"Esau...for one morsel of meat sold his birthright." He is one of a large company, sad to say. David sold his for a short moment of passion. Judas sold his for a small margin of profit. Peter sold his at Antioch for a shallow murmur of praise. Esau sold out for a single bowl of stew. How cheaply we sell our eternal salvation or our eternal reward.
In his famous Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis gives us the Devil's formula for pleasure. The demon points out to his fellow demon, his pupil in the art of temptation, that although pleasure has its uses as a means of seduction and enslavement, it is a tricky tool to use because it was God who invented pleasure, not Satan. The best the Devil can do with pleasure is to distort it and persuade people to abuse it. Thus, he strives to develop in them a craving for pleasure so that he gets them hooked on it until they want more and more stimulation and get less and less satisfaction. The ultimate aim is to get a person's soul for nothing. Satan got Esau's cheaply enough. He got it for "one morsel of meat."
Esau and Jacob were twins. Esau was born ahead of Jacob by the narrowest of margins, so, as the older brother, he stood in line to receive the patriarchal blessing. That blessing carried with it certain property rights, patriarchal rights, and priestly rights. Esau, however, cared for none of those things. Jacob did. Jacob coveted them and determined to get them at all costs, forgetful of the fact that even before his birth God had already promised them to him.
Esau was a man of the world. He liked to hunt and fish and sit around with the boys. He was ambitious to get on in this world. He married unsaved women and carved out a position for himself among the Hittites. He had no interest in the things of God, even though his grandfather was Abraham. Doubtless Abraham had talked to him about his conversion, how he was looking for a city that had foundations, whose builder and maker was God. It all sounded like pie in the sky to Esau.
But not to Jacob because, with all his faults and failings notwithstanding, Jacob had his priorities right. If there was one thing he wanted, it was the blessing of God in his life. He had not yet learned, however, that you cannot get spiritual things by worldly and carnal means. So Jacob set out to get Esau's birthright, no matter what it took to get it. He caught Esau when he was tired and hungry and discouraged, and he dangled a bowl of stew before him and clinched the deal—Esau's spiritual birthright for one serving of stew.
Esau never changed. God called him a "profane person." Later Esau tried to get back with a dish of venison what he had sold for a bowl of stew but failed. He remained a profane person, a person who had no room for God, to the day of his death. That "one morsel of meat" was a costly morsel indeed. It was as expensive as the "sop" Jesus handed to Judas in the upper room on the eve of His betrayal. It was a morsel that sealed his doom. For no sooner had Judas eaten it than Satan entered into him, and all hell took over his soul.
Well might we beware lest we sell our souls for a serving of this world's pleasures.