We are a blessed nation. We are a blessed people in the Lord. But even his blessing can be misused… mishandled. We can be blessed, but not live like we’re blessed. Take Isaac and Jacob in chapter 27 of Genesis.
Isaac is stingy with the blessing.
Now Isaac was a blessed man, but his problem is that he believes he can control the flow of the blessing. In Chapter 27 of Genesis, Isaac calls his son Esau to his side to read his will to him before he dies. Isaac’s favorite son, Esau, has already sold his “birthright.” So this is Isaac’s last chance to try to rectify things by handing off the “blessing” to this son whom he favors.
1. This is in direct violation of what God wants Isaac to do. It has already been made plain to Isaac and to Rebekah by God that they were to go against the customs of the day. The blessing would be upon the younger not the older son. Regardless of the prophecy Isaac tries to give everything to Esau anyway. If Isaac wasn’t trying to violate God’s plan, he probably would have had a witness at this meeting (required for it to be valid)… and a witness would have seen through Jacob’s deceit in 2 seconds. Isaac ends up bound by his own deceit.
Now all this came about because Isaac thinks that the blessing is his to hand off. Remember, your blessings are from the Lord and are to be at His disposal to do with what He so desires.
2. This is a misjudgment by Isaac regarding the importance of blessing his children.
John Trent once wrote: “Dads, I wish there were some way that I could communicate to you the incredible blessing which affirming words impart to children. I wish, too, that you could sit in my office, when I counsel, and hear the terrible damage that individuals received from not hearing affirming words — particularly affirming words from a father. …words from a father can powerfully set the course of a life.”
Why did Jacob steal the blessing? Partly for the money… he was a crook after all. (His dad calls as much in verse 36.) But I also think it was because it was his last best chance to obtain his father’s approval. Even if it was by stealth… even if he had to pretend to be somebody else to get it.
Isaac had starved his own son of affection. That is a terrible legacy to leave. Isaac was a miser with his love… and Jacob paid the price for it.
Now, while Isaac was stingy with the blessing…
Jacob thinks blessing is something you can steal.
Irving Kristol once said: “Being frustrated is disagreeable, but the real disasters of life begin when you get what you want.” Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes (6:2) wrote: 2 God gives some people great wealth and honor and everything they could ever want, but then he doesn’t give them the chance to enjoy these things.
Jacob’s deceit appears to give him all he ever wanted. But success through deceit has its dark side. Want to actually enjoy the blessings God has sent your way?
1) Don’t forget who you are in the pursuit of the blessing.
Six times in verses 18-27, Isaac seems suspicious. Each time he Jacob has to lie just a little more. In verse 18, Isaac asks, “Who are you, my son?” I wonder if that was a question that kept Jacob up at night for years. When you start playing the role of the deceiver you begin to lose who you are. You might begin to lie to get something you want… eventually you lie because it is part of who you are.
2) Know that Blessing built upon deceit ultimately is not satisfying.
“The joke is told of a pastor whose property adjoined that of a golf course. One Sunday he called his church and told them he was sick… hopped the fence onto the third fairway and began to play. In heaven, an angel went before the Lord and asked him if He could see what was going on. The Lord said he could see it. The angel asked the Lord what he was going to do about it. About that moment on a particularly difficult no. 5 hole… the preacher hit his first ever hole-in-one. The angel was beside himself. “Why have you rewarded this terrible conduct with such remarkable success?”
God replied: “It looks like success now but who is he going to tell?”
This ends up being Jacob’s problem. He heads out of town with no one to boast to about his success.
And how successful is Jacob really? He will get a beautiful wife. (after 14 years of hard labor). He will gain many flocks of animals (after more years of back breaking work). He will have 12 sons (but most of them will succeed in breaking his heart.). In the end Jacob describes his years as “few and difficult.”
And what about the main thing he wanted… the love of his father? He obtains the blessing, but not his father’s love. Isaac’s final words to Esau (“…it shall come about when you become restless, that you will break his yoke from your neck”) are ominous and brimming with bitterness toward Jacob.
When you grab and steal to get what you want… you may succeed… but not for long. And the judgment of God might not fall right away. But soon the deceiver Jacob will be deceived by someone even better at the game than himself… his uncle Laban.
So what’s the take away for us? What does a 21st century Christian learn from this ancient story?
Well… Ephesians 1:3 informs us of this truth: “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.”
We ARE a blessed people. The question is: What are we doing about it? Are we still striving to get what Christ has already secured for us? Are we manipulating people or are we blessing people?
Parents, are you blessing your children? Siblings, are you blessing your brothers of sisters? Church members are you blessing your brothers and sisters?
Live like you’re blessed. Life has a way of turning things around and supplying needed perspective.