The end of chapter 26 tells us Esau was 40 years old when he took to wife Judith a Hittite. We are told this grieved Isaac and Rebekah. It also reveals how little interest Esau really had in the Covenant Promise and blessing and had no interest in Gods Word.
Isaac should have known then- if he had any doubts before- that Esau was disqualified from receiving the blessing. He well remembered how important it was to Abraham that he not take a wife from any of the Canaanite women.
This chapter could serve as the screenplay for a soap opera today. We have so many people doing the wrong thing that Esau looks like the most honorable person.
Isaac should have known better.
Rebekah was trying to do the right thing but the wrong way.
Jacob proved he was well named- as he was a supplanter.
Lets consider the life of Isaac: a miracle child of promise, he had shown great courage and faith when as a young man he had allowed his father, Abraham, to put him on the altar; he was equally obedient to the wishes of his father regarding a bride; and finally, he had found his ministry and left behind a legacy of reopened wells and new wells that blessed many for centuries to come.
As we come to the last half of the book of Genesis we will continue to learn lessons. In Isaac we see one start out well in his walk with the Lord but make some wrong turns. We realize if we are not careful we can make a wrong turn and our walk become unspiritual- even to the point of carnality that no longer discerns the spiritual. A carnal believer is like the unbeliever- in that, the carnal believer comes to rely on his/her senses and live by the flesh rather than the spirit. Surely, the story of Isaac clearly demonstrates this truth. Consider Isaac is physically semi-blind- not completely in the dark but his vision dimmed probably by cataracts. We will see that Isaac is also spiritually semi-blind, his vision of God and Gods word dimmed through his carnality. Thus he lives by his senses- taste, touch, smell and hearing. But eye has not seen nor ear heard , neither has entered into the heart of man, the things God has prepared for them that love him. Isaacs spiritual antennae was not picking up Gods word- his carnality had blocked the signal.
The carnal mind grows stale, stagnant and the stubborn. The carnal mind, like the mind of the natural man, is sensual and controlled by its appetite. Let us learn this lesson from the story of Isaac, we will grow carnal or spiritual as we age, we will not stay on the same plateau. A good beginning does not guarantee a good ending. If ever a man was blessed with a great beginning it was Isaac. Yet here we see he has ended his life under a cloud of carnality. Isaac put his interest his desires above the Lords.
What Paul wrote in Romans 8 is a perfect description of what happened in Isaacs life: For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded in life is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God,neither can it be. (Romans 8:5-8)
Isaac should have been acting as his familys priest seeking a healing in a family that had fallen apart and were at each others throats and life in general was miserable. It was a soap opera of deceit, lying, scheming, eavesdropping, spies, sin, and out-of-control appetites . One parent against the other in a feud over their favored child. A house divided cannot stand- this family was falling apart.
We are warned often about the sins of the father being passed on to become the sins of the children if not dealt with. A child abused becomes a child abuser. The son of an alcoholic becomes the alcoholic himself. Tiger Woods father cheated on his mother, something that Tiger hated about his fathers behavior yet finds himself following the same behavior in an almost uncontrollable manner.
So it should not seem strange, although sad, that Jacob will make the same mistakes in his family- would allow favoritism to bring a wedge into his family and make life miserable.
So let us observe this soap opera in the following scenes.
Isaac has grown older and more carnal. His dimmed physical vision is an indicator of his dimmed spiritual vision. We will either put our eyes on things above or things on this earth. We see Isaac now older, perhaps in declining health, although he will live several more years- his vision has now made him less physically active.
Here is the young man who once allowed his father to tie him to an altar, who meditated in the fields, prayed for his wife to conceive and dug wells to bring life- giving, life sustaining water to many around him- now only interested in the things that appeal to his flesh. Isaac has put his desires ahead of Gods will and Gods desires. He has known since it was revealed to Rebekah she was pregnant with twins, the younger would be the one chosen by God to receive the covenant promise.
We will note how he depends on his senses- smell, taste, touch and hearing.
May our prayer be that we end our lives well- having fought the good fight having finished the race. May we look in the mirror of Gods word and realize we can start out strong- but we must endure to the end. The enemy will not let up in his attack on us or our family.
Notice the division in the family: Isaac does not share his plans for this all important blessing with his wife. Why was he trying to sneak this blessing by her? Because Isaac knew she would not stand for it and because Isaac knew as Rebekah did this was not the will of God.
Isaac had reached a stage in his carnality where he lived by the natural rather than the supernatural and trusted his senses rather than trusting the Word of God.
The repeated phrases in the KJV speak Isaacs carnality: we read of the savoury meat-the reference and dependence on smell, taste and touch tell us this is about the decline of faith and the rise of self. In the KJV, savoury meat is mentioned six times, venison seven times and eating eight times. Here was a carnal man controlled by his carnal appetite.
The first scene closes with an excited and expectant Esau leaving his father with bow and arrow in hand to go kill and prepare a deer and then receive his blessing.
The drama comes next in the scheme of deception engineered by Rebekah. Rebekah was a remarkable woman. I believe she loved Isaac from the moment she saw him. Was at times proud of his accomplishments- but as he grew more carnal and more placid and mild- she grew more assertive and controlling. She was truly a strong woman- but instead of using her strength to encourage her husband and minister strength to him- she took matters into her own hands and set about to fulfill Gods will in her own way- the worlds way. As we watch and observe the next scenes as the world turns..
We will see Rebekah eavesdropping on the conversation between Isaac and Esau. A habit she formed because she and Isaac did not communicate openly. And later being told of Esaus plan to murder his son, once his father died, reveals she also had her spies in the household. Eavesdropping, spies, schemes- a favorite past time in todays soap operas.
What happened to the husband and wife who used to share their concerns and pray together? Truly the family that prays together stays together.
Where is the altar that Isaac had built where he called upon the name of the Lord? What were they thinking?
What would have happened if upon hearing Isaacs plan and seeing Esau go out with his bow, if she had entered the tent and said Isaac- we have to talk to one another and to the Lord before you make this decision? We need to look to the Word of God to lead us in His will. But we know Rebekah did not do this— she had not learned that living by faith is living without scheming.
It seems she almost had this plan already prepared so quickly did she come up with it. If we looked in Rebekahs kitchen she might have a plaque or sign or saying on her refrigerator that said: If you want something done right- you have to do it yourself.! For as we will see this recipe for deceit is literally cooked up in her kitchen.
In the next scene, Rebekah brings Jacob into the plot to play his role of the deceiver.. She tells him what they will do. Jacob immediately sees a potentially fatal flaw in her plan. His father, though near-blind, would be able to tell he was not Esau when he reached out and touched his smooth skin rather than Esaus hairy arms or neck. Jacob whose great interest is the covenant promise of his grandfather, Abraham, is fearful he will be detected then cursed rather than blessed.
His mother said to him, my son, let the curse fall on me. Just do what I say. Truer words were never spoken
a prophetic statement by Rebekah. For when Jacob leaves soon after this affair- she will never see her beloved son again; never lay eyes upon any of his children her grandchildren.
The next scene is the one played out with perfect timing by a couple of conniving con artists. Jacob brings a young goat, a kid for his mother to prepare. Rebekah dresses Jacob in Esaus clothes so Jacob will smell like his brother- then cleverly covers his hands and the smooth part of his neck with goat hair. At the same time we see Esau, perhaps, drawing back an arrow in his bow to kill the deer he will prepare for this all important meal for his father.
Meanwhile, we see Rebecca preparing the young goat carefully, seasoned to taste like venison. Jacob then went to his father in his disguise carrying the prepared meal. Lets listen to this exchange and note the ease with which Jacob lies. Remember how we watched Isaac live a lie in Gerar and noted it is difficult for one to tell just one lie- but must continue to tell other lies to support the first lie? Let us count the lies that come from the mouth of Jacob:
Jacob enters into his fathers presence with the meal.
Isaac asks who is it?
I am Esau. ( Lie #1)
Your first born. ( Lie #2.)
I have done as you told me. ( Lie#3)
Please sit up and eat some of my game.( Lie#4)
Isaac then asks how he had found and prepared the game so quickly?
Jacob then replies with his most audacious lie- The Lord your God gave me success. (Lie#5)
Isaac suspects something is wrong- he wants to touch his son and verify this is really Esau. The goat skin convinces him it is Esau, although he remarks the voice sounds like Jacob. Isaac asks one more time- are you really my son, Esau? And again with his sixth lie in less than 60 seconds- Jacob says I AM.
Then Isaac blesses Jacob.
You can imagine a nervous Rebekah scanning the horizon for the appearance of Esau, biting her nails and thinking what is taking Jacob so long? Finally Jacob comes out of the tent- and none too soon.
No sooner had Jacob left his fathers presence when Esau comes in with his prepared venison. Jacob had narrowly escaped being caught as it were- red-handed in his deceit.
When Esau enters into his fathers tent the two of them would quickly figure out what had just happened. Isaac responded to the discovery with great trembling. Why did he tremble so? I am not sure- but perhaps for Isaac it was a moment of spiritual awakening. For Isaac would not revoke the blessing in spite of Esaus pleading.
Esaus response reflects the response of the unbeliever. There will be great remorse at the great white throne judgment- there will be the arguments they have prepared to present to defend their actions and place the blame on others- but not themselves.The unbelievers will be judged from the books of their works, what they did in the flesh. They, themselves will have their mouths stopped. We are told they will be without excuse. God has revealed Himself to man. The truth is all of mankind has had some light revealed to them. There are two witnesses that witness to the truth of Gods existence. Creation and the Conscience. ( Romans 1&2)
When the light that is revealed is refused, rejected- darkness increases. These will suppress the truth in wickedness. Light obeyed increases light. And as you live up to the light you have received, you will be given more light. God will judge us by the light we have REJECTED. Romans 2:5 states: But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of Gods wrath, when His righteous judgment will be revealed. Also we read in Romans 2:11.12: For God does not show favoritism. All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law.
No one is righteous- no one can keep the law. For this reason, God has made a righteousness apart from the Law that comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. It was available to Esau- it is available to all for God sent His son in the world not to condemn the world, but that through Him the world might be saved.
There will be sorrow at the Great White Throne- but it will not be godly sorrow that would have led to repentance- it will be selfish sorrow that having exchanged the truth for a lie- they now would suffer the consequences of their decisions. You see there is really a pay day- someday. And Esaus pay- day had come. He as will the unbelievers at the Great White Throne discover that their sins took them further than they wanted to go and kept them longer than they wanted to stay and cost them more than they wanted to pay. It had cost them eternally.
Be not deceived- God is not mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction, the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. ( Galatians 6)
Esau pleads and begs and weeps for his father to bless him. But remorse alone cannot obtain the spiritual blessing- it takes repentance and we see in Esaus reaction there is none of that.
Had Esau learned anything regarding Gods sovereignty? No. As matter of fact, he still believes there is a way to take control and because of his hatred, he vows he will murder Jacob as soon as his father dies.
One of Rebekahs household spies tells her of Esaus plans to murder his brother. So Rebekah, in best Scarlet OHara fashion goes to Isaac and says she will just die if Jacob marries a Hittite woman, knowing Isaac will agree to send him to the land of her family and her brother Laban to obtain a wife.
As we will see as the story continues- God will deal with Jacob and Rebekah. They will both reap what they have sown. Jacob himself will be cheated by his father in-law and be deceived by a goat. He will bring the same family dissension through his favoritism for Joseph that his father, Isaac, had with Esau. Rebekah who believes she has cleverly worked everything out- will go to her death never seeing her beloved son, Jacob again.