Jacob: 33. Jacob Deceiving Isaac

Genesis 27  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 7
Gen. 27
This is a cup to the brim full of sin and shame for all concerned. Isaac in comparison seems an object of compassion, though here really profane and without the fear of God; so were inexcusable not only Isaac, but Rebecca and Jacob. In speaking of his father we have sufficiently looked at the mother. It remains to say a little more of the one immediately before us.
Oh, the witness to what a saint may be allowed to stoop! What a witness also to that in which God is in long-suffering and grace! If He were not the Eternal who changes not, assuredly Jacob must have been consumed with his sons, as the last of the O. T. prophets tells us. Nevertheless as His moral government dealt with them, so too we may read in Jacob's history as God gives it in His holy word. The beginning was as wretched as could be conceived in either case; but Genesis lets us see in large measure the brightness which divine mercy shed on Jacob's close. Far different was it with Isaac, who disappears from view long before his departure; nor was there anything to distinguish the later years of Abraham's life comparable with Jacob a-dying. Then those eyes which in youth were too keen for “his own things” were opened to see clearly the future of his sons to and at the end of days. Of a truth no prophecy comes of its own interpretation; for no prophecy was ever brought by man's will, but men spoke from God borne along by the Holy Spirit, who rests not short of His glorious purpose for Christ in the latter day.
But in this evil day what have we not to confess? What does not God recall in scripture for our admonition and warning? Humbling it is, but is it not truly good and profitable? Is it not then made evident, that He does not find in us what suits Him, but in love produces it where it was a blank and worse? God alone gives the victory through faith; whilst every fault on our part is noticed, and fully, under the chastening of His moral government. Is not this as it should and must be, God being what He is, and man also? “He that hasteth with his feet sinneth.” No flesh shall glory before him; he that glorieth, let him glory in Jehovah. Who but He could have said by Isaiah (41:13, 14), Fear not, I will help thee. Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel. I will help thee, saith Jehovah, and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. We can find no solid ground of rest but in what He is to us, not in what we are for Him. All shall be beaten small who in their pride of heart refuse to believe, and trust in themselves that they are righteous. Only those who have Him for righteousness shall rejoice and glory in Him.
Hence it is that the Spirit refrains not from laying the scene before us in all its sad ignominy, where the righteous break down utterly, because not one of them was then walking by faith but by sight; and he who had no faith appeals to our natural feelings as the injured party. And verily he, Esau, had his reward; for of the fatness of the earth was his dwelling, and of the dew of heaven from above; and by his sword he lived, though he served his brother; and the time came when, breaking loose, he broke that yoke from off his neck. What did he care for “the promises?” What was the covenant to him who lived only to gratify himself and his lusts?
Badly as Jacob behaved under his mother's crooked advice, doing evil that good might come, he really valued what the Almighty did and pledged in words that could not lie; but so much the greater was the sin, which in son as in mother distrusted Him in the face of Isaac's unworthy effort to indulge his favorite against the purpose of the Lord. But so it was. “There are many devices in a man's heart; but the counsel of Jehovah shall stand.” Flesh wrought its dark way all round. God was forgotten. Deceit prevailed; but the word of our God abides forever. He who had no faith received none of the everlasting portion of grace; all who had done dishonor to God and their faith reaped sorrow from their fleshly measures. The mother parted soon after from her darling, never more to see him; and he who turned from the Lord to follow her devices became long an exile, cheated by his father-in-law as he had cheated his father, and put to many a shame by his own children.
But God was good as He is holy. Therefore because of sin Jacob had to learn all in suffering and self-judgment. Far better to have learned it in His presence, which would have preserved him from exile even when pressed urgently by a fond mother. For conscience speaks to one's own soul, and ever refers to God, whose relationship, being nearest and most authoritative, ought not to be gainsaid or thrust aside even for her that bore him. In this case indeed she, a pious woman, by her ardor in a cunning enterprise, betrayed her self-will in boldly offering to take on herself instead of a blessing Jacob's curse, if so it should be through his father's possible discovery of the fraud (vers. 12, 13). But her persistence overruled or at least silenced his fears; and encouraged him to dare a no less impiety, as we read in vers. 20, 21. So candid is scripture, unveiling the desperate wickedness of which the heart is capable in saints left to themselves, or at least leaving God's presence to achieve God's promise in their own strength and wisdom. We shall see in the sequel what conflict and humiliation befell Jacob, as the necessary discipline to which God subjected him in order that the flesh should be put down, and the saint restored to the ways of holiness from such shameless tampering with evil.