Sermon: “Stealing the Blessing” (Genesis 26:34–27:46)
There are no role models in Genesis 26:34–27:46. Esau, the man of the field (Gen. 25:27), sets his mind entirely on the things of this world from the beginning by taking two Canaanite wives. Isaac, whose own father explicitly forbade Isaac from taking Canaanite wives (Gen. 24:3), nevertheless sets his mind and heart on giving the patriarchal blessing to Esau in exchange for some food—the exact same price for which Esau sold his birthright to Jacob (Gen. 25:29–34). Rebekah, who was so industriously servant-hearted in the days of her youth (Gen. 24:15–20), now industriously orchestrates a plan to deceive her blind husband in order to steal the blessing for Jacob. Jacob, a “blameless” man (ESV: “quiet”; Gen. 25:27), protests his mother’s plan initially out of a concern for getting caught, but he becomes altogether blameworthy when he carries out the deception that his mother proposes.
In this mess, God is silent and seems absent. Nevertheless, we know that God is working behind the scenes to bring about the fulfillment of his original birth oracle, when he prophesied that “the older [Esau] shall serve the younger [Jacob]” (Gen. 25:23). Neither Esau’s baseness, nor Isaac’s gluttony, nor Rebekah’s treachery, nor Jacob’s deceptiveness can overturn the promises of God. Indeed, God is not establishing his kingdom on the merits of these broken, sinful people. Rather, God made the original birth oracle, and he sovereignly works in and through the events of this awful chapter “in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works, but because of his call” (Rom. 9:11). Through Jacob, God will bring forth the Lord Jesus Christ as the offspring of Abraham and Isaac (Gal. 3:16; Gen. 21:12) and Christ’s kingdom as the blessing through whom all the nations of the earth will be blessed (Eph. 1:11; 3:6; Gal. 12:3). In Genesis 26:34–27:46, we see vividly that God blesses his people according to his purposes, not ours.