Back to Jacob – We are given far more details about Jacob’s actions,
emotions, and response to God than about most individuals of the Old Testament.
It’s interesting that God’s promise of a seed starts out through one person
at a time until after Jacob. Abraham to Isaac to Jacob….and then to Jacob’s 12
sons – each as important as the other in Israel
’s history. Scripture records
many events in Jacob’s life. We see his sins, his faith and God’s dealings with
him in grace, in chastisement, by revelation and by rebuke as he molds Jacob’s
character into the dignified man of stature he eventually became. You’ll notice
that God allows Jacob to experience from others the same kind of deception and
suffering he inflicted upon his father, Isaac – with his taking Esau’s
birthright and then Isaac’s blessing.
We’ll get to it shortly, but you’ll remember that Jacob leaves his parents
and goes to live with his uncle Laban for twenty years. Laban lied to him about
earning his wife and also about his wages many times. In his old age his sons
lied to him about what happened to Joseph. Some people would call this Karma,
but it’s God disciplining him in a way he can see his own sin.
God disciplines His own and He often does this by circumstances of life.
Isaac’s blessing was also prophecy. It was God promising through Isaac –
the land which his son would possess would be blessed with heavenly dew, which
is so heavy that even in the dry season it almost takes the place of rain. The
land would be fertile, full of grain and wine.
would serve his line. People would bow down. People bowed down to Jacob’s son
Joseph in Egypt
And of course we will ALL bow down to Jesus one day.
also blessed him with headship over his brother. Although he was really
blessing Esau with headship over Jacob. (Isaac was trying to annul God’s
original declared purpose in regard to the younger ruling over the elder.)
Abrahamic promise of cursing and blessing. He just reasserted God’s promise to
Abraham that he would be so identified in God’s family and with God Himself
that God would consider those who cursed him as though they cursed God and
those who blessed him as though they blessed God.
Then Jacob left and Esau came in and Isaac realized what had happened. And
he trembled violently. Imagine how he felt when he realized that he had tried
to manipulate God, but God had stepped in and prevented him! He realized he
couldn’t change God’s sanction and told Esau so.
Esau regrets his former action, but regret and remorse are not repentance.
Isaac gave him the portion of temporal blessing and prophecy relating to the
future which God knew most fitted the life which Esau had already chosen for
land would be rocky and dry (“away from the earth’s richness, away from the dew
of heaven above”). Edom
is a mountainous stronghold with a few fertile places, but very little rain.
and his descendants would be known throughout history for their continual violence
and conflict, particularly in relation to the more peaceful Israel
they constantly harassed and even persecuted.
would serve his brother – for a long time Israel
was over Edom
will throw his yoke from off your neck.” The time came when Judah
disappeared. One commentator wrote that by “refusing to value their spiritual
possessions while they had them they ended in being discarded by God from being
instruments of blessing to the people around them.”
I couldn’t help but think of America
when I read that. (Re-read statement)
Isaac calls Jacob back to give him the full Abrahamic blessing:
Esau learned that Isaac had blessed Jacob and had sent him to Paddan Aram to
take a wife from there, and that when he blessed him he commanded him, “Do not
marry a Canaanite woman,” 7 and that Jacob had obeyed his father and mother
and had gone to Paddan Aram. 8 Esau
then realized how displeasing the Canaanite women were to his father Isaac;
9 so he went to Ishmael and married Mahalath,
the sister of Nebaioth and daughter of Ishmael son of Abraham, in addition to
the wives he already had.
Genesis 28:1-9 So Isaac called for Jacob and blessed him. Then he commanded him: “Do
not marry a Canaanite woman. 2 Go at once to Paddan Aram, to the house of your mother’s
father Bethuel. Take a wife for yourself there, from among the daughters of
Laban, your mother’s brother. 3 May
God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until
you become a community of peoples. 4 May
he give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham, so that you may
take possession of the land where you now reside as a foreigner, the land God
gave to Abraham.” 5 Then Isaac sent
Jacob on his way, and he went to Paddan Aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the
Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, who was the mother of Jacob and Esau.
Esau, who had been indifferent and easy going, turned all his blame and
bitterness on Jacob. Rebekah hears him say he is going to kill Jacob, so sends
him away to her brother Laban. Remember when she had told Jacob “let the curse
be on me”? Well, the first part of that curse was she lost her favorite son.
It’s thought they never saw each other again.
So how can we apply this story to our lives? Isaac
shows us that it is possible so to live in the light of a
past great experience with God that in the present we stagnate, become
spiritually lazy and blind and indifferent to God’s call to new decisions and
we learn that it is possible
to know God’s Word, to believe it, to be sound and to recognize when others are
not acting according to God’s revealed Word, but yet in personal actions ignore
God’s requirements of plain truthfulness, honesty, integrity and righteous
conduct. Orthodox belief accompanied by unrighteous conduct will lead to God’s
chastisement and sorrow.
we learn it is possible
to be so convinced that we are in the right, legally, that any conduct seems
allowable .We should not be going after our “rights” in ways that don’t please
And from Esau
we learn not to
blame others for the consequence of our own indifference to God and spiritual
Labels: Esau, Genesis, Isaac, Jacob, Rebekah