Hebrews – Chapter Eleven XXXV

by Ed Urzi

“By faith Isaac also blessed Jacob and Esau concerning their future” (Hebrews 11:20 CEB).

As we conclude our look at Genesis chapter 27 in the context of Hebrews 11:20, we find that the “secondary blessing” Esau received from his father Isaac eventually came to pass. You see, Esau’s descendants were known as the Edomites, a name that was derived from Esau’s nickname Edom (see Genesis 25:30 and 36:9).

The Edomites eventually populated some of the wilderness portions of that area and thus fulfilled Isaac’s prediction: “Your dwelling will be away from the earth’s richness…” (Genesis 27:39 NIV). The Scriptures also tell us that Esau’s descendants eventually came to oppose and revolt against the Israelites, the descendants of his brother Jacob.

For example, the Edomites once mobilized their armed forces with a threat to kill the people of Israel when Israel asked for permission to pass through a land area that was under their control (Numbers 20:14-21). Later, the people of Edom succeeded in breaking away from Jacob’s descendants and established their own government, just as Isaac predicted (see 2 Kings 8:20-22).

So, in the end, it’s clear that these family members mentioned in Genesis 27 made several mistakes. First, there was Isaac. His plan to circumvent God’s will failed miserably. Then there was Rebekah, Isaac’s wife. She was the mastermind behind this plot to deceive her husband. Even though her plan succeeded, Rebekah was shown to be a person of devious character, and she never saw her favorite son Jacob again following this incident.

Next was Esau. He lost his inheritance because he had little interest or concern about the things of God. When he realized his mistake, it was too late to regain what he had lost. Finally, there was Jacob. He got what he wanted- but at a price. You see, Jacob eventually left his home to stay with another family member named Laban. Unfortunately for Jacob, he would soon learn just how cunning, manipulative, and deceitful Laban really was.

With these things in mind, we might be tempted to look at our text from Hebrews 11:20 and struggle to identify the act of faith mentioned here. The answer is this: when Isaac discovered he had actually blessed the son God had chosen instead of his preferred son, he recognized by faith that God easily accomplished His will despite his attempts to the contrary.

So, the events of Genesis chapter twenty-seven remind us to ask God to grant us the desire to make choices that align with His will and to seek Him for His direction. As we’re told in the Biblical book of Proverbs, “In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success” (Proverbs 3:6 TLB). Those who follow that path can avoid the pitfalls which  befell this family.