We’re now at a point in the book of Genesis where the differences between Isaac’s sons Esau and Jacob are highlighted. Remember how we saw that from birth the Lord had declared their differences in person and in purpose.
Then we saw how Jacob gained his older brother’s birthright by taking advantage of Esau’s weakened and worldly mindset.
And then we saw Esau marry pagan women which caused serious stress in the family.
[Read Genesis 26:34-35.]
Thirty-seven years go by and chapter 27 shows us that things are not well in the family. It’s a divided home that’s riddled with deception by everyone. And this deception is motivated by Isaac and Rebekah playing favorites with the kids.
[“Step-daughter” at Bethel story.]
Isaac preferred his first-born son Esau. Rebekah preferred the younger son Jacob. And both parents were determined to have their favorite son be in charge of the family when they died – no matter what God had said! Now what had God said? That Jacob would be in charge.
[Read Genesis 25:23.]
Isaac and Rebekah knew that God had determined that Jacob would be the one through whom the covenant would pass through.
Jacob had even secured his brother’s birthright to be the legal head of the family.
[Read Genesis 25:33.]
And of course, Esau showed poor judgment by marrying pagan women.
It should have been evident to Isaac that Esau wasn’t the one to lead the family. It also should have been evident to Rebekah that God didn’t need her conniving to establish Jacob as the head of the family. But they and their kids decided to guarantee their own wishes by deceiving one another. And a family built on deception will inevitably become a divided family.
I. Isaac and Esau scheme against Rebekah and Jacob
[Read Genesis 27:1-4.]
Isaac thought he would soon die. After all, he’s 137 years old at this time. His eyesight was failing. His health was failing. He needed to make some plans before he died. So this was his last effort to legally pass on his family blessing to his favorite son Esau before he died. This was his attempt to help Esau regain his birthright that he had foolishly traded to Jacob for a hot meal. This was nothing less than a deceptive scheme against Rebekah and Jacob.
After all, it was no secret that Rebekah favored Jacob. It was also no secret that God had spoken to Rebekah and had told her of His plan for Jacob to rule over Esau.
Now I’m not sure what Isaac was thinking at this point. In his mind he not only had to discount Jacob’s potential leadership ability but God’s wishes for Jacob as well.
Maybe he wasn’t walking with God as closely as before. Maybe he was getting stubborn in his old age. Maybe a little senile. We don’t really know what he was thinking other than he was going to make sure that Esau, not the appointed Jacob, would have his blessing.
Esau was all too eager to go along with the plan that would enable his preeminent position in the family over Jacob.
But there was one thing that Isaac and Esau didn’t account for – the hearing ability of a Mother! I mean to tell you what, a Mother can hear everything! You can’t get away with anything when Mom’s around! My Mom’s hearing was so good she could hear sign language!
Rebekah heard Isaac and Esau’s plans so she came up with some plans of her own.
II. Rebekah and Jacob scheme against Isaac and Esau
[Read Genesis 27:5-13.]
Whenever I read this passage it grieves me that these spouses schemed against each other like this. I mean, lies only harm a relationship. Even if the lies get you what you want, it will always cost you in the end. That’s what we’ll eventually see as a product of all these lies.
Jacob went right along with Mom’s plans to purposefully deceive his own father and brother. His only objection was concerning getting caught – not whether what they were doing was right or wrong. He just didn’t want to loose that birthright that he had gotten from his older brother. So his mom assures him that she’ll take the fall if the plans fail. So we next see:
III. Rebekah and Jacob carry out their plans
[Read Genesis 27:14-27.]
I tell you what, Jacob and his mom went to extraordinary means to deceive Isaac.
- Cooking goats in a way that it tasted like game
- Having Jacob wear Esau’s clothes so he would feel and small like Esau
- Putting goat skins on Jacob’s hands so he would feel hairy like Esau
But even with all this deception, Isaac still had some doubts. It’s almost like he might