Summary: It is at the end of life that faith’s victory is seen most clearly. It’s at the end of our journey that proves whether our faith was shallow or deep; cheap or precious.
“The Victory of Faith”
July 30, 2014 Chester’s FBC, Chester, IL Dr. Mike Fogerson, Speaker
A It is at the end of life that faith’s victory is seen most clearly.
1 I remember reading an article when I was in my early twenties about the final moments of the crew of the Challenger Space Shuttle.
a Some of the crew were cursing God, others were saying the Lord’s Prayer/23rd Psalm. (I have no idea if that story is real or not . . . but I’ve been around enough folks who are dying to know that this kind of thing happens.)
b It’s at the end of our journey that proves whether our faith was shallow or deep; cheap or precious.
2 The three OT patriarchs in our text demonstrate faith’s victory by their dying utterance.
a The faithful folks climbed the mountains of life’s difficulties and with spiritual eyes saw into the glorious future of all who believe.
aa From a distance they saw all that God promised the believer,
bb They embraced a future promise as a present reality.
b Death to men like Isaac, Jacob, & Joseph was not a terrible thing to them in old age. . . they looked forward to it.
B They all died giving a blessing, and though they never saw the promise made to them come in fulness, they died believing.
1 As Christians get older, I think it’s standard thinking for us to ask ourselves, “How will I face the end of my life?”
a You can know victory at the end of life’s road.
b The three men in our text (Isaac, Jacob, & Joseph) each illustrate one aspect of faith’s victory.
I Isaac: Victory Over the Flesh (v.20)
Hebrews 11:20 (NASB) 20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come.
A If there was one word that defined Isaac’s life, it was “submissiveness.”
1 He submitted . . .
a When Abraham took him to Mount Moriah, in the selection of his wife Rebekah.
b He was submissive/full of peace as he watched the Philistines capture one water well after another he had dug with his own hands. (Each time they lay claim to one, Isaac would just dig another.)
2 Isaac as a godly man, faithful man . . . but he still had a fleshly weakness.
a God told Isaac/Rebekah that their son Jacob was the chosen son that was to carry blessing, but Isaac showed more favor to the outdoorsman son, Esau.
aa So what was Isaac’s weakness?
bb His appetite for meat (Gen. 25.28; 27.3-5).
Genesis 25:28 (NASB) 28 Now Isaac loved Esau, because he had a taste for game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.
Genesis 27:3-5 (NASB) 3 "Now then, please take your gear, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me; 4 and prepare a savory dish for me such as I love, and bring it to me that I may eat, so that my soul may bless you before I die." 5 Rebekah was listening while Isaac spoke to his son Esau. So when Esau went to the field to hunt for game to bring home,
b Because of his weakness of the flesh, Isaac was willing to change the decree of God, namely in blessing Jacob over Esau.
3 Knowing her husband’s weakness, Rebekah helped put together a scheme to get the fatherly blessing placed on Jacob instead of Esau.
a She put wild animal skins on Jacob, around his neck, made a stew for Isaac.
aa At the right time, a half-blind Isaac put the blessing on the one God wanted him to put the blessing on in the first place.
bb Until tonight, I’ve been disappointed in Rebekah . . . but not after tonight. SHE WAS BEING FAITHFUL TO WHAT GOD WANTED!!!
b Where does Isaac’s faith enter this story of blessing?
aa When Isaac is made aware of this scheme, deception, but refuses to reverse the decree and transfer the blessing to Esau (Gen. 27.30-41).
Genesis 27:30-41 (NASB) 30 Now it came about, as soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, and Jacob had hardly gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting. 31 Then he also made savory food, and brought it to his father; and he said to his father, "Let my father arise and eat of his son's game, that you may bless me." 32 Isaac his father said to him, "Who are you?" And he said, "I am your son, your firstborn, Esau." 33 Then Isaac trembled violently, and said, "Who was he then that hunted game and brought it to me, so that I ate of all of it before you came, and blessed him? Yes, and he shall be blessed." 34 When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, "Bless me, even me also, O my father!" 35 And he said, "Your brother came deceitfully and has taken away your blessing." 36 Then he said, "Is he not rightly named Jacob, for he has supplanted me these two times? He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing." And he said, "Have you not reserved a blessing for me?" 37 But Isaac replied to Esau, "Behold, I have made him your master, and all his relatives I have given to him as servants; and with grain and new wine I have sustained him. Now as for you then, what can I do, my son?" 38 Esau said to his father, "Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father." So Esau lifted his voice and wept. 39 Then Isaac his father answered and said to him, "Behold, away from the fertility of the earth shall be your dwelling, And away from the dew of heaven from above. 40 "By your sword you shall live, And your brother you shall serve; But it shall come about when you become restless, That you will break his yoke from your neck." 41 So Esau bore a grudge against 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 near; then I will kill my brother Jacob."