Lent 2022 Day 9
Fri 11 Mar
Gen 27:25-33 Isaac's blessing
25 Then [Isaac] said, ‘My son, bring me some of your game to eat, so that I may give you my blessing.’
… 28 May God give you heaven’s dew and earth’s richness – an abundance of grain and new wine.
29 May nations serve you and peoples bow down to you.
Be lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you.
May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed.’
30 After Isaac finished blessing him, and Jacob had scarcely left his father’s presence, his brother Esau came in from hunting.
32 His father Isaac asked him, ‘Who are you?’ ‘I am your son,’ he answered, ‘your firstborn, Esau.’
33 Isaac trembled violently and said, ‘Who was it, then, that hunted game and brought it to me? I ate it just before you came and I blessed him – and indeed he will be blessed!’
I’d like to have taken you through the moment when Abraham lifted his knife to kill Isaac, his only son, and with him the promise of God that he would have innumerable descendants, but we’re still knee-deep in Genesis, and will be for a few more days. (I’m sure you’ll read Leviticus and Numbers in your own time.)
There was some backroom scheming going on. Isaac’s wife Rebekah dressed Jacob up so as to pass for Esau to his blind father. This is fraud. So, we may ask, was God’s plan thwarted, when the first child he gave to Isaac was cheated of his inheritance? We should look back a few verses (in Genesis 25:33). Rebekah’s womb was a wrestling ring, two nations vying with each other. Read on a bit and find out how the boys were named, to see that God was already aware that there would be a turnaround in fortunes. Isaac may have also been aware, but he favoured Esau. Isaac was unaware that Jacob had already seized the opportunity to buy Esau out with a bowl of stew.
Rebekah favoured Jacob, and she made sure he succeeded. It was going to happen, because that’s what God had foretold, but Rebekah knew that Isaac’s blessing was a powerful gift, and Jacob would progress much faster with it than without it. Read the words of the blessing again to see how Isaac blessed Jacob. Isaac had bestowed on him all the blessings God had given him (see Genesis 26:1-6, and read on if you didn’t realise how weak Isaac was), and Isaac could only do that once. Once delivered, there was no return postal slip.
You may be staring to see a thread, a line of inheritance and blessing that works its way through generations of people. God has his eye on certain characters, and Jacob the con man will see how much God has invested in him. He was just this guy, but God saw Israel.
Jacob and Esau are the patriarchs of two peoples that continued in conflict.
Why did God not ensure that Jacob came out first? Would this not have saved a lot of trouble?
Did you receive a father’s blessing, even if you were not the first-born son?
When does God know the sort of person someone will turn out to be?
Do you feel sorry for Isaac?
So, which nation did Esau become the father of?
Father God, your ways are frequently beyond my comprehension, and although the story of Esau and Jacob provides a source of drama, I have to trust that in all things you work for our good, our very best, in fact. Amen.
In all things: