Hebrews – Chapter Eleven XXXI

by Ed Urzi

“It was faith that made Isaac promise blessings for the future to Jacob and Esau” (Hebrews 11:20 GNB).

Although Jacob had managed to persuade his elderly, blind father Isaac into the belief that he was actually his brother Esau, Jacob still had some additional tests to complete…

“Isaac said, ‘Bring some of the wild game for me to eat, my son. Then I will bless you.’ So Jacob brought it to him, and he ate it. He also brought him wine, and Isaac drank. Then his father Isaac said to him, ‘Come here and kiss me, my son.’ So Jacob went over and kissed him. When Isaac caught the scent of his clothing, he blessed him, saying, ‘Yes, my son smells like the scent of an open field which the Lord has blessed'” (Genesis 27:25-27 NET).

Unfortunately, Isaac was about to base this decision to bless his son entirely upon what he could touch, smell, and taste. That leads us to an important application from this narrative. While it is true that there is a basic reliability to sense perception, it is also possible to be fooled by what our senses tell us, just as Isaac was fooled in this instance.

The problem was that Isaac never prayed or asked God to verify the truth of what his senses told him. Neither did he seek God’s guidance before making this decision to pronounce a blessing upon his son. Isaac might have avoided this deceptive trap by asking God to help him detect the truth about what was going on, but he neglected to do so.

So why did Isaac take this approach? Well, it appears that Isaac was aware of what God wanted to do, but he didn’t want to follow God’s direction in this instance. You see, Isaac was determined to give this inheritance to Esau, even though God had earlier told his wife that Jacob was the one who was to receive it. Since Esau was Isaac’s favorite son, passing that inheritance to Jacob was probably not something Isaac wanted to do. So, it’s possible that Isaac didn’t ask for God’s help because he knew (or at least suspected) that God might tell him something he didn’t want to hear.

Unfortunately, Isaac didn’t realize that it was his responsibility to bring himself into alignment with God’s plan, not the other way around. That would explain why he was vulnerable to this act of deception. And since Isaac was convinced that he was speaking to Esau (even though he wasn’t), this great Biblical patriarch was about to do something he really didn’t want to do.