Esau Syndrome

An attitude of entitlement is one we come across often in South Africa and it often piggy banks on the fight for one’s rights.

However, there is a difference between fighting for what is rightfully yours by law or contract and feeling or believing something is yours because you think you deserve it.

Unfortunately we are seeing more of the latter in the culture of our society in South Africa, often disguised as the former.  Personally, I think it is based on the Esau syndrome, a growing trend in our world.


EsausyndromeWhat is the Esau Syndrome?

“Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God’s blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears.” Heb 12:16-17 (MSG)

Esau traded long term blessings that were rightfully his by birth, (Gen 25:27-34) for a single meal of what was probably a bowl of lentils.  He chose to satisfy his short term need, or appetite without quantifying the long term value of his blessings.

Much later, when he wanted to get his blessings that he was entitled to, to change the choice that he had made, it was rejected and there was no way to put right what he had done, even though he wept about it bitterly and begged for the outcome to be different. (Gen 27:30-41)

It is easy when we see something we really want, to give into our first impulse and get it.  In a moment we push or argue for something which we feel we deserve now, without giving due consideration to the longer term costs involved.

At first we feel intensely satisfied and empowered because we have obtained something we really wanted, but immediate pleasure often does not have its eyes on the future.

We see this in:

  • Buying material possessions on credit or at the wrong time which have long term implications to our financial position.
  • An illicit relationship we feel we have to have to meet our current desires, without consideringonestupidmistake the impact it has on other long term relationships, like marriages, children and friendships.
  • It is in the serving of a basic physical appetite that has habit forming implications, with no consideration to the long term impact of said habit we are forming, ie. smoking, drugs, alcohol, pornography etc
  • It is in giving our children all their desires and demands, without teaching them to work hard.
  • It is serving our appetite for food and drink without considering the long term impact to our health.
  • It is demanding in our workplace without considering the financial health of our employer.
  • It is demanding from our government, without considering the economic future of our country.
  • It is living the way we want to live without considering our eternal destination.

The end result of the Esau syndrome is regret.  When we consciously trade, (not steal) short term benefits or appetites for long term blessings, we will eventually regret the loss of long term blessings.

It is important to think about our choices, to live right and make wise decisions.  Decisions made with the Esau Syndrome are often made in a moment; spontaneously; with peer pressure; when we are weak or tired; when we have an urge; when we don’t have all the facts and are easily deceived.  It fails to look at the big picture, consider all the value and weigh the cost of the long term implications.

Let us all make every effort to look out for and identify when the Esau Syndrome is operating in our lives.

Father help me to be on my guard when my desires for things that I want, get very strong. Help me not to make decisions in a moment, but to think carefully about my actions and the long term implications.  Help me listen to Your voice that warns me in my conscience.  Help me to listen to the warnings of loved one’s around me. Help me to value the blessings that you have already given me by birthright, because I am a child of God.

Don’t Make Decisions Like This

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An Ounce of Prevention


By |2017-06-30T15:26:45+00:00February 5th, 2016|

About the Author:

Michelle du Toit lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is married to Adrian, with two children. She is passionate about God and influencing people. She shares her own personal treasures from the bible for encouragement to others.


  1. The awful Esau August 25, 2018 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    There is nothing like being an Esau. I can tell you that it is the most painful experience a human can go through. To be rejected and not forgiven after making a selfish choice. God is so good and kind and it’s beyond pain to know you’ve lost Him and His love. Obviously no one will love you when God doesn’t love you. I want to die but I know where I’m going, there’s no way out. Thank you for teaching on this. Maybe I would have been a different person if I had had some good teaching as a young person. But maybe I did and I ignored it. I don’t really know. But I do know how very much our children need to learn this and see how loving God is and that they are safe in His arms. I never realized that He is eternal security. I gave it all up and now I am an Esau. It’s beyond awful. 🙁

    • Michelle August 27, 2018 at 11:31 am - Reply

      Dear awful Esau, as you call yourself,
      No one is ever beyond the love of God, His love cannot be lost or become unavailable to us because His love has nothing to do with us, whether we qualify, how we behave, what we do, what we say etc.
      He loves us, because He decided at the world foundation, to make us the focus of His love. Then He sent His son Jesus, to pay OUR price for sin, so that we can enter into this love relationship with Him. Even if we know the Lord as our savior,sin in the worst way possible, there is still nothing that can separate or divide us from His love. We merely acknowledge and confess our sin, change our behavior (repent) and walk out in a new freedom.
      Neither is the forgiveness of others a pre-requisite to God’s love. If God has forgiven us our sins, there is nothing than can prevent Him loving us.
      You say: “No one will love you when God does not love you.”From God’s love, all other love flows. Start by believing God’s love and loving Him back. All other love flows out of God’s love.

      You can choose whether to continue in the ways of Esau or not. Your life is your choice. You can also choose to follow Jesus and take Him at His word.The one thing you do have control over, is choice.
      The Word says that by acknowledging Jesus’ death on the cross for your sin, and accepting Him as your Lord and savior, you can enter into a loving relationship with Him and become a child of God, with that eternal security you long for.
      Hoping this helps you.
      Please continue reading on Heart Treasure for more insight. Esspecially on the tag love
      Will be praying for you in the meantime

  2. Lesley Bradfield February 5, 2016 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    Wow….. Yup, I think this human trait of ours is SUCH a handicap! We live in this time of instant gratification – the world is making it so easy for us to just give in and go with the flow! “Lord help us to lean into the wisdom you make available to us – to discern “needs” against “wants”!
    Thanks again Michelle for highlighting these areas the enemy so gleefully places in front of us.

    • Michelle February 8, 2016 at 2:25 pm - Reply

      Thank you Lesley for your constant encouragement in this blog. I think that phrase “instant gratification” sums up much of what lies behind the Esau Syndrome. People don’t believe in waiting anymore, you can see it in the way we drive, we shop, we treat other people. Thanks for sharing.

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