Hebrews 11:20 Genesis 27:26-40
Expressing confidence about good things in the future – we like to do that. Don’t worry, it’ll only hurt for a minute. You’re going to get better. Tomorrow will be sunny and warm. We make those statements having no certain knowledge that they will in fact be found true. Not so with Isaac – he invoked blessings for the future on his sons confident that God would keep his promises to them.
A. His undeserving sons Gen. 25:28
the rebel – Dad’s favorite
short-thinking Gen. 25:30 I’m hungry, what’s a birthright
impulsive Gen. 25:32 Feed me, I’m gonna die
disobedient Gen. 26:34; 28:8-9 see also Gen. 24:1-4 marrying the wrong women
inconsiderate Gen. 26:35 giving mom and dad daughters-in-law who would cause grief
dishonest Gen 27:1-5
had sold his birthright but intended to collect it from Isaac anyway
the cheater – Mom’s favorite
took advantage of Esau’s moral weakness Gen. 25:31ff
took advantage of his father’s infirmity – capitalized on failing senses in order to deceive
about himself Gen. 27:19, 24
about God Gen. 27:20
B. His greatest treasure
Isaac – the son of promise, yet not THE son of promise (Jesus)
promise came first to Abraham – Gen. 12:1-3
reinforced and made more specific in Gen 15:4-5, 17:1-8, 17:15-16, 18:10
given by God directly to Isaac Gen. 26:2-5 (later by God to Jacob Gen. 35:9-12)
did not begin and end with Abraham or Isaac
each had a part, each was the means by which the rest would be fulfilled
reponsibility of the patriarch
make provision for distributing his estate – the birthright, etc.
pronounce a benediction or prophetic blessing on his sons
exercise good stewardship of both temporal and spiritual treasures entrusted to him
his greatest treasure – the covenant promise
the land Gen. 27:28 (which at this point he did not “own”)
the seed Gen. 27:29a & b
the blessing Gen. 27:29c
The whole force of the benediction turns to this point, that God will prove himself to be a kind father to his servant Jacob in all things, so that he will constitute him the chief and the head of a holy and elect people, will preserve and defend him by his power, and will secure his salvation in the face of enemies of every kind. Calvin
Even Esau, who we probably will not see in heaven (see Romans 9:13), understood that it was the spiritual treasure which had the greatest value. In Gen. 27:36 he did refer to his loss of birthright but it was his father’s blessing for which he pleaded. Verse 34, 36, 38 – Esau implores his father Isaac to bless him as well, he said nothing about a desire for a property inheritance unlike the prodigal son. (Luke 15)
C. His sovereign gracious God
blessing went to God’s choice, not Isaac’s
Just as Jacob later was supernaturally guided to bless Joseph’s younger son his grandson, so God ordered events that Isaac bestowed the primary blessing on the “correct” son
God honored the blessing in spite of deception
Jacob’s – “stealing” the birthright and the blessing
Esau’s – attempt to recover the birthright
Isaac’s – intending to bless the wrong son; see Gen. 25:23, 28
God’s prophetic promise communicated to both sons
Isaac fulfilled his role as the conduit of God’s promises
birth promise to Esau Gen. 25:23
he would serve his brother
he would live (become one of the two nations promised), albeit by the sword, and not be destroyed for his despising his birthright and subsequent treachery
covenant promise to Jacob Gen. 26:2-5
included the spiritual promises although in veiled form
later made explicit by God in his direct blessing of Jacob (Gen. 35:9ff)
God inaugurated the covenant with Abraham but its terms extended to every generation through his descendants; it was the covenant blessing promised by God that Isaac passed on to Jacob. That was what made it supremely valuable.
recognition of sinful action – Gen. 27:33a
“Isaac trembled with a great trembling exceedingly” Calvin, footnote
understood God had sovereignly overruled his sinful attempt to alter the outworking of God’s purpose
feared for the consequences of his sin
both for himself and his sons
stood convicted before a holy God
did act in faith
expected God to fulfill the promises he (Isaac) prophesied
May God give you…; cursed be…; blessed be…; indeed he shall be blessed
As for the blessing of Esau, although it respected only temporal things, yet he gave it him in faith also, in that it was the fruit of his prayer for him, and contained predictions which he had received by divine revelation. Owen
In spite of relying on human wisdom to determine the object of blessing (sound, touch, smell) and attempting to have his own way, Isaac was still confident God would honor the blessing
But although covered with shame on account of the error he had committed, he nevertheless, with a collected mind, ratifies the benediction which he had pronounced. Calvin
Isaac saw firsthand God sovereignly working out His purpose through both the faithful and the sinful acts he performed. Isaac’s desire to have his own way could in no way thwart God’s plan or cause it to go amiss.
Isaac also saw firsthand God graciously deal with someone who had a stumbling faith who nevertheless passed along that faith to the next generation. God spared his life yet again and affirmed his faith (in Hebrews 11) to encourage believers of all generations.
There are two principles here that give us great hope:
God is sovereign.
That means God’s plan prevails in every situation. In spite of our foolish sinful actions. Satan doesn’t win. Evil people don’t win. Even in the short term. Even when we’re not intentionally sinful in our behavior, just acting carelessly or foolishly. God rules and no one has the power to thwart his purpose.
God is gracious.
Just because God is sovereign does not relieve us of responsibility, to do the right thing. Yet we are fallen human beings. We don’t do the right thing always, and that’s when we need God’s grace. Not to overlook our sin, but to forgive us when we fail and to restore us to fellowship with him.
Because God is immense and sovereign and gracious, his grace is immense and great enough to forgive our sin, whatever it may be. Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace freely bestowed on us if we have faith to believe that the Son of Promise, the Lamb of God, shed his blood for us that we might be forgiven. That we might inherit that future blessing of life eternally in the presence of our great Savior.