Ruth: 1:20-21; The doctrine of bitterness, part 18 - dealing with failure, Esau vs. Peter.

Title: Ruth: 1:20-21; The doctrine of bitterness, part 18 - dealing with failure, Esau vs. Peter.  


Heb 12:14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.


Heb 12:15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;


Heb 12:16 that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal.


Esau became quite bitter. The writer mentions Esau as a prime example of coming short of the grace of God, i.e. not accepting or appropriating all that God had given him.


Col 3:5

Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.


The word immoral, as we have seen in Colossians, is in relation to the old man. It refers to all sexual sins. Esau was not a fornicator, although he did choose wives for himself against his parent's wishes, but he was definitely godless.


"godless" - be,bhloj [bebelos] = lit. to cross the threshold. That which is outside or public as opposed to inside and sacred. Profane (from Latin - in front of the church).


Fane is the Latin word for church and the prefix pro means in front of or before it. The imagery is that the sacred word is inside the church (hopefully) and out on the sidewalk in front is the godless chatter of the populace.


The Greek word bebelos would then come to mean he who tramples upon spiritual matters. Esau certainly did this in Gen 25.


So many in the world are doing this today, and more so in our nation than ever before. Secularism has taken hold of the last few generations. They believe everything to be relative and nothing to be absolute. They believe that there is no absolute truth and no absolute source of the things of life like love, families, morality, ethics, civics, justice, righteousness, or death. They claim to be wise, but they are standing in front of the church, so to speak, trampling on spiritual matters. However, they do claim to be spiritual, but their spirituality is based on materialism or earthliness. And so, their so-called religion is pointed toward transforming your secular life, meaning they want to dictate what you do with your money, your time, your views on science and education, etc. and they pursue this with religious ferocity. A secularist is often a relatively moral person, but because they reject the grace of God, they are ungodly or trample spiritual matters.


Coming short of the grace of God involves both personal impurity (immoral) and failure to lay hold of the blessings available (godless).


Esau was the first-born son, the eldest twin by a few seconds, and so he was to inherit the birthright, which at this time meant material blessing as well as the responsibility of being the family priest before Yavah. He sold this birthright of his own free-will for one meal, and this showed what he thought of God's blessings and privileges.


The recipients of this letter (Hebrews) have been tempted repeatedly to return to the Mosaic Law and Temple worship, and so they are in danger of selling away the blessings of God available to them in Christ, throwing them away in favor of something obsolete.


Esau later on desired the blessing of the first-born, but this is very likely due to the loss he incurred financially. As second in line he still would have had plenty of opportunity to become a wealthy man, and we see in Genesis that Esau did become quite wealthy, but he longed for the greater blessings of the first-born.


Gen 25:34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.


As he got older, he probably recognized the spiritual blessings that came along with being family priest, which for a godless man could be turned into much more power and wealth, as we see in so many of the priests in Israel. He begged his father for it, but in essence, though Jacob wrongfully deceived their father, he had already given it away, since the blessing of the father upon the son, though given orally, is legally binding.   


Gen 27:32 And Isaac his father said to him, "Who are you?" And he said, "I am your son, your first-born, Esau."


Gen 27:33 Then Isaac trembled violently, and said, "Who was he then that hunted game and brought it to me, so that I ate of all of it before you came, and blessed him? Yes, and he shall be blessed."


Gen 27:34 When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, "Bless me, even me also, O my father!"


While Esau did not much care for the spiritual ramifications and benefits of this blessing, he did want its material blessings and promise of military superiority.


Gen 27:35 And he said, "Your brother came deceitfully, and has taken away your blessing."


Gen 27:36 Then he said, "Is he not rightly named Jacob [Yaqob], for he has supplanted [aqob - "Jacobed"] me these two times? He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing." And he said, "Have you not reserved a blessing for me?"


Jacob's name come from the root word akav, which basically means "heel". As a verb it means to hold the heel in order to get before or to get ahead, in other words, you trip the guy in front of you so that you can get ahead of him. And so, his name means supplanted. It was not right for Jacob to deceive his father, but God knew that he would do it, and so his given name is yet another reference to God being above and in control, while not causing sin or calamity.


Gen 27:37 But Isaac answered and said to Esau, "Behold, I have made him your master, and all his relatives I have given to him as servants; and with grain and new wine I have sustained him. Now as for you then, what can I do, my son?"


Gen 27:38 And Esau said to his father, "Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father." So Esau lifted his voice and wept.


Heb 12:15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;


Heb 12:16 that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal.


Heb 12:17 For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.


There was no place in his heart for repentance. As we just read, Esau pleaded with his father to change his mind, but Isaac would not, and in fact he could not, since his oral testament to Jacob was legally binding. So verse 17 is Esau seeking for his father to change his mind or to repent. But also, we also never read of Esau admitting his failure in despising and selling off his birthright. There was no repentance in Esau's heart either.


Esau wept for the wealth and power of the birthright, but he found no repentance in his father, nor for his own sin in his heart. This passage is about blessing and not salvation.


Esau could have easily overcome his bitterness, but because he did not admit his wrong and change his way of thinking, his bitterness only increased. He could have come to God with a contrite heart and God would have blessed him. If his heart was contrite or humble before God then he still would not have received the birthright, but he would have found blessing in forgiveness and comfort in knowing that God still had a wonderful future for him. Alas, he did none of this, and went on in his bitterness, even in seeking to kill his brother.


Esau fails to deal with his failure before God and his bitterness grows. Peter deals with his failure with Jesus and finds life and peace.


This verse is not dealing with the loss of salvation but with the loss of rewards in this life. Esau had neither faith nor patient endurance and was cut off from the place of blessing. He sought for the blessing with tears, and due to his want, fueled by his coming short of the grace of God, he grew extremely bitter.


Falling short of the grace of God will create want and that will create bitterness. We must receive only God's blessing in our heart by faith and be made full.


Another area of great want is the desire to remove guilty feelings and feel the fullness of forgiveness. Christians who for whatever reason cannot appropriate the complete forgiveness from God that has been applied to all believers, will often experience bitterness towards themselves.


Great failure can produce bitter weeping. We must learn to deal with our failures in grace and not come short of it (forgiveness).  


Mat 26:69 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a certain servant-girl came to him and said, "You too were with Jesus the Galilean."


Mat 26:70 But he denied it before them all, saying, "I do not know what you are talking about."


picture of Caiaphas' palace.


From Mark's and John's account we know that Peter went through the gate of Caiaphas' palace as he followed Jesus' arrest from a distance, and once in the outer courtyard, he likely got locked in.


Peter steps through the gate, into the courtyard and now finds himself in the coils of the serpent. And Satan, in his timing, will tighten that coil.


Satan knows our weaknesses and he has many subordinates (demons or fallen angels) willing to do his bidding. Satan requested that he sift Peter like wheat. Temptation led Peter to follow Jesus out of curiosity and nothing bad happened to him and no one questioned him until Satan could get him locked inside. With nowhere to run, only then is he asked if he was one of Jesus' disciples.


The KOD works to get us into similar situations. If we were wise all the time then we would never end up behind the walls of the temptation, and I would hope that as we mature, it would be more and more true that it is impossible to trap us, but alas, the truth is that we do get trapped, but that doesn't mean that the battle is over. When temptation is entertained and it leads to incredibly strong temptation, as Satan tightens that coil, we can still resist it in His power by standing in His grace and thinking, thinking, thinking, standing firm in faith. If we fail, we rely upon the grace of God's forgiveness and restoration.


We also know that this happened as Peter was warming himself by the fire, likely trying to blend in. He was questioned by a young servant-girl as the light from the fire lit up his face.


Had Peter been called to go with the Master to judgment and death, probably he would have gladly done so. The trial came in an unexpected form, and discovered a weak point — his lack of moral courage.


If Peter had been made a martyr, it would have fit his desire to grandstand as loyal to the Lord, but in this situation, there is no public spectacle, he is not hanging on a cross next to his Lord. He has courage as long as it is some heroic desire for glory, but by the fire he is only amongst servants and soldiers.


Satan is not going to tempt you where you are strong. He's not that dumb. He knows your weaknesses and he will wait. He cannot do anything to your position in Christ, but his aim is to crush your spirit, your desire, your vigor, your confidence, your diligence.


I'm quite sure that Peter was not accustomed to entering the headquarters of persons in high society, and the unfamiliarity of these surroundings added to the general sense of uneasiness that made him lose his nerve. All his confidence held during his declaration in the upper-room is now gone.


Satan knows that uncomfortable surroundings and circumstances  can assist in weakening the believer's resolve. We are to remember that God is in us and He rules and owns everything.


Mat 26:71 And when he had gone out to the gateway, another servant-girl saw him and said to those who were there, "This man was with Jesus of Nazareth."


Mat 26:72 And again he denied it with an oath, "I do not know the man."


Comparing with the other gospels, Peter gets away from the fire, tries to calm himself, feels himself getting colder and colder, and returns to the fire, when a few of them accuse him of being a disciple.


Christ prayed that his faith would not fail. This shows us that isolated failures do not mean a failure in faith.

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