“Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth,
that shall he also reap.”—Galatians 6:7
Rebekah, received as she was so peculiarly in answer to prayer, both by his father and Eliezer; and arriving at the very moment when he himself was occupied in prayer, was God’s comfort to Isaac after his mother’s death.
Isaac and Rebekah did not enter lightly into the marriage relationship. They had not, as many others have, a long time of betrothal in which they could get acquainted one with the other, but they trusted their God to make them accord, and He abundantly answered prayer. O, how infinitely more blessed is it to rest in God’s choice than in our own, in this most important of relationships! How much more real is love which begins unselfishly than that so‐called love which seeks its own!
There was one hindrance to the happiness of this newly‐married couple. Rebekah had no children. Medical science was known at this time, but neither Isaac nor his wife had recourse to it. “Isaac entreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren, and the Lord was entreated of him.” (Gen 25:21.) It was
PART OF HIS LIFE OF PRAYER
to trust for physical as well as spiritual blessings.
Before Rebekah’s children were born, for they were twins, Rebekah went to inquire of the Lord, who told her that she should be the mother of two nations, that the one people should be stronger than the other people, and the elder should serve the younger. It was always so in God’s economy. Abel took precedence of Cain, Abram of Nahor and Haran, Isaac of Ishmael, and, later on, Judah of Reuben, and David of his brethren. “The last shall be first, and the first last.” (Mat 20:16.) That which man esteems is never God’s choice. Man’s best and God’s best are of a different order.
When her sons were grown, Isaac clung most to his elder son Esau, “because he did eat of his venison,” which shows us that Isaac’s weakness was, perhaps, the love of good living. “Rebekah loved Jacob.” (Gen 25:28.) Here was a weak point in this godly family. It is a terrible mistake when parents are partial, and prefer one child above another. Parents have to take God’s place with their children until they themselves learn to understand God, and children are keenly alive to every trace of injustice and every bit of partiality. It is self in a parent which prefers one child to another because of similarity of tastes or of disposition. God loved the world which was at enmity with Him. If parents love best the children who are a comfort to them, they love with a selfish love rather than Divine.
GOD CAN LOVE THE UNLOVELY.
There was one time in his life when Isaac fell into the same snare into which his father had twice fallen. There was a famine in the land. Isaac, although directed by God to remain in Gerar, and trust Him to supply his need in the time of famine, yet could not trust God to preserve his life. Because he feared Abimelech would slay him for his wife’s sake, therefore he denied his relationship to her, and said of her, “She is my sister,” (Gen 26:7) or, near relation. Surely this duplicity,
THIS ONE ACT OF UNTRUTH,
must have had an evil effect on the minds of his sons, and, no doubt, it led the way to the act of deceit which marked an era, and a sad one, in the life of Jacob. Sin scatters its seeds, and multiplies itself wherever it is found.
After this time, trouble arose in the family. Esau married the wife of a Hittite, and so entered a heathen family, and then took a second wife, also a heathen, contrary to the mind of God, and his marriage was a grief of mind to Isaac and to Rebekah. (Gen 26:34-35.) Heathen practices were introduced into this godly household, and a heathenish spirit contended with the spirit of God for mastery. How often the world has come in through such a marriage!
But Isaac was still a patriarch, a kind of royal priest to his God; and, as the head of the family, he was the earthly instrument of blessing. When his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called his beloved son Esau, and told him that in the uncertainty of life at his age, it was upon his heart to bless him before he died. He directed his son to go out into the field and take venison, and make savoury meat that he might eat and his soul might bless him before he died. Isaac knew full well God’s prophecy to Rebekah that her elder son should serve the younger, but his carnal, earthly love for his fine, handsome, noble, elder son, made him seek to compel his God to give blessing to Esau.
What should Rebekah do in such circumstances? If she sided with her God, she would be against her husband; if she sided with her husband, she would take part against God. Her own inclination led her strongly to seek the blessing for Jacob, and, no doubt, she justified herself by saying in her heart “God has promised the blessing to Jacob; it can be no harm for me to try and secure it for him.” But, O how much of unbelief there was in this woman’s heart! How she failed at this moment to be a true helpmeet to her husband, and a faithful mother to her son! “We which have believed do enter into rest,” and “he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His.” (Hbr 4:3; 4:10.) Rebekah had not learnt: “Their strength is to sit still.” (Isa 30:7.)
She heard Isaac when he gave these directions to his elder son, and her unbelieving heart trembled lest Isaac should prevail with God, and Jacob should lose the promised blessing. She would try and secure it at any cost, and make
THE END JUSTIFY THE MEANS.
She “spake unto Jacob her son, saying,
“Behold, I heard thy father speak to Esau thy brother, saying, Bring me venison, and make me savoury meat, that I may eat, and bless thee before the Lord before my death. Now, therefore, my son, obey my voice according to that which I command thee. Go now to the flock and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats; and I will make them savoury meat for thy father, such as he loveth: and thou shalt bring it to thy father, that he may eat, and that he may bless thee before his death.” (Gen 27:6-10.)
What should Jacob do? He was about forty years of age, old enough to have an enlightened conscience; he knew that untruth displeased a holy God; but Rebekah was his mother, and he could easily excuse himself, and shift the responsibility, by pleading that he obeyed his mother. How many sons there are who are perfectly obedient just as long as they see it is to their own advantage; but the moment a command from father or mother crosses their will, this obedience breaks down!
Jacob made only one objection to his mother; it was on the ground that perhaps the plan would not answer!
“Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man: My father peradventure will feel me, and I shall seem to him as a deceiver; and I shall bring a curse upon me, and not a blessing.” (Gen 27:11-12.)
It was no question with him whether it was right or wrong, but only, would it succeed? “The way of the just is uprightness” (Isa 26:7), but Jacob failed in this very point. We have no evidence up to this time that Jacob was a truly spiritual man. He had not yet seen the wondrous ladder which connected a holy God with a sinful Jacob. The natural heart of a man, as soon as it is born, goes astray speaking lies.
This is a sad picture of a godly home—deceit and lying entering in: and yet it is a photograph. How many godly families harbour such reptiles!
“His mother said unto him, Upon me be thy curse, my son: only obey my voice, and go fetch me them.” (Gen 27:13.)
Rebekah was ready to suffer if she could only obtain the blessing for Jacob; but, like her predecessor, Eve, she went the enemy’s way instead of God’s way to obtain the blessing. She made all her arrangements, clothed Jacob in Esau’s clothes, and put the skins of the goats upon his neck and hands, in order to deceive her husband, made savoury meat, and gave it to Jacob to take to his blind father, and sent him in to receive the blessing, putting a lie in his mouth, and telling him to announce himself as Esau, the first‐born. And no doubt the tempter made her think it was loyalty to God, and that Isaac’s partiality to Esau would hinder the accomplishment of God’s promise. She must put her hand to it. And Rebekah fell into the snare.
Poor blind Isaac! He had a disquieting misgiving; the voice was the voice of his younger son; the savoury meat came too quickly to hand; he called his son that he might feel him, and in his perplexity, he cried out:
“The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” (Gen 27:22.)
Probably it never struck the father that his wife and his son would combine to deceive him and take advantage of his blindness.
So he blessed him;” but even then he asked the question:
“Art thou my very son Esau? And he said, I am.” (Gen 27:24.)
Isaac pronounced the blessing in its very fulness upon Jacob. But could not God have so ordered it that without deceit and without so deep a plot, the blessing might yet have come upon Jacob? Surely He was to be trusted. We never need to help our God to keep His promises.
With the very blessing there came a curse. When Esau returned, and found that his praying mother and his home‐loving brother had betrayed him, hatred took possession of his heart. How could he respect their religion! He made no profession, and he would think it beneath him to resort to such mean expedients as they had had recourse to. His respect for his mother and his love for his brother had received a shock. Who knows whether his soul was not lost in part through this very thing?
Esau procured a blessing such as became him, but he “hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him,” (Gen 27:41) and actually declared that as soon as his father was dead, he would slay his brother Jacob. And now the curse did come upon Rebekah. With her own hand she had to send away her younger son, who was the desire of her eyes; she must part with, and never see again, him whom she loved better than life. O if Rebekah had only trusted God, how blessedly He might have brought about the fulfilment of His promise, and Rebekah, as well as Sarah, might have had her place amongst the worthies of faith in Hebrew 11!