Monday, November 17

A Firstborn with full birthrights!!

"The LORD said to her, "Two countries are in your womb. Two nations will go their separate ways from birth. One nation will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger." When the time came for her to give birth, she had twins. The first one born was red. His whole body was covered with hair, so they named him Esau [Hairy]. Afterwards, his brother was born with his hand holding on to Esau's heel, and so he was named Jacob [Heel]. Isaac was 60 years old when they were born. They grew up. Esau became an expert hunter, an outdoorsman. Jacob remained a quiet man, staying around the tents. Because Isaac liked to eat the meat of wild animals, he loved Esau. However, Rebekah loved Jacob. Once, Jacob was preparing a meal when Esau, exhausted, came in from outdoors. So Esau said to Jacob, "Let me have the whole pot of red stuff to eat-that red stuff-I'm exhausted." This is why he was called Edom. Jacob responded, "First, sell me your rights as firstborn." "I'm about to die." Esau said. "What good is my inheritance to me?" "First, swear an oath," Jacob said. So Esau swore an oath to him and sold him his rights as firstborn. Then Jacob gave Esau a meal of bread and lentils. He ate and drank, and then he got up and left. This is how Esau showed his contempt for his rights as firstborn." Genesis 25:23-34 (GWT)

I would recommend, if you have the opportunity, to go to and download the audio for last Sunday's sermon given by Pastor Jim Combs, jr. At first, as is usually the case with most preachers and ministers I meet and respect, they at first alienate me, then show me where my humanity alienated the powerful membership I can claim within the Body of Christ.

You see, Pastor Jim is the firstborn of his family and he spoke of the firstborn 'specialness' in both the Old and New Testaments. I was born the second, or third (depending on the story and who is telling it) in my family. The second, third, or anything passed the first really isn't all that special within the community mentioned in the Old Testament stories. The firstborns were everything....and got everything. The birthright, which was essentially everything the father had to leave, or at least the best of everything in abundance. And the blessing, essentially the father's spiritual passing on of the leadership of the family.

The firstborns were also recognized as important by God Himself. In Exodus 13:2, He santicified the firstborn...making them special. In Numbers 3:13, He called the firstborn hallowed (holy). In Numbers 8:18, there is a connection between the priesthood and the firstborn. In Numbers 18:16, God said that a special price was paid for the first born....a special redemption. And, the most important figure in the 'firstborn' hall of fame is Jesus Christ, firstborn child of Mary, as mentioned in Matthew 1:25.

Firstborns......who cares!!!!?

God apparently does and adapted a culture of an entire nation to reflect that special place for the firstborns. So, my older brother Larry---a missionary with the Navigators in Germany, is the firstborn of the our family and therefore was in line (at least by biblical standards) for the best of everything, and the blessing of the leadership of the family.

Being second-born isn't all it seems to be cracked up to be......oh, I know I still have the chance of salvation (taken) and the opportunity to do the Lord's work (which I currently am 'enroute' for), but gee, nothing like getting the top of the birthright and the blessing....leaving the 'droppings' for the rest of the least, that was some of the thoughts passing through my head as I listened to this firstborn preach.....

and I wasn't too happy with his 'flaunting' of his status............

yes, I was jealous!

Pastor Jim wanted to let us know, not of his specialness (though, by discussion such was declared), but of why it is mentioned that Esau 'spurned' his inheritance.....he gave up all the specialness of the birthright AND the blessing...later in Genesis (27:35-38) Esau is cheated again by Isaac for the birthright...and Esau gets upset, because it is the second time! Maybe the birthright was something Esau wasn't willing to wait for....with his belly so hungry and famished it felt like he was near death.......but the birthright, in his mind, might have been the 'coup-de-grace' and would not leave him empty of anything...

And Isaac took it from him.......

In my mind, I was thinking....'serves him right! maybe the firstborns aren't so special after all......!"

Heck, there is even a 'special' church, mentioned in the chapter of Hebrews declaring Jesus' importance....chapter 12, verse 23 "to the general assembly (all of us) and church of the firstborn, which are written in Heaven (see even special notation!), and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect....." who got to sit with 'immeasurable' numbers of angels for this declaration.....

Of course, Pastor Jim was saving his zinger for just that particular moment.
Yeah, as the pastor began to speak, I whispered....."We've been duped!!"

Jesus, remember, is the highest of the firstborns.....the 'first' of the firstborns and worthy indeed of such status and distinction. But, as we the study of God's word, we aren't seen once we are covered in the blood of this firstborn as sinful, broken human beings but as Christ Himself, who covers all of our sins by the death He died upon a cross of wood and iron.......and other verses in the text tell us that we inherit everything that Christ Himself is allotted by His Heavenly Father...............we become firstborns.

We are the Church of the Firstborn!!!!!

We are special, santicified by the declaration of God Himself! We are hallowed, made holy by the desire of God! We are connected to the priesthood...those who utter and remember God's words, covenants, and laws.........and especially....we are redeemed especially in a spectacular way by the first of the firstborn!!!!

Unfortunately, we are treating this birthright and blessing from our Heavenly Father much in the same way that Esau saw it. Our birthright is being cast aside for the immediate satisfaction of the moment....we give our birthright away when we walk into those things which are earthly and temporary....far in contrast to the eternal satisfaction and best of the best which await eternal perspective.................

We surrender our birthright for that which we think will quench the thirst that parches our throats, we give it up for the sake of trying to quell that overwhelming need........immediate gratification for that which will not be satisfied on this earth until the 'First of the First" comes or we head to Him. The brokenness of this world cannot be filled by the 'red soup'.

We allow Satan to steal our birthright.....because we believe such things aren't as important as the immediate quelling of our drives us insane with the parchness of our throat.

And we're letting him steal our blessings too.............

God has given us special status, special consideration and the ability to do greater things than we could have ever let's take our 'firstborn' status and do the things God intended us to do with our blessings and our birthright. As we declare ourselves the "Church of the Firstborns"....let us use our blessings to bless those outside the circle, and draw them into their birthrights under the authority and gifting of Jesus Christ Himself.

Let's not let the Devil convince us that we are about to die from thirst and need to sell out on our birthright as Firstborns under Christ.

There is a famous Christian song in which the chorus is….."Hold the fort, for I am coming, Jesus signals still; Wave the answer back to heaven, By Thy grace we will!"

Let's be those valiant warriors in God's Army holding the line until He comes upon that White Horse!!!!

Never give up, never surrender!

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