Deceitful Senses

Isaac blesses JacobWhen rereading the familiar Genesis 27 story of Jacob’s attempt to steal the firstborn blessing from Isaac, I was struck with how clearly Scripture portrays the fervor and futility of self will.

Isaac, fearful that he will die without passing on the blessing that ensured the destiny of the firstborn, hatches a plan to subvert God’s will.

He was determined to interrupt God’s plan to have the blessing fall on the younger Jacob and so substituted his own plan to bless Esau.  The story highlights how easily we yield to self determination and are deceived by the very senses that we seek to satisfy.

Isaac’s blindness made him desperate to verify that the son who entered his tent was Esau.  It becomes clear to the reader that Isaac is captive to his own deceit.

If he calls for a witness who has eyes to see, his plan will be exposed—he chooses to rely on his senses and this heightens the readers understanding that Isaac is more than physically blind.

  • “Come near so I can touch you…” (21)  –  touched hair and believed it was Esau

  • “The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau” (22) – rejected his accurate sense of hearing in favor of what he had touched.
  • “Bring me some of your game to eat.” (25) — relying on his sense of taste to determine if this was really Esau.
  • “Come here, my son, and kiss me” (26) – sought a kiss in order to get close enough to use the sense of smell to see if this was really Esau.

Isaac’s senses failed him.  He was the one who was deceived and he inadvertently blessed the son that God intended to bless.

What are the lessons that God teaches through the 4 characters in this narrative?

  • Isaac- “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (Prov. 19:21)
  • Rebekah- wrong methods never accomplish right ends!
  • Jacob- blessings are given by God not gained by deceit!
  • Esau- pleasure of sin is never worth the price we pay for it!
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