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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 27

The Church Pulpit CommentaryChurch Pulpit Commentary

Verses 5-6

A GAME OF CROSS-PURPOSES

‘And Rebekah heard … and Rebekah spake.’

Genesis 27:5-6

Isaac and Rebekah are not blameless in the matter of their children’s sins. If their home is religious, it is not thoroughly religious. The father is too easygoing, the mother too crafty. God is not ‘a Presence felt the livelong day, a wholesome Fear at night.’

I. Let me give my children a home frankly and avowedly Christian.

I owe it to the nation. The well-being of the commonwealth is broadbased on the love and the truthfulness and the purity of the family circle.

I owe it to the Church. Why is it that, with all her activities, the Church does not make the progress she should? One reason is that the life of her members in their own households is not always a godly life.

And I owe it to the children themselves. I give them strength for the conflict of faith, power over temptation, brightness and joy, an invigorating discipline preparing them for wider fields of action, when I teach them by my own example to find in God their Friend.

And certainly I owe it to Christ. Does He not want homes which will be a refuge to Him, like the home in Bethany, from the neglect of the world and from the contradiction of sinners? And shall I not provide Him with the quiet retreat He craves?

II. I would abhor Jacob’s sin of deceit. I would be true.

I would be true to myself. God in His grace has given me a great name, that of Christian, and I must not stain it by anything mean or unworthy.

I would be true to my friend. He expects it of me; this honesty, this honour, this conscience, lie at the basis of our relationship. He deserves it of me; he has treated me well, he has shown his love in a hundred ways, and I make a shameful return if I mislead him.

I would be true to my God. I would not bring Him any shows and semblances, any tinsel and fraud. I would not profess an affection for Him which I do not feel.

There is no name among Bunyan’s Pilgrims I desire more fervently to wear myself than that of Mr. Valiant-for-Truth.

Illustration

‘This is a very sad record of scheming and deceit. God had said clearly that the elder should serve the younger, and there was no doubt that it would be so. There was, therefore, no need for Rebekah and Jacob to resort to such unworthy methods as are here described. When God’s plan has been once revealed, we may await his own development of its details. And in this there was so much nobility in David, who, though he knew that he was to succeed Saul on the throne, refused to take advantage of the opportunities of taking his life which came within his reach, but quieted his soul as a weaned child, and waited till God’s set time arrived. To do other than this, to imitate this mother and son, is to sow the seeds of a bitter harvest. It is probable that Rebekah never saw her favourite son again.’

Verse 34

A PENITENT’S PRAYER

‘And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father.’

Genesis 27:34

No one can read this chapter without feeling some pity for Esau. All his hopes were disappointed in a moment. He had built much upon this blessing, for in his youth he had sold his birthright, and he thought that in his father’s blessing he would get back his birthright, or what would stand in its place. He had parted with it easily, and he expected to regain it easily. He thought to regain God’s blessing, not by fasting and prayer, but by savoury meat, by feasting and making merry.

I. Esau’s cry is the cry of one who has rejected God, and who in turn has been rejected by Him. He was: (1) profane, and (2) presumptuous. He was profane in selling his birthright, presumptuous in claiming the blessing. Such as Esau was, such are too many Christians now. They neglect religion in their best days; they give up their birthright in exchange for what is sure to perish and make them perish with it. They are profane persons, for they despise the great gift of God; they are presumptuous, for they claim a blessing as a matter of course.

II. The prodigal son is an example of a true penitent. He came to God with deep confession—self-abasement. He said, ‘Father, I have sinned.’ Esau came for a son’s privileges; the prodigal son came for a servant’s drudgery. The one killed and dressed his venison with his own hand, and enjoyed it not; for the other the fatted calf was prepared, and the ring for his hand and shoes for his feet, and the best robe; and there was music and dancing.

Illustration

(1) ‘There are in this world many modern Esaus. See how men are bartering away for a mere trifle, precious but irrecoverable opportunities! Again, according to the familiar Roman legend, a Sibyl came to the palace of Tarquin the Second, bearing nine volumes, for which she demanded a high price. Her offer was declined, and she disappeared, and burned three of the precious books. Returning, she offered the remaining six, but asked for them the same price which she had demanded for the nine. Again her proposition was rejected; and again she departed and committed to the flames three more volumes. Once more she came back, bearing the last three, and refusing any less sum for them than that by which all might once have been bought! Tarquin, startled by this strange conduct of the merciless Sibyl, advised with his augurs, and bought the books, which proved the invaluable “Sibylline Verses”; but the chance of purchasing those priceless sister volumes was for ever lost.’

(2) ‘My heart bleeds for Esau: he has to be content with a poor and paltry second-best. But he has himself to blame. He has shown himself so crass, so earthly, so blind to what is spiritual and holy.

Often there comes a time in a careless and godless life when it is roused to understand the value of the blessing which hitherto it has despised and neglected and refused.

Sometimes, alas! the awakening is too late. The blessing is gone. God, having been often rejected, has passed on His way. His Spirit does not always strive. His grace is not always available.

But many a time the awakening leads to good results. If I cannot, after turning away again and again from what is high and heavenly, after bestirring myself only at the eleventh, or the ninth, or the seventh hour, do everything for God I might have done, and receive from Him every gift I might have received, still His pardon may be mine, His favour, His friendship, His love.

Best it is when I am His from the outset. Best it is to yield myself to God in His own Now—Now, the acceptable time, the day of full and free and eternal salvation.’

Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Genesis 27". The Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cpc/genesis-27.html. 1876.
 
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