Esau & His Lust

Esau & His Lust

There are some teachers who project that Esau sold his birthright because of his inability to ‘fast’.


In as much as I understand that the above statement was made out of a sincere heart to encourage believers to ‘fast’, it is scripturally clear that such conclusion is faulty and needs a thorough review.

Now you may ask: why then was Esau overly desperate about the food Jacob prepared to an extent that he said he could ‘die’ if he doesn’t eat of that food and ended up trading his birthright?

‘…And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, Behold, I AM AT THE POINT TO DIE: and what profit shall this birthright do to me’? (Gen 25:31-32)

Listen carefully: Esau’s problem was not about his ‘fasting’…rather it was about his ‘fascination’!

If Esau wouldn’t control this ‘fascination’, he would still sell his birthright for it even after breaking his fast!

It was not his ‘abstinence’ from food…but his ‘attraction’ to a certain characteristics the food carried!


The problem of Esau is scripturally known as: THE LUST OF THE EYES! (1John 2:16)

When this lust is uncontrolled, a man will give up something of greater value just to satisfy the demanded gratification of lesser value!

At this point, such a person is described as a ‘profane person’. (Heb 12:16)

Please follow attentively as we briefly examine the life of Esau.

Esau was a man who had natural passion for anything that has THE COLOUR OF RED!

RED was his obsession.

From his story in the scripture, one would see that anything that has the ‘colour of red’ would ATTRACT Esau!

In fact when he was given birth to, scriptures reported that:

‘…the first came out RED, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.’ (Genesis 25:25)

On a fateful day, Esau came back from the field but he was so tired and hungry. He saw Jacob preparing a particular kind of food that aroused his obsession!

Now take note of his words:

‘And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same RED pottage; for I am faint: THEREFORE WAS HIS NAME CALLED EDOM.’ (Genesis 25:30)


His desperate interest in the stew was not because he was hungry per se, but because the stew was RED IN COLOUR.

What an obsession!

A careful look at the above verse also shows that Esau did not even really know what the food was.

The KJV put the word ‘pottage’ there but in the original Hebrew, what Esau said was a double repetition of the word ‘RED’.

According to Pulpit commentary on Gen 25:30, what Esau said was ‘…feed me,…of that red, red…, or thing, in his excitement FORGETTING THE NAME OF THE DISH…’!

Gills commentary puts the verse thus: ‘…with that SAME RED (L), RED”; not knowing what it was, or what it was made of, and therefore only CALLS IT BY ITS COLOUR; and the word being DOUBLED, may denote that it was VERY RED…’

Oh…if it was very red, then it will most probably get Esau!

The Amplified Bible puts it thus: ‘…Please, let me have a quick swallow of that RED STUFF there…’ (Gen 25:30 AMP)

There is an emphasis on the colour than on the food itself.

If it is RED…then you can be sure Esau will be interested!


Another important thing to note is that the above verse revealed Esau as being popularly called ‘EDOM’ due to this obsession.

Edom simply means RED!

‘And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same RED pottage; for I am faint: THEREFORE WAS HIS NAME CALLED EDOM.’ (Genesis 25:30)

The Amplified version puts that verse in a more revealing way:

‘…and Esau said to Jacob, “Please, let me have a quick swallow of that RED STUFF there, because I am exhausted andfamished.” FOR THAT REASON ESAU WAS [ALSO] CALLED EDOM (RED)…’ (Gen 25:30 AMP)

This addiction was so serious that the generation of Esau was called the EDOMITES! (Genesis 36:1, Deuteronomy 23:7).

Scripture says ‘…Esau is Edom’ (Genesis 36:8).

The lust in his eyes was towards anything that is RED in colour!

Hence it was his inability to overcome the lust of the eyes that robbed him of his glorious birthright!

Esau would rather go for the RED…than hold on to his birthright!

Such profanity!


Now before you play the blame-game on Esau, it is good you know that ‘the lust of the eyes’ is very prevalent among many people today…and it is one temptation the devil throws at believers in order to corrupt their Christian testimonies.

Every human being has what he/she likes that must be controlled.

Some guys will lose control if a ‘fair’ lady walks across their lane…while some are rather obsessed with ‘shapes’. That is their RED!

Some ladies will go ‘ga-ga’ if a guy with six packs just asks for a brief conversation…while some will melt at heart if they meet guys with beautiful singing (sonorous) voices. That is their obsession!

Please know that it is not wrong to have ‘attractions’. It only becomes an issue when the ‘attractions’ or ‘lusts’ cannot be controlled.

‘…But every man is tempted, when he is DRAWN away of HIS OWN LUST, and ENTICED…’ (James 1:14)

It is not a ‘sin’ to have a tendency to lust…but it is a ‘sin’ to be ‘enticed’ into your lust!

When we understand that we all have an iota of passion or lust in us towards some things in life, we will be strengthened by God to learn how to overcome the temptations that come to us via our desires.

The unhealthy crave for money, sex and ‘kind of foods’ are all characteristics of the lust of the eyes.

Alcohol addiction gets itself into people via the lust of the eyes.

The Bible gave this stern advice:

‘…Do not look on the wine WHEN IT IS RED, When it sparkles in the cup, When it goes down smoothly…’ (Prov 23:31)

Did you see how the colour was emphasized?

Any Esau will ‘fall’ for this temptation!

‘…Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it goes down smoothly; the last IT BITES LIKE A SERPENT And stings like a viper. Your EYES WILL SEE STRANGE THINGS And your mind will utter PERVERSE things…’ (Prov 23:31-33)

The consequence for an uncontrolled ‘fascination’ is an inevitable ‘frustration’.

One of the hidden and unnoticed phrases used to describe Eve’s failure to the devil’s seducing temptation is found in this verse:

‘…When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, AND THAT IT WAS A DELIGHT TO THE EYES, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, SHE TOOK FROM ITS FRUIT AND ATE…’ (Gen 3:5)

She was lost in her lust.

She would rather satisfy the ‘delight of her eyes’…than to stick to the birthright of dominion and authority God has given her and her husband!


Don’t get caught in the web of the ‘lust of the eyes’.

The enemy will prefer you trade your divine rewards by assuring your lust is satisfied.

The second temptation of the devil to Jesus was also on this line:

‘…The devil led him up to a high place and SHOWED HIM IN AN INSTANT ALL THE KINGDOMS OF THE WORLD. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” (Luke 4:6-7)

The temptation of the lust of the eyes is a temptation that tells you to bow to the devil at will so he can give you something lesser by deceit!

What then is the way out of this trap?

Well, the response of Christ to the devil remains the only way to overcome this chronic temptation.

’Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘WORSHIP the Lord your God and serve HIM ONLY.’(Luke 4:8)

Hear this: A heart positioned to pleasing God always (especially with a New Creation mentality) will have practical triumphs on over the lust of the eyes.

Value God above worldly pleasures!


But I have GOOD NEWS for those of you who feel you have lost some ‘things of greater value’ in you life by your consent to the lust of the eyes in your past!

We definitely won’t always have perfect times of not sliding into this temptation here and there…but a believer who values God and the finished work of His Son will not be DOMINATED by this addiction.

I love this quote by Fritz Ridenour: ‘…Realistic Christians are ready for momentary DEFEATS, but they never go into permanent RETREAT…’ (pg 63, How To Be a Christian without being Religious)

This is the beauty of being under Grace and not under Law.

‘…For sin shall NOT HAVE DOMINION over you: for ye are not under the law, but UNDER GRACE…’ (Rom 6:14)

That is where our victory lies.

The work of Christ for you makes it DIFFICULT for you to just lose your ‘rewards’ simply because you fell into temptations! (Luke 22:31-32)

Except you consent to total defeat (loss of rewards/ministry), you are always provided with fresh power to overcome again! (1Cor 10:13)

‘…Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given…’ (John 1:16 NIV)

There is always abundant Grace upon Grace to ensure you bounce back and live a God glorifying life.

This is the Good News of the Gospel!

Let the power of Christ’s finished work destroy the domination of the lust of the eyes in you.

‘…We know that our old sinful selves WERE CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST so that sin might LOSE ITS POWER in our lives. We are NO LONGER SLAVES TO SIN…’ (Romans 6:6 NLT)


I hope you enjoyed studying the life of Esau with me.

Please remember: Esau’s problem was not about his ‘fasting’…rather it was about his uncontrolled ‘fascination’!

Stand strong on what Christ has done for you and let His power work in you to put the lust of the flesh under you every day.

And you won’t suffer a frustrated life that goes with ungodly fascinations.

Remain under Grace.


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