A Family of Deception

While we should read our Bibles for guidance and for strengthening our faith in the Lord, we can also find comfort in reading about those who were so deeply flawed in their character yet God still blessed them and used them for His glory. Such is the story of Isaac, Rebekah, Esau, and Jacob found in Genesis.

This is a family where everyone has some degree of guilt through either deception or working outside of the will of God. While many may see Rebekah’s deception as an evil perpetrated on Isaac, we also have to see the wrong that Isaac committed as well. In both Isaac and Esau, there is the guilt of ignoring the intention of God’s chosen recipient, Jacob (Genesis 25:23; Malachi 1: 2-3; Romans 9:13). Esau knowingly sold his birthright and thus the blessing. In reading Genesis 27:2-4, we can see Isaac’s focus on the delicious food Esau can bring him to satisfy his hunger (as Esau was always the favorite of Isaac), and thus ignores the character of Esau which came into question earlier when Esau took Hittite women as wives. This was an action expressly condemned by God due to the temptation of idolatry (Deuteronomy 7:3-4) and frowned upon by both Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 26:34-35). Perhaps Isaac had his favoritism in for wishing to still give Esau the blessing over Jacob. But we also have to consider the deception of Rebekah and Jacob in disguising Jacob as Esau to a father that was mostly blind in order to ensure Jacob’s blessing would still be received.

Just like when Abraham took it upon himself to hide the identity of Sarah in order to protect her, here we see Rebekah taking matters into her own hands to ensure what God spoke would happen. Neither of these instances show a true faith in God that what He has decreed will come to pass. And like the struggle Abraham would then have within his household, so too will Jacob find struggles along his way because of his and his mother’s lack of faith in God. It is in despite of the free will exhibited by all parties to lie and deceive that God’s sovereignty is still displayed. His plan will not be thwarted by man.

While Jacob is never condemned in this story, his story is one that brings suffering on him and others and becomes himself a victim of deceit through his uncle Laban. There are a few interesting parallels in this story to observe: just as his father’s blindness was a veil to enable Jacob to deceive, so Laban used a veil over Leah’s face to deceive. Additionally, just as Jacob deceived his father using Esau’s garments, so his sons would deceive him using Joseph’s garments (see Genesis 37:32). Interestingly, by Jacob having to flee because of the threat from Esau, he would never see his beloved mother again.

So we see a family that is to be so blessed by God behave in ways that are far from God. Let this be a source of comfort in that God knows we are corruptible and have hearts that are at times far from Him, but yet His infinite mercy provides a pathway back to Him.

A pathway that requires us to pass through the cross at Calvary.