This text is from Genesis Chapter 27, verse 20 and has to deal with counterfeit blessings. We are familiar with the account of Isaac and his sons, and his desire to bless them in his old age; how Isaac had determined to bestow the choice blessing on his firstborn son, Esau, and how Jacob stepped in and took it. The question in our text was voiced by Isaac, and it is a challenge to us as it was when Isaac uttered it. Let us follow the narrative in order and then return to the question with its implication for us.
Isaac was old and his eyes were so dim that he could not see. He called his oldest son, Esau, and asked him to hunt game for him and
'Make me savoury food such as I love, and bring it to me that I may eat, that my soul may bless you before I die.' After Esau had left, Isaac's wife, Rebecca, persuaded their youngest son, Jacob, to impersonate his twin brother and obtain the blessing for himself. She made savoury food such as his father loved, and put Esau's clothes on Jacob. She put goat skins on his hands and the smooth part of his neck to resemble his hairy older brother, and then sent him in to Isaac with the savoury food and the bread which she had prepared. Jacob said to his father,
'I am Esau, your firstborn. I have done just as you told me. Please arise, sit and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me. But Isaac said to his son, 'How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son?'' It was as well for Isaac to hesitate; something was very wrong. To him it was more than suspicious that Esau could have found and prepared game in such a short while. These things usually took hours, or a whole day, depending on the distance the hunter had to travel. Either Esau had not gone hunting, preferring to substitute something close at hand, or, could it be, that it was not Esau talking to him?
Jacob's next answer only deepened Isaac's suspicions, and he said,
'Because the LORD your GOD brought it to me.' This language was not characteristic of Esau; the man of the world, the one who despised his birthright, and who had no time for the things of GOD. This was the kind of language that came naturally to the younger brother, who for all his faults, was concerned about the spiritual priorities that Esau spurned. Isaac was still not satisfied. He said to Jacob,
'Please come near that I may feel you, my son, whether you are really my son Esau or not.' After which he said,
''The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.' Yet once more he asked, 'Are you really my son Esau?' To which Jacob replied, 'I am.'' So Isaac, in spite of his misgivings, took the food and blessed his son.
We do not have the time to dwell on this fascinating episode, nor to comment on the rights and the wrongs in the matter. What I wish to do in the remaining few minutes, is to level the question at our readers, who may be in an analogus situation. Let me explain what I mean. To every one of us there are opportunities, material and spiritual, that hold great promise. Like Esau, we find that there are conditions, but these are not beyond our reach. Why then are we thwarted? Why does someone else succeed in benefiting from the opportunity, instead of us? In the material world, which is like a jungle, and everyone for himself, no explanation is needed. But in GOD's order, the blessings and mercies, the promises and the privileges follow certain infallible principles. Do you desire peace, love, unity, happiness, a pleasant family life, etc.? Then take Esau's example for a warning. It is not by doing, but by being that we come to enjoy the things that money cannot buy. Psalm 37, verse 4:
'Delight yourself also in the LORD and He shall give you the desires of your heart.'
While Esau was busy trying to earn the blessing, he lost it. There were various factors in the narrative that explained why Esau was thwarted. First of all, he had despised his birthright, and yet he expected to receive a blessing. That did not work, nor will it work for us if we think to despise the promises of GOD, and yet aim for the blessings conveyed through those promises. But secondly, Esau was not at all interested in the spiritual blessing. All he was after was the good life down here; never mind about the 'pie in the sky.' If that is our attitude, no wonder we are in trouble spiritually. Remember the words of Job's friend? In Job 22, verse 21 through 23:
'Now acquaint yourself with Him and be at peace; thereby good will come to you. Receive please instruction from His mouth and lay up His words in your heart. If you return to the Almighty, you will be built up. You will remove iniquity far from your tents.' What would Esau have gained if he had only done that! The same goes for us. GOD requires two main things from us: repentance and faith. Repentance from our sins, and faith in the One He sent to redeem us from our sins, YESHUA, our Messiah.
Let us pray: Avinu Malchainu, give us that true faith that we will not go after blessings for which we do not qualify, but like Jacob, seek and win them. We ask it in Messiah's Name. Amen.