Blog 365 · Whispers of Faith

Are You Seeking the Blessing with Tears?

This summer I studied Hebrews and memorized Hebrews 12 as I did so. As I meditated on the verses, I thought long and hard about verses 16 and 17 that describe Esau and his downfall.

I used to question what was so incredibly sinful about what Esau had done – apart from caring about his birthright so little that he gave it away for a single meal. But afterward, when he sought it again, wouldn’t that be what most people would do?

But verse 17 is very specific – “Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears.”

And the more I meditated on it and studied it, I suddenly realized – Esau wasn’t seeking God with tears, he was seeking God’s blessing with tears. He didn’t want God Himself, only what God could give him. And this is where his sin was found – in a heart with motives that were twisted toward himself. He didn’t care about doing the right thing so much as he cared about getting what he wanted when he wanted it.

The implications for my own life were clear as I thought deeply about this. I have done this myself so many more times than I care to admit (actually, I battle this on a daily basis). My heart is easily captivated with selfishness, so that I weep with the desire for the blessing that seems just out of reach. I wrestle with wanting something so good, but that hasn’t been granted to me.

And I am reminded again and again – that thing might be good, but it isn’t the best good that I could have. The best good is God Himself, and if I have that, everything else is simply frosting on the cake. I don’t even deserve the best good in this world, so what makes me think I deserve any other blessings?

Esau satisfied his physical hunger by giving up his birthright – and in a sense, his spiritual relationship with God. And when his physical hunger was satisfied, his spiritual hunger was left wanting. Because truly, what he was seeking was not his relationship with God – it was all the other blessings that come from being the firstborn.

And God said no. No, you may not selfishly and greedily toss aside your birthright and all of its privileges and then ask for it back when you realize what you’ve lost. No, you may not seek your own ways and think you can fit God’s ways in around it. No, you may not seek earthly blessings in place of Me and think that it’ll all work out if you weep hard enough.

I am so challenged by this as I consider my own heart and desires. It is a daily battle to bring my desires into line with God’s and fight off the selfish desires for earthly blessings alone. Satan knows where to attack my vulnerabilities, and he will do so ruthlessly. I must be prepared when the ache comes and the tears flow, that I have to turn that ache and those tears over to the God of the universe and ask Him to make my desire for Him stronger than any other.

Because it’s not wrong to ask for those blessings – but it is wrong to want them more than you want God. It’s not wrong to have desires for good things – but it is wrong to idolize them and pursue them in desperation at any cost. The tears are not wrong – but the misplaced hope and affections for the things you think will satisfy are wrong.

When I get to the end of my rope and I feel that thirst inside of me for the blessings of this life that I don’t have, I have to remember to seek the Lord through my tears. In the end, it is Him and Him alone who will satisfy – not the hope of those blessings. They may be beautiful and they may be rich, but they were never meant to take the place of our Savior.

He loves us too much to give us anything less than His best for us – and His best for us is only Himself always.
(my apologies if I’m misquoting someone here … I know that is not an original thought).

The warning from Hebrews is clear – we must not end up like Esau – without a love and desire for God. We must not carelessly throw away our dearest thing in life – our relationship with God. We must not sacrifice the seeking of God for the seeking of His blessings.

There is so much richness in store for us if we wait upon the Lord. Are we going to make that our first priority and deepest love? More blessings will come from that than any other earthly reward. We must pray fervently for that kind of desire, and not cease in our seeking of it. For God loves to answer that kind of prayer.

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