Making a Trade

“How poor was Jacob’s motion, and how strange 

His offer! How unequal was th’ exchange!

A mess of porridge for an inheritance?

Why could not hungry Esau strive t’ enhance

His price a little? So much underfoot?

Well might he give him bread and drink to boot:

An easy price! The case is even our own;

For toys we often sell our Heaven, our Crown.”

Francis Quarles, (May 1592 – September 1644)

Reading this dusty old poem isn’t really my favorite thing to do. Contrary to public opinion, I don’t walk around the house quoting Shakespeare or even Milton. (Just so you know, right now I’m listening to baseball on the radio and thinking about a hotdog, with onion and mustard.)

But this brief poem (the best kind!) really resonated in me. I sensed the Holy Spirit focus me on the words, and deliver to me something special. I would like to think that this is going to happen to you as well. But that is not a certainty.

Quarles’ poem sketches out the story in Genesis 25, of Jacob and Esau. For many years I have been moderately perplexed by Esau’s actions and Jacob’s conniving. Esau seems stupid, and Jacob manipulates him.

“Look, I’m dying of starvation!” said Esau. “What good is my birthright to me now?”

 “But Jacob said, “First you must swear that your birthright is mine.” So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother, Jacob.”

“Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate the meal, then got up and left. He showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn.”

Genesis 25:32-34, NLT

The issue seems to be that I am very much like Esau. And I also seem to have the manipulative style of Jacob. I can trade off my “inheritance” as quick as anyone alive. Depending upon my mercurial moods, I will trade my supernatural peace and hope for swill. And I can do this without a second thought.

Quarles poem ends with this,

“An easy price! The case is even our own;

For toys we often sell our Heaven, our Crown.”

Toys, trinkets, trifles. I trade away the things are most precious for “swill.” But I am hoping that my heart will change, and I will stop trading off what is eternal.

ybic, Bryan

Published by Pastor Bryan Lowe

A repentant rascal with definite issues, but who is seeking to be authentic in his faith to Jesus Christ. An avid reader and a hopeful writer. Husband and father. A pastor and Bible teacher. A brain tumor survivor. Diagnosed with clinical depression, and now disabled. Enjoys life, such as it is, in Alask.a (Actually I have it pretty good.)

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