Sin Spirals Out of Control

Sometimes grace needs to be advanced.

Genesis 26:34-35 (ESV)

When Esau was forty years old, he took Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite to be his wife, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and they made life bitter for Isaac and Rebekah.

Esau continues to distance himself from his family and from God. Surely, he’s aware of how Abraham didn’t want Isaac to marry one of the locals and how his servant was supernaturally blessed in finding Esau’s mom for Isaac. Even though he is his dad’s favorite, he bucks family tradition and marries two Hittite women. The Bible emphasizes that this doesn’t go well, right from the get go. Everything’s going haywire for Esau and it’s all his fault. What’s wrong with this guy, anyway?

This is a perfect portrait of how sin spirals out of control. Esau didn’t take his birthright seriously and sold it for a bowl of stew. What seemed unimportant at the time will prove to be life changing. He blew off all things spiritual and he’s not going to wake up until it’s too late.

This is like kids who get involved in the occult, thinking it’s all fun and games. By the time they realize it’s not all fun and games, they’re in so deep that suicide is a real danger.

We all know what’s coming for Esau. Jacob and Rebekah are about to conspire to steal his blessing. It’s easy to take the attitude, “Yeah baby. Paybacks!”

Praise the LORD that He doesn’t take that attitude with us.


Learning grace is a never ending, never complete, task for a Christian. People ruin their lives. Our task, as bearers of the gospel, is to help them.

This doesn’t mean denying their mistakes – forgiveness isn’t acquittal – but it can mean loving people who are hard to love. We all cheer when the bad guy in a movie takes it in the shorts. That makes sense for fictional characters, but beware of taking that attitude with real people.

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:43-45a

This isn’t easy stuff. Advanced skills require something special, and loving difficult people definitely qualifies. Still, we’re all called to seek these advanced skills. Never, ever, think that anything is beyond where God might take you.

If loving your enemies sounds ridiculous or even impossible, good. Great challenges are one of the keys to sanctification. But know this – trying harder is not how this works. Only God can take you to this level. Prayer is the only way.

That’s the point. It’s impossible. God gets all the glory.


The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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