All sorts of questions come to mind when we read this story of Jacob stealing his brother Esau's blessing. We think, "How can this lying cheater be blessed of God?" With the help of his mother Rebekah, Jacob dressed in his brother's clothes and wearing a fur he deceives his father Isaac into giving the blessing of the firstborn to him. You can't imagine the first readers of this story saying, "I want to be just like our father Jacob!" To the contrary, Jacob's lies and deception are shock worthy! It is a mystery why some biblical names are still used for children. Jacob's name means supplant, cheat, deceive, attack from the rear, and he takes by the heel. None of these meanings are really positive. The name Jacob should be as popular for children today as Judas, Pilate, and Jezebel. However, Jacob is a patriarch. And God did bless him for the sake of the chosen seed that would be traced through him from Abraham to Christ. And even more so the seed is traced all the way from the fall in the Garden (Gen 3:15) to Christ. God uses imperfect people to accomplish his purpose. Jacob and Rebekah's manipulation of Isaac did actually fulfill the word of the Lord in Gen 25:23 "...the older shall serve the younger." The blessing was given to Jacob and not Esau.
There is a second question that comes to mind. Why couldn't Isaac retract the blessing when he found out that Jacob had stolen it? The short answer is that Isaac knew the word of the Lord before the twins were born. He knew it was God's will to bless Jacob and not Esau...the older would serve the younger. But Isaac favored Esau. He loved to eat of the game Esau would bring home. It satisfied his fleshly desires. It may be why Esau was willing to sell his birthright for a bowl of soup. Isaac and Esau were both driven by their appetites. It tells us something about Isaac's walk with God. Rebekah was not better. She overhears Isaac talking with Esau (eavesdropping?) and plans a counter move with Jacob. Mistrust, lack of spiritual maturity, and many other reasons make this a story about broken people just like you and me. It is a reminder of why Paul the apostle wrote,
"Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
Who are we to think we can avoid such depravity. But we are blessed beyond belief that God does not wait until we get it right. "...but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom 5:8)
Isn't it good to know that God uses sinners like Jacob, Isaac, Rebekah, you and me. He uses sinful people to accomplish his holy purpose. We need this God who's plans are never foiled by sinful people. We need this grace found only in Christ.