“For you know that later when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no opportunity for repentance, although he sought the blessing with tears” (Hebrews 12:17).
Esau was the type of person who made decisions based on what seemed right at the moment. However, Esau’s example reminds us that what seems right may not be right. If our decisions are not informed by a God-honoring conscience, it may be difficult to distinguish between something that appears to be right, but is really something else.
For instance, Esau took advantage of the opportunity to exchange his birthright for a bowl of stew. But let’s look at the account of another Biblical personality who was given an opportunity that seemed even better. That incident occurred during a period when Israel’s King Saul was pursuing Israel’s future King David through the countryside in an attempt to end David’s life…
“At the place where the road passes some sheepfolds, Saul went into a cave to relieve himself. But as it happened, David and his men were hiding farther back in that very cave! ‘Now’s your opportunity!’ David’s men whispered to him. ‘Today the Lord is telling you, ‘I will certainly put your enemy into your power, to do with as you wish.’’
So David crept forward and cut off a piece of the hem of Saul’s robe. But then David’s conscience began bothering him because he had cut Saul’s robe. He said to his men, ‘The Lord forbid that I should do this to my lord the king. I shouldn’t attack the Lord’s anointed one, for the Lord himself has chosen him.’ So David restrained his men and did not let them kill Saul…” (1 Samuel 24:3-7 NLT).
David could have easily taken advantage of the opportunity to eliminate the man who was seeking to kill him. In fact, there were many who encouraged David to take that very course of action. But unlike Esau, David did not make his decision based on what seemed best at the moment. Instead, his God-honoring conscience prevented him from taking Saul’s life when he had the chance to do so.
Therefore, we would do well to remember the following counsel from the Biblical book of Proverbs: “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death” (Proverbs 14:12 NLT). If we prayerfully seek to honor God and His Word as we consider our options, we can avoid choices that seem right at the moment, but later give us cause for regret.