Like Esau, Israel didn’t respect or think as precious the birthright of the firstborn. Israel, the first nation to be birthed by God, rebelled against Him and exchanged God, the Most High, for human kings and other gods. When Jesus, their Messiah, came to them to help them regain their rights into God’s kingdom, they didn’t recognize Him and eventually sold their firstborn birthrights, not for lentil stew but for 30 pieces of silver. So God extended His love and grace to include those outside the nation of Israel so that to all who received Jesus as Lord and believed in His name, to them would go the firstborn birthrights, and they would inherit God’s kingdom.
My family and I are celebrating Thanksgiving on Sunday because we can’t all be together on Thursday. I’ve been cleaning and cooking this week, and my thoughts have been leaning toward thankfulness. This morning, I told God I was thankful that He had extended the rights of the firstborn outside the nation of Israel so that I could become a child of God and receive an inheritance into His kingdom through Jesus Christ. Because I received and believed, I have Jesus living in me—“Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27, NIV)—and I have eternal life. But that is only one part of my inheritance. Another part is the divine power available to me to help me defeat my self-centeredness and my stubborn will. Divine power to help me defeat destructive thoughts that war against my mind and my soul. Divine power that destroys my compulsive and addictive tendancies so that I may live free of them. And divine power so that I may live beyond myself and extend God’s loving mercy, grace, and compassion.
I am also thankful that I have a sense of destiny, of usefulness, of purposefulness, and of being well loved by my God. I didn’t have this sense seven years ago. Seven years ago I thought I was useless, incompetent, unloved, forsaken. All was darkness and fear. Then my God stepped in—honoring my commitment to Him in my youth—and saved me through the power of His Spirit living in me. I didn’t know He was still there until He put a light in my darkness. I thank God today that Jesus is still my Light. He shines on in my heart and mind so that darkness and fear may never take hold of me again. I have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season.