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Isaac and Jacob Viewing the Future, by Faith

By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph. (Hebrews 11:20-21)

Since we have previously considered Abraham's offering of Isaac (in the meditation on God's promises on August 9), let's move on to consider Isaac and Jacob. While pronouncing prophetic blessings upon their descendants, these two men became examples of viewing the future, by faith.

The example of Isaac actually occurred in the midst of a deceitful plot by one of his own sons. Isaac wanted to pass on a blessing to his oldest son, Esau. "Now it came to pass, when Isaac was old and his eyes were so dim that he could not see, that he called Esau his older son and said to him…'Make me savory food, such as I love, and bring it to me that I may eat, that my soul may bless you before I die'" (Genesis 27:1, 4). Jacob (the supplanter or "schemer") disguised himself and lied to his father, attempting to steal the blessing. "And Jacob said to his father, 'I am Esau your firstborn…sit and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me'…And he did not recognize him…so he blessed him" (Genesis 27:19, 23). Although Esau later was given a blessing as well, the blessing for Jacob passed on the headship of the family to this younger son. "Be master over your brethren, and let your mother's sons bow down to you" (Genesis 27:29). When informed of the deceit, Isaac let the blessing stand. The Lord indicates this was an act of faith in the purposes of God.

The example of Jacob also occurred in an unusual setting. Joseph was bringing his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, to his father for a family blessing. "Now the eyes of Israel were dim with age, so that he could not see. Then Joseph brought them near him, and he kissed them and embraced them" (Genesis 48:10). Joseph brought Ephraim (the younger) toward Jacob's left hand and Manasseh (the firstborn) toward his right hand. However, Jacob crossed his hands, thereby switching the primary blessing. "And Joseph said to his father, 'Not so, my father, for this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.' But his father refused and said, 'I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he'" (Gen 48:18-19).

These actions may not seem significant to us. Yet, the Lord lists them as notable steps of faith in Him. Why? Because these blessings reflected and instituted aspects of God's sovereign plans, in spite of inappropriate scheming and established traditions.

O sovereign Lord, I bow in faith to Your perfect plans and purposes. What a comfort to know that Your will cannot be thwarted by inappropriate schemes or established traditions. Teach me to view the future with faith in Your wisdom and Your sovereignty.


CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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