Hebrews – Chapter Eleven XXXIII

by Ed Urzi

“It was by faith that Isaac promised blessings for the future to his sons, Jacob and Esau” (Hebrews 11:20 NLT).

While we might have expected Isaac to become angry over the sequence of events that took place in Genesis 27:1-29, that portion of Scripture tells us that his response was quite different from what we would normally expect…

“Isaac began to tremble uncontrollably. ‘Who was it then,’ he said, ‘who hunted game and brought it to me? I ate it all before you came in, and I blessed him. Indeed, he will be blessed!'” (Genesis 27:33 CSB).

So, why did Isaac become so traumatized that he “began to tremble and shake all over” (GNT)? Well, Isaac specifically arranged this meeting with his favorite son, Esau in order to confer his blessing upon him. But in seeking to implement his preference, Isaac chose to ignore God’s preference- and he got caught. Even though Isaac tried to manipulate these circumstances to suit his agenda, his work served to fulfill God’s purpose anyway.

The recognition of what he had done (and the ease with which his attempt was negated), must have affected Isaac to the point where he lost the ability to physically control his emotions. But while Isaac may have been emotionally shaken by what transpired, Esau had some feelings of his own…

“When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, ‘Bless me — me also, O my father!'” (Genesis 27:34).

We have already noted that Esau’s disregard for his spiritual heritage (as well as his questionable marriage partnerships) revealed something important about him. These behaviors tell us that Esau did not prioritize his relationship with God in the way it deserved. However, when it came time to receive this blessing and its associated inheritance, things were very different.

Unfortunately, Esau lost his opportunity to receive that blessing in light of his negligence to the things of God. This is one reason why the following paraphrase of Hebrews 12:16-17 will later go on to tell us…

“Watch out that no one becomes involved in sexual sin or becomes careless about God as Esau did: he traded his rights as the oldest son for a single meal. And afterwards, when he wanted those rights back again, it was too late, even though he wept bitter tears of repentance. So remember, and be careful” (TLB).

So Esau lost the blessing that his father sought to give him. But as we’ll see, it didn’t take Isaac long to identify the culprit.