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20. Jacob’s Deception and Flight

June 23, 2009

Text:    Genesis 27:1-28:22

Key Verses:    Genesis 27:28-29; Gen. 28:3-4, 13-15 [The Three Blessings of Jacob]

Outline:         I. Jacob Steals Esau’s Blessing      Gen. 27:1-29

                         II. Esau’s Bitter Heart is Revealed      Gen. 27:30-28:9

                         III. Jacob Receives God’s Blessing      Gen. 28:10-22


     This is a difficult passage to put into perspective. We ask ourselves “Why is the deceiver the one who comes out on top over the one deceived?” And we marvel at God’s grace working in His chosen family which at best can be described as dysfunctional. Perhaps a better outline would be:

          1. Jacob receives Esau’s blessing.

          2. Jacob receives Isaac’s Blessing

          3. Jacob receives God’s blessing.

But such an outline seems to skirt many of the issues within this family.

     Isaac is old. He can’t see and he believes he will die soon. He is hungry so he calls Esau [his favorite] and asks him to go hunting and prepare him some fresh cooked game. Then he promises to bless Esau after he has eaten.

     Rebekah overhears the conversation, calls Jacob [her favorite] and asks him to get her 2 young goats so she can cook them as Isaac likes. She convinces Jacob to wear Esau’s clothes, put goat skin on his hands, bring the food to Isaac, and represent himself as Esau in order to receive Isaac’s blessing for Esau.

     Isaac questions whether or not it is really Esau because of the voice but after feeling the hands and smelling the clothes, Isaac pronounces His blessing upon Esau [really Jacob]. Isaac asks God to bless and prosper Jacob. Nations will bow to him including his brother Esau. Those who curse him will be cursed and those who bless him will be blessed.

     Esau arrives shortly thereafter and learns that Isaac has already eaten and given his blessing to Jacob, who together with his mother had deceived Isaac. Esau is bitter because Jacob has deceived him twice, taking his birthright and now his blessing. Esau evidently forgot that he readily gave up his birthright for a meal. Isaac refuses to reverse his blessing [evidently he can’t legally] but gives a blessing to Esau which lacks a blessing of prosperity but includes war and serving his brother. It seems that the birthright and the blessing in their culture takes the place of what we call a Will in our culture. The birthright has to do with the possessions to be inherited [double portion] and the blessing accounted for ones position in the family based on personality and capability.

     Esau begrudges his brother because Jacob now has his birthright and his blessing and, therefore, threatens to kill him as soon as his father dies. Rebekah overhears Esau’s tirade, gets Jacob, and tells him to pack quickly and go to her brother Laban in Haran until Esau cools down. Rebekah expresses her dissatisfaction with Esau’s’ wives [Hittites]. Isaac now seems to be more involved and commands Jacob not to take a wife locally but to find a wife from among Laban’s descendents. Isaac blesses Jacob of his own accord reminding him of the Promise God gave Abraham. Jacob and his descendants are the ones designated to possess the land and be a blessing to others. Esau learns of this blessing and purposely marries Canaanite women to spite his mother and father.

     Jacob leaves Beersheba and spends the night at Bethel [where Abraham first worshipped upon entering the Land] where he dreams of a stairway from earth to heaven having angels traveling up and down the stairway. He hears God’s voice confirm His blessing, the same blessing He gave to Abraham and Isaac. He also promises to watch over Jacob so this blessing will be fulfilled. Jacob awakes with fear and trembling, humbled by what he saw and heard. Jacob commits this place to being God’s house and commits himself to be God’s servant if God will keep His promise to watch over him and bring him back. He worships God here before beginning his journey north and promises to give God a tenth of all God gives him.

     I think the best way to understand all that is happening here is to refer to the parable of the soils told by Jesus in Luke 10 and Mark 8. Isaac possesses the good soil [#4]. Rebekah and Jacob possess the soil that is crowded with thorns [#3]. Esau perhaps began with the third soil but quickly reverted to the rocky soil [#2] and perhaps even #1 later in life. Upon seeing the blessings of God in his family, Esau hardened his heart whereas Jacob softened his heart. Esau took God for granted and didn’t care. Jacob/Rebekah recognized the sovereignty of God and tried to do His work for Him. Esau’s heart traveled in the wrong direction whereas Jacob’s heart traveled in the right direction eventually.


     1. Trust God, not yourself, to do what is right.

     2. God’s plan remains sovereign even in the midst of wrong.

     3. The quickest way to derail God’s Plan is to stop communicating with one another and to stop communicating with God. Whatever happens, never stop communicating, especially with God through prayer. Seek His wisdom and direction always.

     4. God refuses to let our actions derail His Plan. He is sovereign over His plan and will use our poor decisions to correct our behavior.

     5. Having the wrong priorities in life verifies you are not in God’s Will. But having the right priorities in life also doesn’t guarantee you are in God’s will either.   Consult the Lord daily to determine His Will.

     6. When life doesn’t seem fair, ones true character is revealed. We must control our anger if we are to hear and receive God’s Will. Esau was wronged but his heart wasn’t right either.

     7. Forthright sharing of information between God and your spouse helps to get your family back on the right track.

     8. To grow and mature in our faith, we must continually work the soil of our hearts, making it soft and pliable to receive the Lord’s blessings so we can bear fruit according to His Will.

     9. God will always confirm His blessings on you personally. But we must be quiet before Him to hear it. Acknowledge receiving it by worshipping God with true humility and devotion.



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