First, a few thoughts on Jacob and Rebekah’s deception of Isaac in Genesis 27:
- If you remember, Jacob has already tricked Esau out of his birthright (Genesis 25:29-34). So, Jacob should now be entitled to Isaac’s blessing anyway, right? (The blessing went to the firstborn son.) Here, you can see how widespread deception has become among Isaac, Rebekah and Jacob. What is actually going on here? Is Isaac, aware that Esau sold his birthright to Jacob, trying to “sneak” in a blessing for him anyway? Or, have Jacob and Esau kept that transaction a secret from their parents, so that Isaac here is just innocently being taken advantage of? Or, has Rebekah been an accomplice of Jacob all along – against her own husband and her firstborn son? Deceit has become such a common practice in this family that no one knows what’s up anymore. This is often a natural consequence of family relationships characterized by lying and deception. All trust has been eroded. No one knows what to believe.
- The deception itself becomes an intricate web of deceit. It isn’t enough for Jacob to come to his blind and senile father, saying he is Esau, to steal Esau’s blessing. We also have to consider that Jacob is smooth-skinned and Esau is hairy. Jacob’s clothes smell and feel different from Esau’s clothes. So, we have to make accommodations for all these factors to make the lie more believable. One deception always leads to other deceptions. There is no such thing as a “little white lie.” That lie inevitably grows and becomes darker and darker.
- Even if Isaac is not aware of the transaction of Genesis 25:29-34, he is surely aware of what God said in Genesis 25:23 that He has already decided to bless Jacob over Esau. Is Jacob attempting to subvert God’s plan with his own? That is dangerous.
- Afraid that Jacob will take a wife from among the local pagan people like Esau did (Genesis 26:34-35), which caused a lot of heartburn for Isaac and Rebekah, they sent Jacob to live with his Uncle Laban back in the homeland (Genesis 28:1-5). Laban is Rebekah’s brother, and he is as manipulative as she is. Jacob will get some of his own medicine soon…
- Grace. Notice that in Genesis 28:1-5, as Isaac is sending his little deceiver Jacob to Uncle Laban, fully aware of how he has been deceived by him, Isaac gives Jacob the full Abrahamic blessing. Another theme that you will see over and over (in both the New Testament and the Old Testament, by the way) – God is gracious. Thankfully, we don’t always get what we deserve, which is God’s wrath.
Jacob is repeatedly mentioned in Scripture as one of the great men of faith, whom we ought to imitate. He is identified with some great traits that make him stand out in Scripture:
- God identifies Himself as the “God of Jacob” Ps. 46:7, 11; 146:5; Matt. 22:32; Mark 12:26; Luke 20:37; Acts 3:13; 7:32, 46
- God calls Jacob: “My Servant” Deut. 9:27; Isa. 41:18; 45:4; Ezek. 20:5; 28:25
- God refers to him as “My Chosen” Isa. 41:18; 45:4; Ezek. 20:5
- God is “Jacob’s Possession” Jer. 10:16; 51:19
- God appeared directly to Jacob Gen. 32:30; Exod. 6:3
- God says: “I have loved Jacob” Mal. 1:2; Rom. 9:13
- Jacob is included on the “guest list” for the kingdom Matt.8:11; Luk. 13:28
- God makes His covenant with Jacob Lev. 26:42; Deut. 1:8; 34:4; 2 Ki. 13:23; Mic. 7:20: Heb. 11:9
Why are all these positive things said about someone who is known as “the schemer”? None of this happened to Jacob because he was “the good child” in the family. If one of the sons should appropriately be referred to as a respectful, submissive, obedient son, it probably would have been Esau, not Jacob!
God didn’t choose Jacob because he deserved it! He was chosen because of God’s grace! In spite of his scheming, Jacob is listed among the heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11. Like his father and grandfather before him, Jacob trusted the God of his fathers. He didn’t deserve a special relationship with God, but God chose him (Romans 9)! And Jacob will have twelve sons, who will become the twelve tribes of the nation of Israel. His fourth-oldest son will be named Judah, from whose tribe will eventually come the One the Bible refers to as the Lion of Judah (Genesis 49:8-10, Revelation 5:5-10) who would “ransom people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”