Hebrews 12:11 “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless, AFTERWARD it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”
Hebrews 12:17 “For we know how that AFTERWARD, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.”
Twice in Hebrews 12, we have the word “afterward” (I have capitalized it for effect in both verses).
Afterward, here, means simply that something happened before; God chastened; and something happened as a result of the chastening: or “afterward”.
You will notice for both cases, it is a matter of the will, willing one way or the other.
We will begin with “them that are exercised thereby”.
Now they would not have been chastened, if there had not been something wrong in their lives.
Something which needed to be set right before Spiritual Weakness, then Spiritual Atrophy set in.
(in the next verses it describes the beginning of this: “Therefore lift the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet,….” Hebrews 12:12-13)
But with the chastening from God, comes the knowledge that He does it out of love.
Hebrews 12:6, 10 “For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he recieveth.
For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he (God) for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.”
Although this does not make the chastening pleasant; it does work within us the desire to learn from it: to be exercised by the chastening, so that we will not have to go through it again and again.
Because He loves us, and He is doing this to help us grow in grace; we stir ourselves up to learn all we can in this chastening; to please Him.
This is the AFTERWARD of those who are exercised thereby.
Now for Esau:
Hebrews 12:16 “Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.”
Esau and Jacob were twins. Esau, being older by a few minutes, was the inheritor of the birthright. This did not mean riches or cattle; but it meant the Spiritual blessings that God promised Abraham, a people separate to God, the land of Canaan, and mostly: The birthright meant that Christ, the Savior, would come from his line, in the future.
It was a blessing for the one who wanted Spiritual ties with God.
Jacob did. Esau did not.
Esau had been out hunting, and came by Jacob’s tent, without game. He was hungry, and saw Jacob (he was more of a farmer and cattleman) cooking something on the fire.
It was a pot of red beans, and Esau asked that he be given some.
Jacob, always trying to figure out a way that he might inherit the blessing instead of Esau, told him; “Sure, but only if you sell me your birthright.”
Now any Spiritual person would have said, “No, I will wait, even though I feel faint, till I go to my tent.” (maybe on the other side of the camp)
But not Esau.
He was not Spiritual, and thought more of his belly, than the privilege of being the holder of the Promise of the Lord to come.
Genesis 25:32-34 “And Esau said, Behold I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do for me?
And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright to Jacob.
Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.”
Now for the AFTERWARD:
It is time for their father, who was nearly blind, to bless the one who would inherit; so he calls Esau, who was firstborn, in, and told him to prepare a special feast for him, and he would bless him.
I will not go into all the details, but Jacob, afraid to trust God, dressed up as Esau.
He fooled his father and received the firstborn blessing.
Then Esau came in (afterward) and sought the blessing, but could not receive it.
He cried, then.
(How many tears do we cry; not for losing fellowship with God, or for losing Spiritual Blessings, but because someone has gotten something we have not?)
Genesis 27:34,38 “And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father.
And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept.”
Esau had not wept, and sought repentance for his foolish behavior with the food; no.
He had not wept when he thought of the bargain he made with Jacob, for he thought he could still have everything, even though he despised it in his heart.
He would still be the best. He did not need to have a change of heart before God about anything; wasn’t he doing alright without bowing before God?
You never hear of Esau building an altar or seeking God. Even in the tears that flowed when he was denied the blessing, he did not cry to God; just to his father, for repentance. And it was a repentance of his father’s actions, not a repentance of his.
AFTERWARD, he was rejected, he cried; but only for self-pity, not for despising the birthright.
Afterward,….will we receive God’s correction, and learn from it?
Or we will go on thinking we are alright, till…afterward, there is no more time to have what God wants for us.
God corrects us for our profit.
And we must always consider profit and loss; only Spiritually consider it.
Esau said, “What profit is this birthright?” And despised it. And lost it.
The one who is exercised, weighs profit and loss by God’s thoughts.
God said this is for my profit, and although I do not feel like it; I am going to trust Him, pick up my hands and my feet (stop feeling sorry for myself), and take the next step with Him.
I know that afterward, I will feel differently about this correction.
Afterward, I will rejoice, because God has seen me through.