Isaac: 30. Isaac's Charge to Jacob

Genesis 28:1‑5  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Rebekah did not speak in vain; Isaac acted on her word as to Jacob; as God directed Abraham to listen to Sarah's voice when she demanded the dismissal of mocking Ishmael and his mother.
“And Isaac called Jacob and blessed him, and charged him and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Padan-Aram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother's father; and take thee a wife thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother's brother. And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest become a congregation of peoples. And may he give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land of thy sojournings, which God gave to Abraham. And Isaac sent away Jacob; and he went to Padan-Aram to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean, brother of Rebekah, Jacob's and Esau's mother” (vers. 1-5).
How pointed the distinction from the blessing Isaac heard from the angel of Jehovah when he called to Abraham! Then on the gift of his son, his only son, to die as far as he knew, came the promise of blessing in the widest terms, and seed multiplied as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand on the seashore. Nor was it only for the numerous seed to possess the gate of the enemies, but “in thy seed” (where no number is named, the one Seed of the apostle's interpretation), the true Son raised as truly from out of the dead, “shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” So indeed they are now as Christians. Nothing of the kind is in the blessing Isaac gave Jacob. Nor is this in any respect faulty, but faith speaking according to God's mind in a wholly different case, as we shall see more fully in the sequel.
Indeed it was a charge with which he opens, “Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan.” So Isaac in his day was to marry not from the people of the land, but from Abraham's land and kindred; yet how different the manner! Most emphatically he, the bridegroom, must not leave Canaan; but Abraham's servant, the elder of his house that ruled over all that he had, goes under solemn oath to fetch a wife thence for Isaac. Here on the contrary Jacob is asked to go to Padan Aram, and take a wife thence of the patriarch's kin, of Laban's daughters. So early must Jehovah visit Jacob according to his ways. “Jacob fled into the fields of Aram; and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept [sheep].” He became an exile from the land of promise, to be cheated in a strange land by his kindred, the sad recompence of his own crooked ways to gain what Jehovah had given and would have secured in His holy way of faithfulness and truth.
“And God Almighty bless thee,” prayed Isaac, “and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee that thou mayest become a congregation of peoples.” So it was of old, so it will be yet more in the future. Here, as before, it is strictly blessing on earth. Not a word drops that points to heaven or eternity. Enlargement on earth is assured, but nothing is said of a higher order. Even when Isaac asks God to give him “the blessing of Abraham,” to him and to his seed with him, it is narrowed to this, “that thou mayest possess the land of thy sojournings which God gave to Abraham.” The stopping short thus of higher and deeper and larger things is surely significant, where Jacob comes before us. Such precision is as marked in this earliest of the scriptures; and the lack of observing it is not less apparent in critical eyes, which, failing to learn what is immeasurably above them, set up to judge them as human documents to God's dishonor and their own shame.
Of an opposite school are those who seek to read the church into every scripture, because they do not see that the glory of Christ will have an object of His love on earth as well as for the heavens. They have fallen into the Gentile conceit, which Rom. 11 was written to denounce and correct. God has not cast away His people Israel. They stumbled at the stumbling-stone, and rejecting their own Messiah, are rejected themselves, while the Gentiles are called, and the church is being formed wherein is neither Jew nor Greek, but Christ is all. But the Gentiles have been as faithless to their privileges as Israel, and must as surely be cut off. Divine mercy will then restore His ancient people when Christ returns and brings in His Kingdom in power and glory.
Israel is here in question for the earth, as the call of Rebekah to be Isaac's spouse typifies the bride for the heavenly Bridegroom. As to the administration of the fullness of times, which will only be when Christ appears, room must be left for all things to be headed up and centered in Christ, the Heir of all, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth—in Him, in whom we also were allotted a portion, being marked out beforehand according to God's sovereign purpose. The Christian is not part of the inheritance, but heir of God and joint-heir with Christ. This truth was early lost. The church judaized wholly after the apostles. Even Irenaeus, one of the best of the early ecclesiastics, betrays this confusion, which has gone on deepening ever since.