with Jacob after 20 years. And, when their father did die, both of them assisted in his burial (35:29). Even though we can’t change the past, we can begin a new one by “looking diligently” to Jesus and daily surrendering to His Lordship.