• Wayne Shelton

Who's To Blame

Genesis 27 (focal: v37)


The triple declaration of God’s presence with Isaac during his extended encounter with the Philistine king Abimelech compassed the dimensions of Isaac’s existence in respect to the future (“I will be with you”), the present (“I am with you”), and the past (“The Lord has been with you”). And Isaac’s growth in awareness of the dynamic all-presence of God in his life lifted him from cowardice to confidence. Isaac recovered from the disgrace of passing off Rebekah as his sister as he stood tall amidst the hostile Philistines and prospered. During those remarkable years, Isaac came to live as the prince that he was, heir of the Abrahamic covenant.


But now as we continue the story of his life, years have passed, and he is quite old. And in the intervening decades something of Isaac’s spiritual edge has dulled. Creature comforts have become center-place for him as we read, “Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game” (25:28). One commentator wrote, ‘We get the sense that wild game and savory delights were laid out by his servants to ease his pampered stomach through the night. And as he dreamed, his table was spread again with exotic dishes redolent with garnishes of leeks and onions – moist and succulent.’


Aging had also left him visually impaired and dependent upon his family – and demanding. But most notably Isaac, notwithstanding his authentic faith, had come to oppose the revealed will of God regarding Jacob and Esau. He was well aware of the battle that had taken place between the twins in Rebekah’s womb. He knew that God had said, “The one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger” (25:23). Rebekah would not let him forget it. And the fact that Jacob had manipulated Esau to sell his birthright to him was a longstanding source of irritation to Isaac, and a subject of contention with his strong-willed wife. He was also painfully aware that Esau had married two Canaanite women – and that they had made life bitter for both him and Rebekah (cf. 26:34). But against the weight of all of this, Isaac was determined that though Esau had lost his birthright, he would now give him the firstborn’s blessing.


As we continue our journey in Genesis this week, we come to chapter 27. In this chapter we find Isaac plotting. In his old age he had given himself over to willfulness and self-gratification. And now he determined to have his way despite God’s Word. Of course, Rebekah overhears the whole plot. And once Esau leaves to hunt, she kicks into high gear and devises a sinister ploy to counter Isaac and thus give the blessing to Jacob. And Jacob, who was a product of his mother’s love and his own self-promoting heart, was all too eager to play his part. Whereas Esau soon discovers that he has lost everything. While he rued what had occurred, he was helpless in its wake.

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As we look at this family that self-destructed, we ask the question: ‘Who’s to blame?’ I invite you to join us this Sunday as we consider this family in which everyone lost.


By His Grace,

Pastor Wayne


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