Genesis 26:14
He owned so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him.
LessonsG. Hughes, B. D.Genesis 26:14-16
No Worldly Blessing is UnalloyedF. W. Robertson, M. A.Genesis 26:14-16
The Prosperous are Subject to EnvyG. Hughes, B. D.Genesis 26:14-16
Line Upon Line, in God's TeachingR.A. Redford Genesis 26
Thus Esau despised his birthright. Strange and sad that truths so important as those bearing on eternal life, even where believed, often exercise so slight influence. Yet so it is. How many like to hear the gospel in its fullness, and to be warned against neglecting it, yet in their lives show little of its power (Ezekiel 33:32). How many live, content to know truth, forgetting that all our daily life tells for good or ill on our eternal life, and that opportunities are passing away. How many, believing that in every being there is a soul to be saved or lost, can yet see multitudes living in ungodliness without effort or even prayer for their recovery (cf. Luke 19:41). Is not the spirit of Esau in these? He is called (Hebrews 12:16) a "profane person." Yet no crime or great fault is laid to his charge. There is an attractiveness in his character. We see in him an impulsive, thoughtless man; not what would be called a bad son; his father's favorite; having some regard to his parent's wishes (Genesis 28:8, 9); but swayed by passing things, and without self-denial. Hungry and weary with the chase, he craved the food he saw (cf. Matthew 4:3). But the price? His birthright, the claim to a special benediction, the domestic priesthood (cf. Exodus 22:29), were as nothing. He did not realize their value (cf. Hebrews 11:1). The present was everything (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:32). The pleasant, genial, headlong man is pronounced "profane." Observe -

I. THE GRADUAL EFFECT OF SELF-INDULGENCE (cf. Matthew 19:24). The birthright despised not through sudden temptation or any marked step of sin, but by worldly interests taking up the thoughts. Customs and maxims of the world tend to neglecting the birthright (cf. Matthew 6:83). This is no ideal danger. No sharp line to tell when danger begins. Things perfectly allowable, even laudable, may choke spiritual life. Even in good work the mind may be so engrossed in the work itself that communion with God fades. There is need of habitual self-denial (John 6:38); of keeping guard over the tendencies of daily life; of definite aims, not passing wishes; of making personal communion with God an essential part of each day's work.

II. THE DEADENING EFFECT IN RELATION TO REPENTANCE. "Time enough, is a fatal mistake (Acts 24:25; 2 Corinthians 6:2). So far as we know Esau never repented. Even when Jacob received the blessing he was sorry, but there was no real change, no confession of error. Self was still the ruling power.

III. THE CALL TO CONSIDER OUR BIRTHRIGHT (Romans 8:17; 1 John 3:2). Not merely a future blessing. Thinking of it thus leads to its being left out of view. Now there is reconciliation, peace, spirit of adoption, the Spirit's witness in our hearts, freedom of access in prayer, and promises to be realized in growing likeness to Christ and communion with him. Few would deliberately postpone to the end of life the claiming their birthright and making sure of it, the work of repentance and faith, and the casting away what has hindered. But many without set purpose do delay. Each time the call is put away is a victory for the tempter. - M.

The Philistines envied him.
1. Great estates subject the best of men to envy.

2. Philistine spirits envy all increase of good to the Church of God (ver. 14).

3. Men fearless of God make no scruple of doing the greatest injuries to His servants.

4. All the saints right, persuades not the wicked from doing wrong.

5. A malicious spirit destroyeth that which itself needeth, only to mischief the righteous man.

6. Water-mercies are very great, therefore would the wicked take them from the just (ver. 15).

(G. Hughes, B. D.)

1. Powers as well as peasants join together to afflict the saints.

2. Worldly men in power would not suffer the godly to prosper by them.

3. Exilement is the best which wicked powers allow to saints.

4. God's greatning of His saints causeth the powers of the world to diminish them (ver. 16).

(G. Hughes, B. D.)

Isaac's prosperity was not unalloyed. He suffered from envy. Be sure of this, that for every blessing man pays a price. If the world has gained in medical skill, it has lost that simple life which made it unnecessary. If we heap possessions round us we lose quiet, we get anxiety. Every man pays a price for his advantages, for talents, for property, for high station; he bids adieu to rest, being public property. It was so with Isaac. He had great possessions, "and the Philistines envied him." We are told that he met the envy with patience, and removed from well to well. At last the Philistines desisted. Thus patience wears the world out. Endurance, meekness, the gospel spirit, this is the only true weapon against the world. Hence, Christianity can have no addition. It is final. There is nothing beyond this — "Love your enemies." Isaac like Christ had conquered by meekness; and then it was that there was shed abroad in his heart that deep peace which is most profound in the midst of storm, "the peace of God which passeth all understanding."

(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

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