GENESIS-SERIES NR 26
Genesis 27: Man proposes but God disposes
With Esau’s assistance, Isaac tried to thwart God’s intention and His eternal purpose – namely to fulfil His covenant through Jacob and that the Messiah would eventually be born from the line of Jacob.
And Rebekah is supported by Jacob to outmanoeuvre Isaac and Esau to retain his birthright – which he bought from Esau for a bowl of stew.
The covenant-family is therefore divided into two factions – and each faction is driven by one parent who wishes to see his/her expectation for one of the boys come true – at the expense of the other, of course.
It is so tragic, but it is 100% of interest to us here in 2019. Let us take a closer look at it:
1Isaac & Esau’s conspiracy (verses 1-4)
It must be remembered that the Lord had made known to Rebekah long before what His eternal will and purpose was with Esau and Jacob, namely that the older (Esau) would serve the younger (Jacob) (Genesis 25:23). From eternity God arranged and intended that the covenant-promise would pass from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob. Not through Esau. It is according to God’s sovereign choice. And the clay does not ask the Potter: “Why do you do this or that? “ Because the Potter has the fullest right to do with the clay as He pleases.
The whole family therefore knew from the beginning what the Lord’s will was, because Rebekah would surely have told Isaac. And what the Lord God wills, happens, come what may. Rebekah may have used it as a reason for her favouritism of Jacob. Jacob could have used it as a reason why he bought Esau’s birthright with a bowl of stew. We often tend to use the Lord’s Word and promises as justification for our own sins.
Isaac again – despite the fact that he knew what the Lord’s will is – nevertheless tried to give the blessing of the firstborn to Esau. That would mean that – should Isaac utter those words out loud – it would become true – by the Lord’s working. Then Esau would become the head of the family after Isaac’s death, and Esau would have the right to a double portion of the property and money and possessions. He would then also be the one through whom the Lord’s covenant-promises would be fulfilled, and the Messiah would eventually be born through him. The birthright had a certain spiritual application.
Esau was however not at all the Lord’s choice. Before his birth the Lord already chose Jacob. And during his life Esau – besides despising and selling his birthright to Jacob – also married two Canaanite pagan women. God’s divine Plan could never be fulfilled through such a person.
But in spite of this, Isaac wanted to confuse the Lord’s plans and bless Esau. And he wanted to do it SOON. Indeed he was already 137 years old! And he wanted to do it in secret without the knowledge of Rebekah and Jacob. And he was prepared to conspire. He wanted to exclude Jacob completely. And Esau was prepared to completely ignore the agreement with his brother.
2Rebekah and Jacob‘s counter attack (verses 5-17)
The Lord’s way to discipline Isaac and to counter his dishonesty was to give him a wife who was cleverer than him when it comes to deception. Rebekah appeared to be a very loving and faithful wife, but she was a master when it concerned deception and she would have done everything in her power to advance her beloved Jacob’s case – even at the expense of her husband!
It was not by chance that Rebekah overheard what Isaac and Esau was discussing. In the Hebrew we see that it was her habit to eavesdrop. The matter therefore, had come along over a long period of time and she spent time to plan a way so that Isaac would bless Jacob. Without any sign of protest from Jacob’s side. It is as if both of them did not care about what is right or wrong and what is moral and what is truth and what is the will of the Lord. Here it is not about principles, but about what MAN wants. What would have been CORRECT, was that Rebekah should have gone to openly talk to Isaac and then leave matters in the hands of the Lord. Her behaviour reveals her lack of faith in God’s absolute sovereignty.
One can hardly imagine that Rebekah’s plan could succeed. How could Isaac not discover that Jacob had goatskins on His arms. And that the voice of ”Esau” sounded different. And so forth.
But worst of all: What Rebekah and Jacob did not stop to consider is, what the results of their sins would be if the plan should succeed – as indeed it did! They could never guess what the consequences would be. The SUCCESS of the plan resulted that Rebekah & Jacob were to be separated from each other for ever. Sin ALWAYS brings forth death and destruction!
3Isaac believes the great falsehood
Hitler believed that the lie with which you want to deceive people has to be a BIG lie. It has to be as incredible as possible so that people would think that it must be true! This is almost what Rebekah did to Isaac.
Apart from the absurd skins covering his arms, Jacob lies to Isaac without any shame like this. One: “I am Esau your firstborn”. Two: “I have done as you told me”. Three: “Eat some of my game”. Four: “Yes I AM Esau”. Five (the worst) “The LORD your God gave me success”. Now one can fully expect lightning from the Lord to strike and wipe Jacob from the face of the earth. The shameless liar who excuses his sin by confessing that the Lord is with him. Almost like the church justifying sin, and then couples it to the Scriptures and the Name of the Lord!
And then Isaac is led by His nose. Yes, by His nose! The SMELL of Esau settles the matter. And he believes the big lie.
4Isaac learns and Esau burns (verses 30-40)
Tension is rising: Will Jacob pass his father’s interrogation? Isaac’s blessing over Jacob is held back to the very last second. What if Esau should suddenly enter the room – and Jacob is exposed as a deceiver? And then Esau will receive the blessing, and God’s promise – from before their birth – will fail and not be fulfilled?
In the end Jacob is blessed and God’s promise is fulfilled. But Isaac is under the impression that he got the better of Rebekah at last and that he has blessed Esau.
And then Esau enters the room. Full of bravado. And then the indescribable disillusionment for them both. Jacob has deceived them and received the blessing. That Isaac did not die on the spot, is a miracle. His eyes are filled with horror and he trembles violently. Esau must have had a huge fright.
But that is the way the Lord disposes everything according to His purpose and divine Plan. He even incorporates the people’s sins into the execution of His sovereign plan. Isaac wanted to give everything to Esau at Jacob’s expense. But then he unwittingly gave everything to Jacob at Esau’s expense.
Because Isaac’s behaviour was straight AGAINST the will of God, everything exploded in his face. And Esau had to learn that there is a point of no return in your life when regret cannot reverse your wrong decisions. HEB 12:17 says that Esau tearfully begged to receive a blessing from his father, but to no avail. That is how all lost people will shout and cry and beg to reverse their earthly lives, but it will not be possible. It shall be too late.
5Rebekah and Jacob pay the price (verses 41-46)
Rebekah and Jacob had a great price to pay for their successful plan. No person on earth can expect to walk away from the end results of their sins with a smile. Sin is not worth it, because it does not pay dividends. As simple as that.
Rebekah’s smile is soon wiped from her face when her beloved Jacob must flee and she looses him for ever. There is no indication in Scripture that they were ever re-united later on. Rebekah thought that Isaac would soon die and that Jacob would then be safe, but Isaac lived another 40 years (see 35:28).
Jacob also had to pay a price for his sins. He had to leave his material gain behind when he had to flee for His life. And leave his dear mother behind. His soul was empty and cold and dead. Sin does not pay.
6The message for us
6.1We see a prophetic picture image of the Lord Jesus in the way that Jacob received the blessing from his father Isaac IN Esau’s clothes and hair and smell. Jacob literally stood IN Esau in front of Isaac in order to receive the blessing he did not deserve and had no right to. That is the only way in which any sinner can receive the holy God’s undeserved blessing: IN CHRIST. Clothed in Christ’s righteousness and holiness the sinner is acceptable to God the Father, and outside Christ no person can stand in the presence of God.
6.2The absolute sovereignty of God whereby He is in full control of the universe – even though man tries to frustrate His divine Plan. Man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps (Prov 16:9). The sin of man can never thwart the will and Plan of God. The sin of man can however fulfil the will and Plan of God. The sins of Isaac, Esau, Rebekah and Jacob could not prevent that God’s original decision was put into effect. Instead, God employed their sins for His will to be done. This does not mean that sin is good or that God is the author of sin, but it means that sin cannot impair the execution of God’s divine Plan and that he is sovereign over it.
6.3We also learn something about sin. Sin always causes separation. It separates one person from another, and it separates a person from God. And if there is not conciliation/atonement and forgiveness, it leads to eternal separation.
6.4Man is depraved by nature through sin. All people. No exceptions. Sin manifests in the distortion of humanity in every area of life: The emotions, the intellect, the will. The thinking of a person outside Christ is distorted so that he can make the wrong deductions with the correct facts. The only hope is for man to be made alive from ABOVE and to be controlled by the Spirit of Christ and the Word of God.
6.5It is possible to live by faith-trust in Christ Jesus in a way which is contrary to faith-trust!
Hebrews 11:20 says a significant thing about Isaac: “By FAITH Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau”! What?! Was that what we read in Genesis 27 a work of FAITH? Was Isaac not rather spiritually astray and on a false path?
Well, look what Hebrews 11:31 is saying: “By FAITH Rahab was not killed because she welcomed the spies”. But from Joshua 2 we know that she lied about the two spies. And she lied because she believed that the Lord was the only Lord and that Israel was His nation and would give Jericho to His people. Her lie about the spies was a real lie and real sin and is not condoned. She was spiritually misled. Therefore, her faith-trust manifested partly in deceit!
The same applies to Isaac. He was a sincere true believer. He trusted completely in God’s covenant-promises. He knew absolutely that the child whom he blessed would be blessed by the Lord. It was because he was so convinced of this, that he was prepared to deceive to get the blessing for Esau. Therefore, He spoke the blessing with full confidence that the Lord would confirm it and would make it come true. In that sense he acted in faith – as HEB 11 puts it. But how distorted and crooked it came to the fore!
Is that not still the same here in 2019 in the lives of true and devoted Christians? Sometimes we corrupt the same Gospel-message whereupon we really trust! What self-examination that should bring about!
6.6Jacob’s ethics were very doubtful. To him it was more important whether it would WORK than if it was RIGHT & TRUE. He willingly colluded with His mother’s plan, because it sounded as if it would work and that it would not have negative consequences. It did not matter to him whether or not it was right and in line with the Lord’s Word and will.
One can apply it to – for example – the way many of today’s confessing Christians deal with something like sexuality. To them the question is often not what is true or right and what the Lord says about it, but whether or not there will be negative consequences and whether or not it feels right and good.
May the Lord bless us with His holy Word
Translated by Marthie Wilson
Main source: Bob Deffinbaugh