Story of Isaac holds vital lessons

Friday September 23, 2016 Written by Published in Church Talk
The story of how Esau sold his birthright has been depicted in many famous paintings. This one was painted by Dutch artist Hendrick ter Brugghen back in 1627. 16092213 The story of how Esau sold his birthright has been depicted in many famous paintings. This one was painted by Dutch artist Hendrick ter Brugghen back in 1627. 16092213

GENESIS 27: 1 – 4 reads: “Now it came to pass, when Issac was old and his eyes were so dim that he could not see, that he called Esau his older son and said to him, “My son”. And he answered him, “Here I am”.

 

Then He said, “Behold now I am old. I do not know the day of my death. Now therefore, please take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me. And make me savoury food, such as I love, and bring it to me that I may eat, that my soul may bless you before I die.”

Isaac was old and his eyes were dim but he was thinking about blessing his child. The condition of Isaac was that he was old and he had dim eyes. Because Isaac’s eyes were dim, he could not see Jacob’s deeds.

That’s how God sees humans. God cannot see our deeds. Humans see our deeds. God does not have the function to see our deeds of the flesh. We, however, are very sensitive about our deeds. If we feel we are wrong, we feel that we should not come to church. Sometimes, we have this heart that we cannot witness well and so we feel negative about it. Thus, in this way, we can feel unhappy because of our deeds.

Before Adam and Eve took of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, their deeds had nothing to do with them. But after, they were very sensitive with their deeds, this is why they made coverings from fig leaves to hide themselves. Many of us hide ourselves and dwell in darkness in the heart.

Gen 27:23 NKJV “And he did not recognise him because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s hands; so he blessed him.” When Isaac was blessing Jacob, he felt the hair on his hands. So because there was hair, he could not recognise Jacob.

Here the hair represents Jesus Christ. When God sees humans, he only accepts humans through Jesus Christ. He can never see us directly but sees us through Jesus Christ. Therefore, the eyes of God are dim to us humans. But we are so sensitive to our own deeds. For instance, if we commit sins, we feel uncomfortable to go before God, right? Our hearts are confined in deeds. This is why God wants us to be freed from our deeds.

For instance, it is not easy for us to think about going to church when we have a terrible fight. In this case, in our hearts, we are connected to our own deeds and God wants to disconnect us from it. When our deeds get disconnected, then we will truly have good spiritual life. God truly wants to lead us to the world of heart that way.

Gen 27:19 NKJV “Jacob said to his father, I am Esau your firstborn; I have done just as you told me, please arise, sit and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me.” Jacob could say such things to his father because it was done by faith. How can Jacob ever say this? He never could say it from his own heart. It is from his mother’s heart. She received this heart from heaven while she was pregnant. Jacob could never have the heart of God by himself.

Genesis 28:6-9 NKJV: “Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Padan Aram to take himself a wife from there, and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying, You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and had gone to Padan Aram. Also Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan did not please his father Isaac. So Esau went to Ishmael and took Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife in addition to the wives he had.”

So what did Esau do? He had no idea about his father’s heart. Because of that, he is indulged in and confined within his own heart. Folks, it is not easy to marry somebody you do not love. Esau thought that his father did not like him marrying the daughters of Canaan and so married someone from the lineage of Ishmael. Was Isaac happy? There is no record of it in the Bible. It is not written that Isaac was happy. Therefore, the worlds of Jacob and Esau were completely different.

“Then he dreamed, and behold a ladder was set up on earth, and its top reached to heaven and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And behold the Lord stood above it and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac, the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants.” Genesis 28: 12-13 NKJV

Jacob saw things of heaven. Esau focussed on the things of the world. Depending on what is in our heart, we see things differently.

Last week I spoke about Abraham and Lot. Both received the promise of God and they walked to the land of Canaan. However, there was famine as they reached the land. They could not stay any longer so they decided to go to Egypt. They did not feel secure.

Abraham had the thought that his wife was so pretty that people in Egypt would take his wife away from him. So he lied and said that she was his sister. The Pharaoh saw Sarah and indeed took her. Abraham must have had such a painful heart.

On the following day Pharaoh returned Sarah to Abraham and asked Abraham why he lied. At that time Abraham had so much possessions and he also obtained his wife back. In the Bible it is written that Abraham followed the Word of God and made him have so many possessions.

While Abraham came back from Egypt, he made up his heart that the words of God were true. But for Lot, this did not happen. After Lot came back from Egypt, he departed from Abraham, as he had a distrustful heart. It may have gone something like this, “What in the world! You Abraham, you sold your wife and you got your wife back, and now you have abundant possessions and you say you are holy? …I don’t think so.” And so Lot departed from Abraham.

When born-again Christians work together in the church and later on when they have distrustful hearts, they will leave God. This occurs in the same way as Lot departed from Abraham. In the end, Abraham did not want to fight and so they split apart. But Lot lived a miserable life afterwards and suffered.

The one point I would like to say is that there is the world of Jacob and there is the world that Esau saw. Many of us see things the way Esau saw them. How could Esau receive blessings? Well, he just could not, only Jacob could receive the blessings. This was because Jacob is the representation of grace and Esau is the representation of deeds. By our deeds we can never stand before God, yet many of us are striving to go before God with our deeds. Esau married someone from Ishmael just to please his father. In his heart, the deeds just could not be cut off.

Once, there was a donkey and a cat who lived together. The donkey saw the cat and it was not happy with it. The donkey carried big loads and slept in a dirty place. But when the owner came home, the cat did a “ meowww” and the owner, who adored the cat, cuddled up to it.

“What a great life the cat has,” the donkey said. So it made up its mind to receive love in the same way the cat did. One day the owner came home and the donkey went “ Eeeeehhhhh” and tried lifting up its front legs. But instead of patting it, the owner began hitting the donkey. So the donkey observed further what the cat did. It scratched the door softly while the owner was sleeping and the owner opened the door and the cat slept with the owner.

Now the donkey thought of doing this as well. When the master was sleeping in the room, the donkey scratched the door and the donkey tried to sleep with the master as well. But the master hit the donkey so badly that it almost died.

Friends, the donkey and the cat are so different. Those who focus on deeds are just like the donkey. Esau found a woman whom he not necessarily love, but thought that by marrying her, his father would be happy and he did so.

But the father however wasn’t happy and thought it was a crazy thing to do so. The father thought his son Esau could never change his heart. The father was not even interested in anything about Esau.

If we go deep into the heart of Jacob, he did not look at his deeds at all. Initially he had the heart that he would be cursed instead of being blessed, but the mother asked for the curse to be on her. At that time, Jacob’s heart moved and did whatever she asked him to do.

SO SHE told the son to tell his father that he was Esau.

“Okay!!” Jacob said “From now on, I am Esau. I am Blessing. I am happiness from now on. From now on my name is Rejoice”.

Jacob then went to his father Isaac and said, “I am your first-born son Esau” and Isaac was truly happy.

“Ahh…finally, Jacob, you’ve got it. You no longer look at your deeds anymore. You are doing it by faith. Come here let me feel you. Hmm…your hands are that of Esau but the voice is that of Jacob,” Isaac said. And he made the decision to not look at the deeds but look at faith only. On this basis, he accepted Jacob.

Do we teach deeds? Although we are Christians? This is not the heart of God. If so, we stand on the path of Esau. If so, we cannot do the things that please God. God wants us to be free from this and to dwell under grace.

Jacob represents grace. Esau represents deeds. How Isaac could not see Jacob tells us also how God cannot see us. Gods eyes are dim to our deeds. Please live by Grace.

Ephesians 2:8 “For by Grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

            Rev Iana Aitau,

            Cook Islands Christian Church

 

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