In Genesis 27, Isaac and Rebekah played favorites. Both of them ended up hurt and disappointed in the end, and both of their boys were also hurt, lives irrevocably changed.
By this time, Isaac was getting old, could no longer see, and knew he could soon die. He wished to impart a special blessing upon Esau, so he sent him out to hunt, so that he might enjoy some of his game from the field. Rebekah overheard this exchange, and she desired this blessing be given to Jacob instead. So she and Jacob fixed up goat like wild game, and put goat skins on Jacob’s hands and neck so that he would feel hairy like Esau.
“Then he came to his father and said, ‘My father.’ And he said, ‘Here I am. Who are you, my son?’ And Jacob said to his father, ‘I am Esau your first-born; I have done as you told me. Get up, please, sit and eat of my game, that you may bless me.’ And Isaac said to his son, ‘How is it that you have it so quickly, my son?’ And he said, ‘Because the LORD your God caused it to happen to me.’ Then Isaac said to Jacob, ‘Please come close, that I may feel you, my son, whether you are really my son Esau or not.’ So Jacob came close to Isaac his father, and he felt him and said, ‘The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.’ And he did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s hands; so he blessed him. And he said, ‘Are you really my son Esau?’ And he said, ‘I am.'” ~Genesis 27:18-24
The deceitfulness of Rebekah was bad enough, to think up this scheme to steal the blessing from one son so the other son might have it. The devastation a parent can bring upon his or her own children is truly mind boggling, magnified when favorites are “played”. (Personal experience, big wounds, still being hurt, still healing… God is faithful)
But then Jacob went to see his father and lied to his face, repeatedly. Direct questions from Isaac (he must have suspected! “the voice is the voice of Jacob”): “Who are you?” “How is it that you have it so quickly?” “Are you really my son Esau?” were answered with direct lies from Jacob: “I am Esau your first-born” “Because the LORD your God caused it to happen to me” “I am”.
I am amazed that Jacob dragged God into his lies! But I suppose every time we sin, we drag God into it, if you think about it.
Another thing that struck me was that Jacob referred to God as “your God”. He had not made his father’s faith his own, yet. We are given the bigger picture in later chapters, and we see how Jacob does eventually come to follow the LORD. This gives me hope for several people near and dear to me, that they will eventually come to Jesus.
Esau was so hurt, desperate for his blessing (which was entirely given to Jacob), disappointed, and angry that he made a vow to kill his brother. I cannot imagine how damaged the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah must have been, or the relationship between Esau and his mother.
To save her favorite son’s life, Rebekah tricked Isaac into sending Jacob away so that he might find a wife in her brother Laban’s house. She would never see Jacob again. How sad.
I don’t “play favorites” but what if my kids think I do? I need to watch myself and love each of them with all my heart, in the way they need to be loved. God, please guide and direct me, that I might not cause damage to my family…