In our study of Genesis chapter twenty seven, we look at the inner workings of the family of Isaac. We will look at the fact that each of the family members had their own issues but God was still at work.
When Isaac was old and his eyes were so weak that he could no longer see, he called for Esau his older son and said to him, 'My son.' 'Here I am,' he answered. Isaac said, 'I am now an old man and don't know the day of my death. Now then, get your equipment - your quiver and bow - and go out to the open country to hunt some wild game for me. Prepare me the kind of tasty food I like and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my blessing before I die.'
The Hebrew word for blessing is berakah and it speaks of material things. Isaac surely knew that Esau had sold his birthright to Jacob and that God had selected Jacob to be the greater of the two sons. Even so, Isaac attempts to give Esau his blessing.
Now Rebekah was listening as Isaac spoke to his son Esau. When Esau left for the open country to hunt game and bring it back, Rebekah said to her son Jacob, 'Look, I overheard your father say to your brother Esau, "Bring me some game and prepare me some tasty food to eat, so that I may give you my blessing in the presence of the Lord before I die." Now, my son, listen carefully and and do what I tell you: Go out to the flock and bring me two choice young goats, so I can prepare some tasty food for your father, just the way he likes it. Then take it to your father to eat, so that he may give you his blessing before he dies.'
While Isaac was planning on defying God and giving Esau his blessing, Rebekah was eavesdropping and plotted to help God fulfill His promise about Jacob. This all comes from the fact that each of them had a favorite son. We can all be thankful that, in the family of God, we are all equally loved.
Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, 'But my brother Esau is a hairy man while I have smooth skin. What if my father touches me? I would appear to be tricking him and would bring down a curse on myself rather than a blessing.' His mother said to him, 'My son, let the curse fall on me. Just do what I say; go and get them for me.'
Jacob had second thoughts about tricking his father but we see that it was not because of the sin of not honoring his father but the fear of being caught. We also see that it was his mother that insisted that he deceive his father. One might ask what she was thinking and, although we are only guessing, she probably was thinking that she was helping God to fulfill His promise to her. Before we are quick to condemn her, we might ask ourselves if we do not do the same thing at times. It is easy to get impatient and sorta give God's will a boost (or so we think).
So he went and got them and brought them to his mother, and she prepared some tasty food, just the way his father liked it. Then Rebekah took the best clothes of Esau her older son, which she had in the house, and put them on her younger son Jacob. She also covered his hands and the smooth part of his neck with the goatskins. Then she handed to her son Jacob the tasty food and the bread she had made.
They continued with their plan to "assist God". We notice that they even went beyond what Isaac had requested as Rebekah baked bread. Why is this account in the Bible? It shows us that, even though these people would be used by God, they were still people and families with problems just like us.
He went to his father and said, 'My father.' 'Yes, my son,' he answered. 'Who is it?' Jacob said to his father, 'I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing.' Isaac asked his son, 'How did you find it so quickly, my son?' 'The Lord your God gave me success,' he replied.
In the deception of his father, Jacob even lied and said that God was with him. This is a reminder to us that we need to test the Spirit. Just because someone uses the word "god" it does not automatically mean that it is of God.
Then Isaac said to Jacob, 'Come near so I can touch you, my son, to know whether you really are my son Esau or not.' Jacob went close to his father Isaac, who touched him and said, 'The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.' He did not recognize him, for his hands were hairy like those of his brother Esau; so he proceeded to bless him.
Even though the voice did not match the touch, Isaac continued to bless Jacob. This is a picture of our struggle between flesh and spirit as our feelings can easily be deceived but our inner self will recognize the voice of God.
'Are you really my son Esau?' he asked. 'I am,' he replied. Then he said, 'My son, bring me some of your game to eat so that I may give you my blessing.' Jacob brought it to him and he ate; and he brought some wine and he drank. Then his father Isaac said to him, 'Come here, my son, and kiss me.'
The doubts still linger in Isaac as he draws Jacob closer to him. This is a very sad family portrait as the deception continues.
So he went to him and kissed him. When Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, he blessed him and said, 'Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field that the Lord has blessed. May God give you heaven's dew and earth's richness - an abundance of grain and new wine. May nations serve you and peoples bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you. May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed.'
Isaac continued with the blessing and the first part involves the material blessing of productive fields. You can imagine Jacob waiting for him to get to the good part as he did not care about going out and working in a field. The second part involves power and authority which is what God had promised his mother that he would receive. The third part asks God to fight the battles for him as God is the one who brings curses and blessings.
After Isaac finished blessing him, and Jacob had scarcely left his father's presence, his brother Esau came in from hunting. He too prepared some tasty food and brought it to his father. Then he said to him, 'My father, please sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing.' His father Isaac asked him, 'Who are you?' 'I am your son,' he answered, 'your firstborn, Esau.' Isaac trembled violently and said, 'Who was it, then, that hunted game and brought it to me? I ate it just before you came and I blessed him - and indeed he will be blessed!'
Just after Jacob left, Esau came in with the food to get his father's blessing. Isaac found out that he had been tricked and was shaken. Isaac knew that, once the words of blessing were expressed, God would hear and they would be fulfilled. The same is true for us, as Christians. We have the same type of relation to God as Isaac did in that, if we express something in words, we can be sure that God hears and will act in our best interests.
When Esau heard his father's words, he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, 'Bless me - me too, my father!' But he said, 'Your brother came deceitfully and took your blessing.' Esau said, 'Isn't he rightly named Jacob? This is the second time he has taken advantage of me: He took my birthright, and now he's taken my blessing!' Then he asked, 'Haven't you reserved any blessing for me?'
Esau desperately asked for a blessing and blamed Jacob for stealing it from him. He mentions his birthright but basically says that Jacob had stolen it as well. Jacob had not stolen the birthright as it had been sold to him by Esau. The birthright and the blessing were traditionally connected but Esau had hoped to separate them when he sold the birthright. The birthright had to do with spiritual leadership while the blessing had to do with material provision. Esau was not concerned with matters of God (the spiritual things) but desperately wanted the material things. Finally, he asked his father for the leftovers from the blessing. In Christ, we have both the birthright and the blessing as He has promised us that He will provide what we need both spiritually and physically.
Isaac answered Esau, 'I have made him lord over you and have made all his relatives his servants, and I have sustained him with grain and new wine. So what can I possibly do for you, my son?'
We see that not only did Rebekah play favorites with the children but Isaac did so as well. He had given all of the blessing to Jacob when he thought that it was Esau. Now, there was nothing left for his favorite son.
Esau said to his father, 'Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me too, my father!' Then Esau wept aloud.
Esau did not understand why there was no blessing left and so he cried. He had not cried when he gave away his birthright because that involved the spiritual things. He had only cared about the material things in life and, now, it seemed that he had missed out on that as well.
His father Isaac answered him, 'Your dwelling will be away from the earth's richness, away from the dew of heaven above. You will live by the sword and you will serve your brother. But when you grow restless, you will throw off his yoke from off your neck.'
Isaac's attempt at blessing Esau was a hollow promise compared to that of Jacob. Esau was destined to live in the desert wilderness and to have to fight for everything. Esau and his descendants (Edom) would serve Jacob (Israel) for many years but, as we see in 2 Kings 8:20, they eventually rebelled. They set up their own kingdom and king during the time of Jehoram and they remain in rebellion to this day.
Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, 'The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.'
We see from this verse that the fruit from this favoritism in the family is hate and the hope of murder. Esau decided to wait until his father died and then to kill his brother. We see, once again, that he held the grudge because of the blessing and not the fact that he no longer had the birthright.
When Rebekah was told what her older son Esau had said, she sent for her younger son Jacob and said to him, 'Your brother Esau is planning to avenge himself by killing you. Now then, my son, do what I say: Flee at once to my brother Laban in Harran. Stay with him for a while until your brother's fury subsides.'
Rebekah was told about Esau's anger and his plan for vengeance. She immediately planned to save Jacob by sending him away to safety. In this we see that when we try to "help God" with His plan, there can be some bad situations created. They could have trusted in God to fulfill His word to them but instead had taken the matter into their own hands. Now, they were having to deal with the consequences.
'When your brother is no longer angry with you and forgets what you did to him, I'll send word for you to come back from there. Why should I lose both of you in one day?'
Rebekah knew that Isaac was about to die and was afraid that she would lose all support if Jacob was killed as well. The plan was to get him out of there until Esau cooled down and forgot about it.
Then Rebekah said to Isaac, 'I'm disgusted with living because of these Hittite women. If Jacob takes a wife from among the women of this land, from Hittite women like these, my life will not be worth living.'
Rebekah did not have the authority within the family to send Jacob away so she manipulated Isaac to get the job done. We notice that she tells Isaac that it is because of the Hittite women but she never said anything about marriage to Jacob. This reminds us that when you start deceiving people, it usually leads to more and more lying.