An Oblivious Father

“Take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me, and prepare for me delicious food, such as I love, and bring it to me so that I may eat, that my soul may bless you before I die” (Gen. 27:3-4).    

- Genesis 27:1–4

Most of us probably have seen parents who overlook the sins of their children. Despite reasonable evidence to the contrary, some mothers and fathers cannot believe that their “innocent” child is capable of the mischief of which he is often accused.

As the second patriarch to inherit the covenant blessings first promised to Abraham, we find it surprising that Isaac is guilty of being one of these oblivious parents. His son Esau has proved himself not to be one of Abraham’s spiritual sons, and thus he is not part of the woman’s seed (Gen. 3:15). Esau willingly surrenders his birthright and the covenant benefits found therein for the sake of some “red stew” (25:29–34), and he later marries two Hittite women who served the gods of Canaan (26:34–35). Plainly, Esau lacks a future-reaching faith in God’s promises; he is a slave to the moment, ignoring the long-term consequences of his decisions.

But Isaac cares little for these facts; he loves Esau “because he ate of his game” (25:28). His faith in the Lord may be authentic, but it is also immature and often finds itself ruled by his taste buds. This is evident in today’s passage, which begins Isaac’s last will and testament. The patriarch’s “soul” wants to bless Esau before he dies (27:4), meaning that Isaac wants to give his first-born son the fullness of the familial blessing. Willing to ignore God’s word that Jacob is to have the place of privilege (25:23) and quick to pass over the strife caused by Esau’s foreign wives (26:34–35), Isaac will give the inheritance to Esau if his son will simply bring him one more serving of the “delicious food” that he loves (27:1–4). Unlike Abraham, who is most concerned to find a godly wife for Isaac in his last recorded speech (24:1–9), Isaac devotes his attention to his palate and is willing to approve of his covenant-breaking son.

Like Isaac, our faith may be weakened if we are intent on satisfying ourselves and not our Father in heaven. It is far too easy to create idols and then try and circumvent the Lord’s plan, all the while convinced we are doing the right thing. Let us therefore seek first the kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33) that our judgment may not falter.

Coram Deo

When we seek our satisfaction apart from God’s will and make our own happiness an end in itself, we can end up, consciously or not, plotting against Him. For example, we may consider marriage for purely selfish reasons, thereby making it easier to entertain the prospect of divorce. Or, we can seek our own happiness first as we raise our children and therein live our lives vicariously through them. Consider the idols in your life and flee from them this day.

Passages for Further Study

Ps. 84:10
Prov. 23:19–21
Luke 16:13
1 John 5:21

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