The Resistant Father
The Bible does not hide the sinful choices that people make and it is not filled with perfect families. The family dysfunction of the patriarchs continues, and the reader is led down a trail of choices including disobedience, doubt, and deceit. Isaac has aged, his eyesight is failing him, and he decides that he must be near death even though he will live for almost another fifty years. He calls his son Esau and gives him instructions about how he would formally bless his eldest. God had foretold through prophecy that the older would serve the younger and Jacob would be the heir of the promise. Father has a favorite, and although we are not privy to the details behind this choice, it is clear that intends to bless his eldest son Esau. He instructs his son about the meal that he wants to accompany this special occasion and dispatches his son to hunt for game.
The Scheming Mother
Rebekah is listening to the conversation between Isaac and Esau. Perhaps she sensed that Isaac was going to do this or she was just close by and curious. Whatever the circumstances, she now believed that the blessing might be lost to Esau forever. She reasoned that this situation called for quick action. Maybe she reasoned that God had named Jacob as the heir of promise, that Esau had repeatedly proven himself unfit, and that she would be saving her husband from a terrible mistake. The problem is that God does not call us to sin to accomplish his purpose. Rebekah's faith is shaky, and instead of trusting God, she takes matters into her own hands. She will 'help' God as if the Almighty needs assistance. Rebekah calls Jacob and explains what is happening and proposes a course of action. She and Jacob will take advantage of Isaac's poor eyesight, and Jacob will impersonate his brother Esau. She instructs Jacob to bring her two young goats that she will prepare for Isaac and so that Isaac will bless Jacob. Jacob does not seem to have any issues with lying but he is afraid of getting caught, and he identifies what he believes are problems with her scheme. Jacob is smooth, and Esau is hairy, and if Isaac touches him, then it will ruin everything. Mom has thought of everything and is willing to endure the curse if necessary, and she hurries her son on his way. Rebekah has taken Esau's best garments, and she covers Jacob with the skins of the young goats to deceive her husband. She prepared the meal just the way Isaac liked it and sent Jacob in order to secure his rightful blessing.
The Deceitful Son
You have to wonder just how nervous Jacob was as he entered his father's presence. He enters Jacob's presence and calls to his father. Isaac asks him to identify himself and the lies begin. He tells Isaac that he is Esau, that he had done what his father had asked of him, and that it was his game. He even has the audacity to declare that he returned so quickly because God had granted him success. It seems that Jacob's deceit knows no limits. He is despicable. Isaac asks him to come near so that he may confirm his identity because he is suspicious. He thinks the voice belongs to Jacob. Imagine Jacob's heart as it begins to race. The sweat as it forms across his brow and the fear that grips his mind as he approaches his father. Isaac asks Jacob again, and he lies about his identity. Isaac calls him to bring the game to him so that he might enjoy something that surely they had done together for many years. Isaac enjoyed the meal, and after he had finished, he called his son over, and he kissed him. He blesses his son pronouncing a beautiful benediction over him.
The Violent Brother
It is not difficult to imagine that Jacob was anxious to get away from his father and the situation so at the earliest moment possible he hastily takes his leave. He has narrowly escaped when his brother Esau returns and goes to Isaac. He announces his presence and is eager to receive his blessing. Isaac is confused and inquires about his identity. Esau is quick to give his name and remind his father of his birth order. Isaac begins to tremble and makes a startling revelation to Esau. Someone else has received his blessing. Esau cries out in anguish and asks Isaac to bless him. Isaac puts the pieces together and understands what has transpired. Jacob had taken Esau's blessing. The problem is that it was not Esau's blessing, to begin with, because of what God had said. Esau's anger boils over, and he detests his brother. Esau wonders if anything can be done about the situation but Isaac assures him that Jacob now is the rightful heir to everything and ruler of their clan. Esau pleads for just one blessing and weeps loudly. Has Isaac so quickly come to terms with what has happened or does he finally acknowledge that this was God's plan? Isaac declares that Esau would dwell in barren places, live by the sword, and serve Jacob although there would be times when he would throw off the yoke. Esau's hate escalated to the point that he would kill his brother after Isaac was properly mourned.
Taking Matters Into Her Own Hands
These words may have been to himself, but at some point, they were vocalized because Rebekah learns of his malice and his deathly intentions. She calls Jacob and tells him what Esau is planning to do to him so once again she tells him what is to do in order to escape his murderous plot. She sends Jacob to her brother Laban back in her homeland to wait until Esau's anger subsides. She would send for him once it was safe for him to return because she could not bear the thought of losing Isaac and Jacob at the same time. Rebekah goes to Isaac and spins the story to look like Jacob should be sent away to find a wife that was not Hittite like Esau's wives because it seems that they had caused family discord. Once again Rebekah wants to take matters into her hands and manipulate the situation. Edersheim quotes a German writer, “This is one of the most remarkable complications of life, showing in the clearest manner that a higher hand guides the threads of history, so that neither sin nor error can ultimately entangle them. Each one weaves the threads which are committed to him according to his own views and desires; but at last, when the texture is complete, we behold in it the pattern which the Master had long devised, and towards which each labourer had only contributed one or another feature.”
Things To Consider:
- How costly was disregarding God's word?
- Why is faith such a struggle when circumstances are challenging?
- What are ways that we deceive others about our identity?
- Is there anything in your life currently that you are manipulating in order to help God?
- What are some of the sinful patterns that you can identify in the lives of this family?
- What are ways that we try to justify our actions by invoking God's name?
- How do we excuse sinful feelings when someone has wronged us?
- How can we discipline our feelings to train our emotions?
- Why must we not enter into marriage lightly?