Summary: Jacob being sent to find a wife in Genesis 27:46-28:9 teaches us that God is a God of great grace.
We are currently in a series of sermons on "Isaac's Descendants." After twenty years of barrenness, God gave Isaac and Rebekah twin sons, whom they named Esau and Jacob. As a young man, Esau despised his birthright and sold it to his twin brother, Jacob. Much later, Jacob deceived his father, Isaac, and received the blessing that Isaac had intended to give his older son, Esau. As a result of that double deception, Esau wanted to kill Jacob. And so Jacob was sent away to his mother's family in Northwest Mesopotamia to find there a wife for himself.
Let's read about Jacob being sent to find a wife in Genesis 27:46-28:9:
46 Then Rebekah said to Isaac, "I loathe my life because of the Hittite women. If Jacob marries one of the Hittite women like these, one of the women of the land, what good will my life be to me?"
28 Then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and directed him, "You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women. 2 Arise, go to Paddan-aram to the house of Bethuel your mother's father, and take as your wife from there one of the daughters of Laban your mother's brother. 3 God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. 4 May he give the blessing of Abraham to you and to your offspring with you, that you may take possession of the land of your sojournings that God gave to Abraham!" 5 Thus Isaac sent Jacob away. And he went to Paddan-aram, to Laban, the son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob's and Esau's mother.
6 Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Paddan-aram to take a wife from there, and that as he blessed him he directed him, "You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women," 7 and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and gone to Paddan-aram. 8 So when Esau saw that the Canaanite women did not please Isaac his father, 9 Esau went to Ishmael and took as his wife, besides the wives he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham's son, the sister of Nebaioth. (Genesis 27:46-28:9)
In his commentary on this narrative, Dr. James Montgomery Boice, from whom I am drawing heavily for this exposition, begins with an illustration from the movie titled, Ordinary People. The movie is about a "typical" family living in the suburbs of Chicago. The story begins with the accidental drowning of the older son caused by his own foolishness. The younger son is racked with guilt so that he is increasing incapable of coping with life. The mother is bitter and domineering, while the father is good-natured but weak. In the end, the younger son tries to commit suicide and the father leaves home. Boice wryly notes that this "is just a typical, ordinary family!"
The family of Isaac is not very different from the family depicted in Ordinary People. We have already seen that Isaac, Rebekah, Esau, and Jacob have all kinds of problems. In fact, last week someone mentioned to me that they all needed psychiatric counseling! Isaac was deliberately disobedience to the clearly revealed will of God. Even though she knew God's promise to her about the covenantal blessing going to Jacob, Rebekah manipulated the situation to ensure that things went the way she wanted them to go. Jacob, whose name means "deceiver," deceived his older brother out of his birthright and his father's blessing. And Esau was spiritually apathetic and unholy. What a family!
One wonders how God could work in such a family. And yet he did. God was at work in Isaac and his family in order to fulfill his redemptive purpose of providing a blessing to all the families of the earth through his elect seed.
Jacob being sent to find a wife in Genesis 27:46-28:9 teaches us that God is a God of great grace.
Let's use the following outline:
1. The Concern of Rebekah (27:46)
2. The Blessing of Isaac (28:1-5)
3. The Defiance of Esau (28:6-9)
I. The Concern of Rebekah (27:46)
First, let's look at the concern of Rebekah.
In the previous narrative, after Jacob had "stolen" Esau's blessing, Esau was bitter. Moses said in Genesis 27:41, "Now Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him, and Esau said to himself, 'The days of mourning for my father are approaching; then I will kill my brother Jacob.'" Rebekah heard about Esau's plan to kill her favorite son, Jacob. And so she told Jacob about it, and urged him to flee to Laban her brother in Haran and stay with him a while, until his brother's fury turned away. She was sure that after a while Esau's anger would subside, and he would forget what Jacob had done to him. Then, she would send and bring Jacob from Haran. I expect that she thought it would take a few weeks, or a few months, at most. She did not want to lose both her sons in one day (Genesis 27:42-45).