Formations lesson for Aug. 17: Deception and Blessing - Jacob and Esau
July 25 2003 by Tommy Bratton , Genesis 27:1-33

Formations lesson for Aug. 17: Deception and Blessing - Jacob and Esau | Friday, July 25, 2003

Friday, July 25, 2003

Formations lesson for Aug. 17: Deception and Blessing - Jacob and Esau

By Tommy Bratton Genesis 27:1-33

We all strive to discover a sense of purpose for our lives and for the lives of our children. As parents, we seek to bless our children and entrust our values and hopes to them. Yet sometimes, we assume that our children know of their worth and their potential without our telling them.

In Genesis, we encounter a story of blessing, a passing on of the covenant of God to the next generation. The basic elements of the blessing, as we see in Genesis 27, include touch, speaking a message, expressing value, depicting a significant future, and an active call to live into the promises of God.

In the text, we continue to witness the interaction of members of Isaac's family. It is a narrative of deception and blessing, of trickery and promise. Our modern sensibilities are called into question as we read this text, yet the rawness of the story speaks to us of God's presence in the messiness of life, and the purpose He has for those whom He has chosen.

Isaac Prepares to Bless Esau (Genesis 27:1-4) As the story begins, we are told that Isaac has become blind in his old age. Because he is unsure of how long he will live, Isaac tells Esau him to prepare a tasty meal for him, that Isaac may afterwards bestow a blessing to his son.

The longing of a father to bless his son and the desire of the son to receive the blessing was an indication of the intergenerational quality of life. Parent and child are bound together through the heritage of the past and the promised hope of the future.

Isaac is probably aware of the exchange of birthright between Esau and Jacob, and is intent on blessing his eldest son whom he favors. Blessings were usually given at the end of life, yet the Bible tells us that Isaac lived many more years. One might imagine that the blessing has become a burden for Isaac. He is ready to bless Esau to help Esau see the value of the promise of God. Yet, as the story continues, we will see that the blessing becomes a burden for the others as well.

Rebekah Plots with Jacob (Genesis 27:5-17) Rebekah remembers the oracle of God that disclosed Jacob would inherit the promise, and she uses her cunning to trick Isaac into blessing Jacob to fulfill the words of God. Was it right for Rebekah to favor Jacob and plot with him against her husband? Of course not. In our modern sensibilities, we understand that the ends do not justify the means.

We also know that she understood that Jacob was God's choice. He was the son who prepared for the future rather than living for the moment. He was the son who valued the birthright and the great things of God. He was the son with an active commitment to fulfill the blessing.

Jacob Deceives Isaac (Genesis 27:18-29) Following the instruction of his mother, Jacob deceives his father by disguising himself as his brother, Esau. Isaac's sight is impaired, so he is unable to see the son he would bless. Scripture even records that Isaac recognized the voice of the imposter as Jacob and confronted him by asking to feel his skin. It is the sense of touch and the smell that leads Isaac to be convinced.

Isaac blesses Jacob, which includes ruling over his brothers. The plan designed by Rebekah works and Jacob becomes heir of the promise. God's covenant is passed on to Jacob, but the consequence of his sins will follow him.

Isaac Grieves with Esau (Genesis 27:30-33) The power of blessing is larger than Esau and Isaac. They grieve over the deception, but both recognize that it is out of their hands. The blessing cannot be withdrawn and there is only one to be given.

By not treating the blessing with care, they find themselves disappointed and left out. We all desire to be blessed, but many of us choose immediate gratification over the responsibility of following God's call.

The story continues in the next chapters, and Jacob will realize the cost of the blessing - broken relationships, loneliness, fear and anger. Though God allows people freedom to choose their way, God also allows people to reap the resulting consequences. But thanks be to God that He is always present to us as we go through the difficulties of our own making.

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7/25/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tommy Bratton , Genesis 27:1-33 | with 0 comments
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