Hebrews 12:16 exhorts: “that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal.”
This verse is very revealing, not only about Esau, but many people today as well. It teaches us that Esau was NOT a “good guy” who just didn’t happen to be God’s chosen ancestor for the Messiah. It describes him as “immoral” and “godless.” And what was the manifestation of that? He “sold his own birthright for a single meal.” His voracious actions betrayed his character.
The selling of the birthright was no trite, isolated occurrence. It showed how short-sighted he was, how little he cared for long-term blessing, and how much his own appetites controlled him. He was “immoral”, and at heart, “godless”, for one who knows God walks by faith, and is able by that faith to reject the “passing pleasures” of sin for the better, long-term good that God promises.
We see the same tendency in many people today. Like those the Apostle Paul condemns in Philippians 3:19, “whose god is their belly”, there is a kind of person who always gives in to temptations of the flesh. They are seemingly unable to postpone or subdue their desires for a greater, long-term good. This verse helps us to understand that this is more than just an isolated sin in and of itself, it betrays a heart, like Esau’s, which is “immoral” and “godless.” The only hope for such a person is to come to the realization of their depravity, and to call out to God for a total change of heart desires through salvation in Jesus Christ.