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Forsaking God's Best

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
October 2, 2023 12:00 am

Forsaking God's Best

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Monday, October 2. Snap decisions in the heat of the moment can have lifelong ramifications. Today we hear a warning about forsaking God's best. Would you turn, please, to Hebrews chapter 12. Hebrews chapter 12, and I want us to look at two verses, verses 16 and 17, and the title of this message, forsaking God's best. Chapter 12 of Hebrews, verses 16 and 17, and after you find that, if you'll turn over to Genesis, chapter 25, and just hold that, because we'll go back to that in just a few moments.

But in the 11th chapter is the roll call of faith, and in the 12th chapter, the writer of Hebrews begins to talk about some other things, but he comes back to some of those people in the Old Testament again, and he says, for example, in verse 14 he's talking about following peace with all men and holiness, without which no man shall see God, and a better attitude in verse 15. Verse 16 says, Lest there be any fornicator or profane person as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For you know how that afterwards when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears. Now, here's the thing I want us to see.

There are many people today who are willing to sell off God's best for what gratifies them for the very immediate moment. Now, the best way for us to see this is to go back to chapter 25 of Genesis, if you will. If you look in verse 29, and let's read the rest of that chapter, chapter 25, and you'll recall Esau and Jacob, twins who were born, and the rift that came between them, and of course, a mom got involved in this, and so we have a little problem here, but in verse 29, and Jacob sawed pottage. Now, how many of you have ever sawed pottage? That's what I thought.

Well, let me tell you what that is. Pottage was a mixture of, it was the boiling of beans and lentils and peas, and then they would add garlic and oil to it, and the time they got it all stirred up and cooked right, it was sort of red, and it must have been a rather delicious type of dish. It doesn't sound very interesting to me at all, but it must have sounded pretty good to old Esau here because when he came in from the field, he'd been out hunting because the scripture says he was a hunter, and that's one reason his father loved him so well, he loved his venison, the Bible says. And Esau said to Jacob when he came in from the field and was very faint, feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage, for I am faint.

Therefore was his name called Edom. And Jacob said, now watch this, sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, behold, I am at the point to die, and what profit shall this birthright do to me? And Jacob said, swear to me this day, and he swore unto him, and he sold his birthright to Jacob.

Now I want us to see two or three things here. First of all, what did this birthright provide for the person who owned the birthright? Well, for that son in a Hebrew family, it meant first of all that he had the first choice of the land. He was responsible for the inheritance. In fact, the spiritual responsibility was that the one who had the birthright was the ruler of the family and of the tribe, and he was as the high priest of that family.

There are 22 special blessings that came to the one who had this particular birthright, and the sons in the nation of Israel, those who had the birthright, some had some responsibilities and some had other blessings, but there are many, many things involved in the birthright. But here comes Esau in, probably at the end of the day, and he's hot and tired and worn out and he's been hunting and he hadn't found a thing. Just an empty day, and Jacob, his very cunning, deceitful, smart brother, and if you read how Jacob operated, what God had to do to him, you'll find more probably than anybody else in the Old Testament, likenesses in your own life. You don't trust the Lord sometime and you make God promises and you wrestle with the Lord. Jacob is a beautiful example of how we struggle in our faith with the Lord to obey him and we disobey him and we say, Lord, we're going to trust you. Now where's the support? Lord, we're going to trust you.

Where's the evidence? And you see, this is what Jacob did. Well, his brother came in and I want you to notice what he said to him. Verse 31, Jacob said, sell me this day. He said, I want it right now. Sell me this day thy birthright. Now what he was asking for, he was asking for his privilege, he was asking for his position, he was asking for his priesthood, he was asking for his possessions. He was really asking for Esau's whole future and his life because to an Israelite son, it was all wrapped up in the birthright. He said, sell me thy birthright now.

Now I want you to remember this, all the people who want to buy birthrights didn't die in Jacob's day. Now what do I mean by that? Simply this, that there are people today who say the same thing to us, only they say it in a different way. They say to a young lady, give me your purity now, I want it now.

They say to a young man, give me your decision about this unethical deal now, I want it now. And we go right through life and we don't realize how many people are asking us to take God's second best, to forsake God's future and to forsake his best for our life by making decisions that undercut, undermine and divert God's purpose in our life. And you see the world keeps clamoring for us, give me your birthright now. Now they cannot take away our salvation, but the unbelieving world in their temptations, in their sensuality, they can tempt and try and put Christians in a position that if we're not strong, we'll be willing to give up God's desire for our life. We're willing to forsake the will of God for our will.

We want something now and that's what they want now. He said, give me your birthright now. And Esau said, behold, now watch this because here's the point you don't want to forget.

Esau said, behold, I'm at the point to die and what profit shall this birthright do to me? Now here's what he say, he made two mistakes and here's one mistake you don't want to make. Are you listening? You don't want to confess in the presence of the enemies of God your weakness at the moment.

Now let me tell you what I did not say. I did not say you should never confess your weakness. I think when Christians, believers, when you have a friend you can confess your weaknesses to, or some of them you may want to confess to many people, but you see the one person you don't want to confess your weakness to is someone who's in the process of tempting you at the very moment. Because you see one of Esau's mistakes was to say to Jacob, well I am tired and worn out and weary and besides that I've been thinking about this whole idea. And what is he saying when he says, and what profit shall this birthright do to me? What he's saying is, I'm going to die one of these days and then what difference will it make anyway? First of all, he confessed at the wrong time the things he'd been thinking.

You be careful who you confess your thoughts before because there are many people who will take you up on your confession and will put it to you and before long you will have fallen in the temptation and sin and disobedience to God because they caught you in a weak moment. So he says, he says, I am at the point to die and what profit shall this birthright do to me? Now with that in mind, the fact that the birthright was his whole life, his future, his possessions, his priesthood, his priority in the family, his rulership in the family, all that God had provided through the Jewish family belonged to him. But he made some mistakes. Now Esau was still in the family, but he didn't have what God intended for the one who owned the birthright to have.

So I want you to get these four things down. Why will any person forsake God's best for something far less? First of all, because they attempted to think of the present and not of the future.

Jacob said to him, Esau, sell it to me now. And what was he thinking about? He wasn't thinking about priesthood of his family. First of all of the choice of land, all of his possessions and all the prominence that he would have as head of the family.

The only thing he was thinking about at the moment he had his blinders on. He was only thinking of food to gratify the flesh and he was willing to choose that at the moment forsaking all the blessing of the future. And how many times will Satan tempt us at that point? And that is to make a decision based on the present and not on the future. But my friend, life's not that way.

Life must be lived today and tomorrow, the next day and next week, next month, next year, in 10, 20, 30, 40 years. The second thing I want you to notice here, a profane person is Esau who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. What did he do? The second mistake he made was he focused on the flesh and not on the spirit. He wasn't thinking about what Jehovah God wanted him to do. He wasn't thinking about his birthright. He wasn't thinking about the privilege and the honor. He wasn't thinking about the spiritual responsibility.

He wasn't thinking about glorifying God. What was he thinking about? Just one thing, gratifying his desire now.

And you see, this is where most people get in trouble. They want to gratify the flesh and they want to gratify it now. And you see, spiritual maturity says, I can wait for God's timing in whatever I want. But you see, the world says, whatever you want, get it now, get whatever you want, whatever feels good, whatever satisfies, whatever is going to bring you contentment when they don't even know what contentment is, get it now. Spiritual maturity says, I will take God's best and I'm willing to wait for God's timing. Esau said, thinking not of the future but of the present, not of spiritual things, not of how sacred his birthright was, but only the flesh, he says, I'll take it now. The third mistake, and that is he made a crucial decision in a moment of physical and probably emotional weakness.

And I want to challenge you, my friend, be careful when you make crucial decisions in your life. He made a very crucial decision. The Bible says he was faint when he came in, tired, weary, probably discouraged, don't know how many trips he'd had and had killed nothing. And here he is coming home again and here's his brother inside and clean and here he is sweaty and dirty and tired and worn out and discouraged and is thinking about this birthright that belongs to him and he can't enjoy that now and so what's the use of it all? How many times have you been tempted to tell God that? What's the use of it all? Why should I struggle and work and beat my head against the stone wall? Man, I might as well just live it up and just enjoy life.

Sure, if you want to forget about the future and if you only want to think about the flesh and not the spirit. And you see the problem was he made a very crucial decision at the wrong time. God's people need to be very, very careful when they make important decisions.

There's a fourth thing I want you to notice here. For one morsel of meat he sold his birthright. Now think about that.

That is, let's put it this way. For one bowl of vegetable soup he gave up his inheritance. What would you say to a man who comes into his brother and he's hungry and he says, brother, dad has left me thirteen million dollars plus all this land, plus all of these possessions and all of this but I'm so hungry if you just give me one good old bowl of southern vegetable soup with crackers and iced tea you can have it all. You know what you'd say?

You'd say he's the biggest fool you'd ever seen. But I'm going to tell you folks who are doing worse than that. When a woman gives up her purity just because somebody else wants to satisfy their desire. When a man gives up his honesty and his integrity and his loyalty to Jesus Christ and his devotion to him to make a dishonest buck. When a young person chooses to get married instead of following the will of God, going into the ministry, how absolutely foolish people are.

Decisions that they make not based on wisdom and knowledge and understanding but based on the gratification of the moment now. And you see one of the mistakes he made here was this. His focus here was on what? His focus was on the material and not on the spiritual. He wasn't looking to God, he was looking at the thing before him.

And you see if we're not careful that's exactly what Satan will do. He said, how can I always go on my focus on Jesus Christ? Well my friend listen, if you get on your knees in the morning and get in this book and get your focus right, you see if you wear glasses you have to put them on and adjust them. Or you who wear contacts you very meticulously put them in to be sure they're just right and then you can see.

All right? You know why we don't focus right spiritually? It's because we don't take time to adjust our spiritual eyesight. Then we wonder why things are foggy to us. You see he wasn't focused on what was real.

He was focused on the unreal. Soup can be replaced. You see the problem is this, now watch this. Every single thing Satan offers you to get you to do his will, God's going to give it to you only better. It may not be the same thing.

It may not be the same way but it's going to be better and it's going to be fulfilling and continuing and Satan's choice won't be. Get this last thing down. One of the mistakes that Esau made that so many people make is this. He took the line of least resistance. He took the line of least resistance. Now listen, taking the line of least resistance is what makes men and rivers go crooked. Sometimes the pressure gets on you and you know what God wants you to do. You know exactly what the Lord wants you to do.

And the line of least resistance is to be disobedient. And you see here's what we do all the time. We explain it and we do all kinds of rationalizing. We say, now Lord, you know how I feel. And we tell him all this stuff and then we deliberately and knowingly take a step out of the will of God and sometimes it is irrevocable. Sometimes the decision that's made can never be changed again. And the only thing you can do is pick up the pieces because you have forsaken God's best for something the world has to offer and it won't even satisfy in the beginning or the end. Let me ask you this. When the devil tempts you, are you prone to take the line of least resistance and just go ahead and do what he tempts you to do? Then you remember this. That's why men and rivers go crooked.

They just take the line of least resistance. And you go all through this Bible and especially that 11th chapter of Hebrews, all through these saints of God. Why do you think their names are in this book? Their names are in this book, in the 11th chapter of Hebrews, the roll call of faith because these were men and women who refused to take the line of least resistance and stood even in the midst of trials and heartaches and hardships and suffering, even unto death.

Their names are in the book because their devotion to Jesus Christ exceeded their devotion to the world. They were thinking about the future, not the present. They were thinking about spiritual things, not fleshly. They were thinking about the responsibility and the privilege and the prominence that God will provide for them when they get to heaven, children of God, children of the king, not this little earthly short life we have. You see, if we just think about what it's all about, it's so short. Think about spending your life in such a short, cramped period of whether it's 40, 60, 70, 85, or 100 years.

A hundred years compared to eternity is like one grain of sand in the middle of the Pacific on the bottom. And you want to risk all of that for one little old satisfaction that you think will satisfy you for the moment, and it's because you've got Satan's blinders on and you cannot see the truth. When Satan tempts you with his choice, you ask yourself this question, what will this do for me for the future? Is this spiritual or fleshly? Is my focus on God, or is it on myself? Is this the line of least resistance, or am I willing to stand firm and say, no, that I choose the Lord God Almighty and His way for my life? Listen, you can never go wrong choosing God's right. You can never go wrong, but you can't ever be right choosing what's wrong.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-02 05:48:40 / 2023-10-02 05:56:18 / 8

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