There are a lot of questions I’d love to ask God about this passage. First, how much did Isaac really know? When God told Rebekah that Esau was to serve Jacob, did she pass that on to Isaac? And if she did, how did Isaac respond? Further, when Esau sold his birthright to Jacob, did Isaac hear about it, and what was his response?
Either Isaac knew nothing, and was just doing what he thought was right, or he knew everything, and there was something wrong about his attitude. But as it is, we don’t know how much Isaac really knew.
Which brings us to Rebekah’s and Jacob’s actions. I’m sure Rebekah told Jacob of what God has said. The Bible doesn’t say this, but from Jacob’s actions earlier, taking Esau’s birthright, it seems that he had this idea planted from somewhere. It could’ve come from himself, I suppose. But it seems more likely that it came from his mother. So in all probability, they both knew God’s promises. But when Isaac was about to bless Esau instead, they both panicked. And so they deceived Isaac into blessing Jacob instead. Rebekah and Jacob succeeded. They got the blessing from Isaac. And it was God’s will to bless Jacob, not Esau. But did the ends justify the means?
Well, look at the result. Esau was so upset, he planned to murder Jacob. Because of that Jacob had to flee for his life, and he never did see his mother again. For a long time he had to live in fear of his life, and it was only many years later that he reconciled his relationship with Esau. Lots of fear, lots of worry, lots of wasted years because of this one decision.
Which brings me to my last question. Had Jacob and Rebekah done nothing, what would have happened? Would God have intervened at the last minute and said to Isaac, “Jacob is the one you should bless?” We don’t know. And we’ll never know because Jacob and Rebekah took things into their own hands. One thing I do know is that God always keeps his promises. And he didn’t need Jacob and Rebekah’s help.
There may be times in our lives, when it seems we need to do something a little shady to get things done. There may be times in our lives when we say, “But there was no other choice. I had to do things this way.” But when we try to force things apart from God’s will, we get into trouble. Abraham and Sarah learned this with the birth of Ishamel. And Jacob and Rebekah learned this with the incident of Isaac’s blessing.
How much regret have we had in our lives because we tried to force things to happen, instead of waiting for God to act. As Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” (NIV) And again in Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (NIV)
Lord, help me to always do things your way, not mine. There are times when I can’t see how things can work out if I try to do things your way. But help me to trust you. Help me to trust your way is best in all things. And I know that as I do, you’ll make my paths straight. In Jesus name, amen.