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Genesis 27:1-14 - Homiletics

The stolen blessing: a domestic drama.

1. Issac and Rebekah , or plotting and counterplotting .

I. THE SCHEME OF ISAAC .

1. Its sinful object . The heavenly oracle having with no uncertain sound proclaimed Jacob the theocratic heir, the bestowment of the patriarchal benediction on Esau was clearly an unholy design. That Isaac, who on Mount Moriah had evinced such meek and ready acquiescence in Jehovah's will, should in old age, from partiality towards his firstborn, or forgetfulness of Jehovah's declaration, endeavor to thwart the Divine purpose according to election affords a melancholy illustration of the deceitfulness of sin even in renewed hearts, and of the deep-seated antagonism between the instincts of nature and the designs of grace.

2. Its secret character . The commission assigned to Esau does not appear to have been dictated by any supposed connection between the gratification of the palate, the reinvigoration of the body, or the refreshment of the spirit and the exercise of the prophetic gift, but rather by a desire to divert the attention of Rebekah from supposing that anything unusual was going on, and so to secure the necessary privacy for carrying out the scheme which he had formed. Had Isaac not been doubtful of the righteousness of what he had in contemplation, he would never have resorted to maneuvering and secrecy, but would have courted unveiled publicity. Crooked ways love the dark ( John 3:20 , John 3:21 ).

3. Its urgent motive . Isaac felt impelled to relieve his soul of the theocratic blessing by a sense of approaching dissolution. If it be the weakness of old men to imagine death nearer, it is the folly of young men to suppose it farther distant than it is. To young and old alike the failure of the senses should be a premonition of the end, and good men should set their houses in order ere they leave the world ( Genesis 25:6 ; 2 Kings 20:1 ; Isaiah 38:1 ).

4. Its inherent weakness . That Isaac reckoned on Rebekah's opposition to his scheme seems apparent; it is not so obvious that he calculated on God's being against him. Those who meditate unholy deeds should first arrange that God will not be able to discover their intentions.

II. THE STRATAGEM OF REBEKAH .

1. The design was legitimate . Instead of her behavior being represented as an attempt to outwit her aged, blind, and bed-ridden husband (for which surely no great cleverness was required), and to stealthily secure the blessing for her favorite, regard for truth demands that it should rather be characterized as an endeavor to prevent its surreptitious appropriation for Esau.

2. The inspiration was religious . Displaying a considerable amount of woman's wit in its conception and execution, and perhaps largely tainted by maternal jealousy, Rebekah's stratagem ought in fairness to be traced to her belief in the pre-natal oracle, which had pointed to Jacob as the theocratic heir. That her faith, however mixed with unspiritual alloy, was strong seems a just conclusion from her almost reckless boldness ( Genesis 27:13 ).

3. The wickedness was inexcusable . Good as were its end and motive, the stratagem of Rebekah was deplorably wicked. It was an act of cruel imposition on a husband who had loved her for well-nigh a century; it was a base deed of temptation and seduction, viewed in its relations to Jacob—the prompting of a son to sin against a father; it was a signal offence against God in many ways, but chiefly in the sinful impatience it displayed, and in the foolish supposition that his sovereign designs needed the assistance of, or could be helped by, human craft in the shape of female cunning.

III. THE RIVAL ACCOMPLICES .

1. The confederate of Isaac . The guilt of Esau consisted in seeking to obtain the birthright-when he knew

2. The tool of Rebekah . That Jacob in acting on his mother's counsel was not sinless is evinced by the fact that he

Lessons :—

1. The wickedness of trying to subvert the will of Heaven—exemplified in Isaac.

2. The sinfulness of doing evil that good may come—illustrated by the conduct of Rebekah.

3. The criminality of following evil counsel, in opposition to the light of conscience and the restraints of Pro vide nce—shown by the conduct of both Esau and Jacob.

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