“So [Esau] sold his birthright to Jacob. And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright” (Genesis 25:33b-34, NKJV).
An awful lot is spoken about rights these days. But even with all this talk about rights, one of the glorious truths Americans need to recover is that our rights come from our Creator. A young Alexander Hamilton, while he was still in college, wrote that:
“The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and they can never be erased or obscured by a mortal power.”
How would things be different if we recognized that our freedom is a gift from God? I’m saddened to say that recent history proves we have too lightly esteemed our birthright of liberty.
Remember the tragic story of Esau? He was willing to give up his birthright to his brother, Jacob, in exchange for a bowl of stew, proving he estimated his birthright to be less valuable than mere food provisions.
Just like Esau, our nation has made the devil’s bargain. In recent years, we have readily traded away our birthright of liberty for the proverbial bowl of soup, which in our context consists of government benefits and the sense of security that those benefits provide. Instead of living consistently with the fact that our help comes from Christ, we have increasingly transformed civil government into a false messiah that pretends to be our nanny, our protector, and our provider.
As freemen, we cannot not allow ourselves to continue down this path. We have a responsibility to preserve the blessings of liberty for the next generation. During the lowest point of the American War for Independence, when all seemed lost for the patriot cause, John Adams wrote to his wife:
“Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.”
God will hold us to account if we despise this blessed inheritance, for which John Adams and so many other Americans sacrificed their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. Patrick Henry once told Virginians to “guard with jealous attention the public liberty.” His exhortation should ring in our ears and hearts, too.
PRAYER. Lord, our nation has forgotten that our help comes from you, not government. Please forgive us. And may I never forget that it is my responsibility to steward the blessings of liberty for the next generation. In the name of Jesus, our protector and provider, we pray. Amen.