The Sinkhole of Greed: Esau’s Erosion (Esau’s Excessive Appetite)
Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore, his name was called Edom.) Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.
The sinkhole of greed is a life-threatening sinkhole. It is not just ubiquitous, but often goes undetected as it unfolds around us. It is far-reaching and detrimental, not only to our lives but to those around us.
The spiritual sinkhole of greed has ruined individuals and their relationships by prioritizing personal gain over the well-being of others. Many relationships have eroded because of greed.
Greed is also the culprit behind financial instability and insecurity, as some have engaged in risky financial investments or behavior due to greedy impulses.
Greed contributes to poor decision-making as well. Clouded judgment leads to bad decisions driven by a desire for personal gain. Some fail to see the long-term consequences of their decisions and even overlook ethical concerns.
Those who find themselves in the sinkhole of greed suffer from what I call CDD. CDD is Contentment Deficit Disorder, and those with CDD live in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction characterized by this "I need more" mentality.
Those plagued with CDD are unable to experience contentment and genuine satisfaction. They have an insatiable impulse for more and often neglect their personal well-being as they prioritize external success and material possessions.
In pursuit of the mighty dollar, they find themselves working five, six, or seven jobs at the detriment to their physical health. It's only so long they can burn the candle on both ends before there's nothing left to burn. As they run on the unending hamster wheel of life, they inevitably seek more and more.
Those stuck in the sinkhole of greed are more inclined to isolation and loneliness—finding themselves disengaged and neglecting meaningful connections.
When you slip into the sinkhole of greed, the big telltale sign is that you compromise ethical values.
Driven by materialism
When you dissect American culture, you can see it is driven by materialism. It's the culture of more, of better, of faster. Countless are driven by the obsession with materialism. From pulpit to pew, we can all find ourselves driven by materialism. Often, our whole identity is attached to a symbol or label.
Dominated by pseudo-money
Don't have money? There's easy credit. This is a trap that can easily enslave you with debt once you avail yourself of it. All those credit cards are mere illusions to keep you spending money you may not have. The next thing you know, you're deeply enslaved in debt.
Deceived by the propaganda of media
Media and advertising play a potent role in fueling the consumerism mindset of Americans. Today, we can't make a phone call without an ad popping up. Worse, we have to pay to get ads taken off our phones. We're bombarded with crafty messages saying we need this or that, tricking us into believing we need whatever they're selling.
Driven by consumption of greed
The bottom line is these are all designed to feed greed. We are not alone, though. Esau was a man who slipped into the sinkhole of greed. His story? Selling his birthright for a bowl of soup.
Esau's birthright signified the spiritual and material inheritance that belonged to the firstborn. In this case, it was Esau. However, he valued his immediate gratification and temporal needs more than the long-term spiritual blessing that came with his birthright. He prioritized his hunger over his heritage.
Esau slipped further into the spiritual sinkhole of greed when he married foreign women against his parents (and God's) desire to marry a woman from the lineage of Abraham. His marriage to two Hitite women was believed to be the root of his materialism and his need for more. This possibly also inflamed his bitterness against his brother, Jacob.
Esau's greed blinded him to the spiritual significance of his choices, leading him away from God and His blessings. Esau's life is a cautionary tale highlighting the danger of succumbing to greed and how greed can consume one's heart, leading us further away from God.
ESAU'S EXCESSIVE APPETITE
Esau had a disorder in his flesh that he could not get under control. In a moment of weakness, he chose to satisfy his temporary fleshly hunger over preserving his spiritual heritage. It's a dire warning to us not to permit our physical desires to outweigh our spiritual priorities.
As it says in Scripture, Esau's excessive appetite caused him to exchange his birthright for a bowl of lentil stew. This act plays a critical role in understanding how the flesh and carnality of our hearts can cause us to forfeit God's blessings and favor.
As the firstborn of Isaac and Rebecca, Esau was the rightful heir of his father's blessings and birthright—due to receiving his father's double portion. But Esau gave up his authority over the family, and he also gave up the spiritual responsibility of preserving the covenant God had established with his ancestors.
What an expensive bowl of soup to give up a double portion of what his father, Jacob, had. If you didn’t know, Jacob was rich. Esau gave all this up because he couldn't control his appetite.
We may have different appetites, but we all have something that tempts and tantalizes our flesh. There's always something attractive and alluring enough to cause our flesh to cave in a moment of vulnerability.
This greedy behavior set Esau on a path that ended with him failing to recognize the long-term consequences of his actions, all for a moment of immediate gratification.
Let's peel back the layers and see from a practical perspective what happened to Esau. Knowing this can help us become victorious when we find ourselves in vulnerable moments.
Lust of the eye
The Bible says that Esau saw the bowl of stew. Let's face it, our eyes get us in trouble. We've seen mention of this when the psalmist asks God to watch over his eyes.
For example, look at the layout of our grocery stores. They’re designed to catch our attention and influence us to buy something we didn't plan for. Because of the layout and positioning of items, we're seeing ribeyes and peaches when we had just planned to buy dish detergent. Millions of dollars are spent on the psychology of a shopper. We see this at play on a massive scale today.
Lust of the flesh
From the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh evolves. You see something and then think that "you need this." Slowly but surely, you believe you must have it and more.
Pride of life
Now, you firmly believe that you've got to have it because your sense of importance is attached to having that something. You want it because you don't have it. Or, at least, don't have it in that color. Seeing that there's something that you don't have makes you want it so bad. We are tricked into believing that certain objects elevate our self-importance.
Please don't allow this message to make you feel guilty about having things. There's nothing wrong with enjoying life. But you can’t allow your enjoyment to become your enslavement.
Set up a plan that doesn't set you back. Be careful of enjoying life too much and making short-term decisions without understanding the long-term consequences.
Next week, we're diving deeper into the sinkhole of greed and learning how to get out of it from a biblical perspective.
Lord, you know our hearts and how we're stuck in the sinkhole of greed. Help us find a balance between the enjoyment of life and the enslavement of things.
You have come that we might have life and have it to the full. You've given all things for our enjoyment but not for our enslavement. Help us identify the moments where the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life drive our decisions.
Free us from Contentment Deficit Disorder so that we might live a fulfilled and meaningful life in you. May we find our identity not in labels but in You.