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Posts Tagged ‘Genesis 12’

This post is a rough transcript of the message I had the privilege of giving on May 29th. Skip down to the bottom to watch.

Genesis 27 is a chapter with a familiar account to most of us. Jacob stealing the blessing from his brother Esau. The wearing of goat skins. A conspiracy to deceive a blind father. But there is a lot more there to this passage.

First Impressions

Read the whole chapter. What hits you? How hokey the deception is? I think about Jacob maybe trying to imitate Esau’s voice and  wearing those freshly killed goat skins. How hairy was Esau? Also, why was the blessing so important? Wasn’t it just a prayer? Let me call attention to one big impression that I had. What is missing from this chapter? Between these interactions, whose voice is missing?

Genesis 25: Rebekah feels the wrestling inside of her and inquires of God. God responds and speaks to her.

Genesis 26: God reiterates the promise to Isaac not once but twice. Isaac praises God.

Genesis 27: God’s voice is absent. No one inquires of God. The sin that pervades this chapter is not disconnected from this truth.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Proverbs 14:12

Genesis 27 breaks down into the 4 people you get a glimpse of: Isaac (v1-4), Rebekah (v5-17), Jacob (v18-29), and Esau (v30-40). The aftermath is then seen in v41-46.

Isaac (v1-4)

There are a few key truths to help us understand Isaac’s choices. First, he is most likely recently blind. He feels near to death. This affects how he responds to the deception as he is probably extremely disoriented. Jacob even asks him later to sit up – Isaac has simply been lying there. Second, he has to know of what God spoke to Rebekah in Genesis 25 – that the older would serve the younger, meaning that Jacob would receive the promise. Isaac knows this but ignores God’s word to his wife. He’s always preferred Esau – the man’s man, the outdoorsman, the avid hunter and man of strength. He’s never favored the homebody and momma’s boy Jacob. He knows Jacob should receive the blessing but doesn’t proceed that way. Everything from v5 on didn’t need to happen if Isaac obeys. Third, look at how often the words delicious, tasty, or game are used. In the ESV, “delicious food” is spoken 3 times. The NIV translates it: “tasty food I like” but “delicious food, such as I love” is more accurate. The word for like or love is a Hebrew word not typically used for food but for people! I love my wife or I love my kids. Isaac here says he loves this “delicious food.” On top of his preference for Esau and ignoring the word from God through Rebekah, Isaac is almost literally making this decision with his gut.

Rebekah (v5-17)

Had Rebekah already been thinking about her plan prior to Isaac’s words to Esau? I don’t know. Either way, she plans to subvert and deceive her husband and manipulate Jacob. Why would she do this? Maybe cause she thought she was right. She saw Isaac ignoring God’s word to her and felt the need to jump in. Her husband is intent on not listening to her or to God so she takes control.
Remember – Isaac is freshly blind and likely feeling very scared and untrusting of his senses. Rebekah knows this and completely exploits it. It is actually quite discouraging how much Rebekah knows exactly how to manipulate every single one of these men – Isaac, Jacob, and even Esau and does it.

Now let’s go back to Genesis 26. Isaac does the same thing his dad did. Now, many probably remember when John talked about the 2nd time Abraham does this – right before the birth of Isaac. Sarai’s faith and trust of her husband was unbelievable. Abraham sells her out a second time and then they leave and Isaac is born thereafter. Sarai seemed to be very forgiving. But I’m not sure with Rebekah. I think she struggled a bit. I think there might have been some carryover into this chapter of their life. In her conversation with Jacob she keeps calling him “Your father.” Three times she says it that way. Look at the interactions. Isaac and Esau. Jacob and Rebekah. Isaac and Jacob (who he thinks is Esau), Isaac and Esau, Rebekah and Jacob, then Rebekah in a very manipulative conversation with Isaac. Rebekah never speaks with Esau. Esau and Jacob never speak to each other. I think this is a very divided family and a stagnant marriage. Rebekah and Isaac are not not communicating.

Jacob (v18-29)

Let’s go back to v11-12 first. He is no innocent manipulated victim here. Jacob does not balk at the wickedness of the plan but merely points out a flaw and then points out the risk to himself. He has no issue with the deception, nor with lying to his father. Think about what they do here. Then and even now, it’s pretty disgusting how they just take advantage of a blind and not well man. Jacob tells him to sit up so he can eat – he’s just been laying down in a pretty rough state. They just use Isaac. Of anything in this chapter, that’s pretty reprehensible, let alone planning and carrying it out against your husband and father.

Now go to verse 20. Jacob says “The Lord YOUR God.” This is practically mocking God but it betrays Jacob’s heart also – Jacob has always been rejected by his father. He doesn’t know God yet but knows where Isaac stands. You know what also makes this stand out? This question: What do you think Esau would have said? I doubt he would have even mentioned God, as he never does.

Esau (v30-40)

If you take a look at all of Esau’s words from his birth to his reunion with Jacob, it’s very telling. Not one mention of God ever. In their later reunion, Jacob is profuse in his gratefulness to God, Esau almost seems to ignore his words. But that is later.

You really have to feel for Esau first though. He makes an “exceedingly great and bitter cry” and he weeps. He gets used just like Isaac does. He gets deceived and schemed against by his brother and mom. But is that all there is to it? Is his anger against Jacob fully justified? At the end of chapter 25, Jacob swindles Esau out of this birthright. I think part of why Esau tossed away his birthright is because he knew he had his dad’s favor and that the blessing mattered more. He shows it here – he thinks the two are disconnected. Are they? To answer that, we need to go to Hebrews 12:15-17.

See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace and he of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears. (Hebrews 12:15-17 ESV)

Indeed the birthright and the blessing are connected. Esau had no faith, married foreign wives – a direct insult to the legacy of his father, and he simply tosses away his birthright. Sorry. He’s not an innocent victim either. Esau wanted to be his own man. He didn’t need his father. He wasn’t riding anyone’s coattails. He was ultimately rejecting his father. He was despising his father’s dreams for him, his dad’s love, and ultimately his father’s God. Esau wanted the blessing, the prosperity without faith, without the responsibility. This is what Isaac blindly ignores. Esau wanted the blessing but not God. Genesis 27 is not the last of Esau but he never seems to have faith or turn to God.

What’s the point of Genesis 27?

Is the point of this story simply a few moral examples of a family that you do not want to be like? An example of a husband who passively ignores God’s word to him, a wife who subverts and circumvents him to get her way, an older son who could care less about his father and tosses it all away for pleasure, and a younger son who cheats and lies and will seem to do anything to have his father’s approval and blessing? Is that why God has given us this account? Is that why we have this text? Or is it to show that blessings are something that can merely be stolen?

Think about the aftermath in v41-46 and what happens moving forward. We never hear from Rebekah again. She is only mentioned inconsequentially 4 more times in this book, only once more after that in the book of Romans. That’s it. As far as I can tell, she would never see Jacob again. Isaac? He actually seems to repent. Think about his moment of trembling and I think it hit him in that moment that even though he’d just gotten lied to and tricked, he knew he was the one in sin for favoring Esau. At the beginning of chapter 28, he seems to understand and trust that God has chosen Jacob and that’s how it’s always been. Esau? He hates Jacob and wants to kill him. He never has faith, and never acknowledges God, even in coming to peace with his brother later.

What about Jacob? He was worried about taking on a curse for his actions. Isn’t that what happens? He has to leave home. He never sees his mom again. Death in the form of his brother is after him. He relegated to a pretty lonely existence of deceive or be deceived.

Is there one faith driven choice in Genesis 27? Sin seems to reign. However, absent God may feel in this chapter, there is a whisper, a spark that I believe begins to scream out. What is the most used word in this chapter? BLESSING!!!! It’s used at least 20 times in this chapter! Now think about it. All this scrambling. All of Jacob’s lying and deceit and theft. And guess what? Something didn’t change. THE BLESSING IS STILL HIS JUST AS IT WAS APART FROM THEIR SIN! AND YOU KNOW WHAT? IT’S OURS TOO.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,” (Ephesians 1:3 ESV)

THERE IT IS: BLESSING. Remember, what were God’s words to Abraham?

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
(Genesis 12:1-3 ESV)

THERE IT IS AGAIN? NEED MORE? WHAT IS THIS BLESSING? GO BACK TO EPHESIANS 1 AGAIN. Remember – God said that he would use Abraham to bless the whole world. that was his legacy and the promise was passed on. Did it stop when they entered the Promised land in the book of Joshua? When Israel gained possession? No. Why? The whole world wasn’t blessed yet. yet. But who is Abraham’s grandson to 42nd generation? Jesus. And there it is. This blessing is offered to you and to me.

Jacob didn’t need to fret. It was promised. An inheritance. Legacy. Blessing through his life. A special relationship with God. It was his to receive. Just like you. We don’t have to live that way. We don’t have to fight for our best life now. The gospel is our promise that is there for the taking just as it was for Jacob. What’s that, you’re a sinner? Welcome. Remember – in spite of all of their scrambling the promise never wavered. The blessing never disappeared.

Now, some of us might be asking, Am I Esau? Is there no blessing left for me? Am I not chosen? God rejected him. God chose Jacob. What if God has rejected me? If you’re even asking that question, then it’s not too late and you are not rejected. You still have a choice. You can still seek him. You can still turn to Him. You can still ask him for the blessing. Think about Jacob. Think the blessing was conditional? No way.

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 ESV)

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9 ESV)

Why has God given us Genesis 27? Why does he want us to see this account? Because God is not limited by sin, because sin can’t defeat God, and because we need to see that the promise is ours in spite of our sin. It’s ours! We don’t have to scramble. We don’t have to hide. We don’t have to find ways to daily justify our existence. For that matter, I don’t have to sin. That doesn’t mean I won’t keep stumbling – our sin runs deep. But the blessing is now ours. The promise is ours.  It’s yours. Right now. Don’t scramble for it. Rest in it.

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