Faith of our Fathers: Isaac

Genesis 27:27-29, 39-46

Three nurses die and go up to heaven. Peter says,
So, tell me, what did you do with your life?
First nurse said, I worked in an emergency room,
and it was really challenging. But we were able to
help some people.
Peter says, that’s fabulous. Come on in.

Peter says to the second nurse, what did you do
with your life?
She says, I worked in hospice. It was a little
depressing, since everyone dies. But we were kind
to people.
Peter says, That’s great. Come on in. Enjoy heaven

Peter turns to the third nurse, what did you do with
your life?
She says, For the last years of my life I worked as a
managed care nurse for an HMO.

Peter wrinkles his brow and pulls out a calculator,
a whole set of manuals, and a pencil.
He spends time writing and tossing pieces of
wrinkled paper. Then looks up and says, I can
approve you for a five day stay.

Turn once again to the 11th chapter of Hebrews
where we will see the Biblical definition of faith.

Hebrews 11:1-2,6 “Now faith is the assurance of
things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
For by it the men of old gained approval.”
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him,
for he who comes to God must believe that He is
and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”

The first week of our series on faith we looked at Noah’s
faith to obey God and build an ark even before he had
seen the first drop of rain. His faith was credited to him
as righteousness.

The past two weeks we have studied the faith of
Abraham. He displayed huge faith to pick up his family
and follow God to an unknown territory without a
roadmap. He also showed great faith by being willing to
obey God and offer up his only son as a burnt offering.
Hebrews tells us he had faith that God could even raise
his son from the dead. His faith was also credited to him
as righteousness.

Today we will look at the faith of the child of the promise.
Isaac. The one God promised to a barren woman who
was advanced in age, who was also passed the
childbearing age.

He had a great role model. Remember his dad’s answer
when he asked him where the lamb was for the burnt
offering as they were headed to the place of the
Abraham told his son that God would provide for Himself
the lamb. And provide He did.
Abraham understood that and named the place “the Lord
will provide”

Likewise, Isaac would never forget that day.
Fast forward to many years later and Isaac has two
children of his own, twins.

I’m going to read the background text Genesis 27:1-25

When we read this story, we often interject our own
opinions rather than taking the text for what it says.
This is NOT a story of two people tricking God.
This is a story of God’s sovereignty and God’s will being

Let’s begin with an obvious question.
Why did Isaac bless Jacob not Esau?
At first glance you might say Isaac was tricked
But after further examination of God’s word you see that;

It was God’s Plan

Turn over to Genesis 25:23 “The Lord said to her,
two nations are in your womb; and two peoples will
be separated from your body; and one people shall
be stronger than the other; and the older shall
serve the younger.”

This was contrary to how things were normally done.
The firstborn always got the birthright and the blessing.
But God had other plans.

This brings me to the second question.
Why did God choose Jacob rather than Esau?
If this was the first time you had heard this story and I
asked you to guess who was more deserving of the
blessing? Esau, the firstborn who was also an
outdoorsman, strong and a good hunter or a smooth
skinned man second born son who lived in tents, who
would you think deserved the blessing more?
From a purely physical standpoint most of you would
probably say Esau deserved it.
But let’s take a look at his character.

Genesis 25:29-34

“When Jacob had cooked stew,
Esau came in from the field and he was famished;
and Esau said to Jacob;
‘Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished.’
Therefore his name was called Edom.
But Jacob said, ‘First sell me your birthright.’
Esau said, ‘Behold, I am about to die; so of what
use then is the birthright to me?’
And Jacob said, ‘First swear to me’; so he swore to
him, and sold his birthright to Jacob.
Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he
ate and drank, and rose and went on his way.
Thus Esau despised his birthright.”

Esau cared only about his stomach. He despised his
birthright. Do you think this was a surprise to God?
God knows our thoughts, of course it wasn’t a surprise.

In Romans 9:10-12 we are told that before Jacob and
Esau were even born God decided who He was going to
“for though the twins were not yet born and had
not done anything good or bad, so that God’s
purpose according to His choice would stand, not
because of works but because of Him who calls, it
was said to her, ‘the older will serve the younger.’”
It’s referring back to Genesis 25:23 where God says the
older will serve the younger.
God selected Jacob to be the father of the 12 tribes of
How can this be? How could God choose the younger
over the elder?

God is Sovereign.

What does this mean?
What is the sovereignty of God?
God’s plan
God’s word
God’s will
What do all of these have in common?
His plan will never fail
His word never returns void
His will is always accomplished despite the attempts of
man to thwart it.

One more question.
Why didn’t Isaac just change the blessing after he
realized he had given it to Jacob not Esau?

First of all, a man’s word was his word in that day and
they didn’t go back on it.
Second, God wanted Jacob to receive the blessing.
It was all according to His plan and will and word.
Notice Isaac’s words in v. 33 of Genesis 27 “yes and he
shall be blessed.”

Now, let’s take a look at the blessing Isaac gave to Jacob
Isaac blesses Jacob
Genesis 27:27-29
Notice the scope of the blessing:
He will be blessed physically with prosperity of good land.
He will have all he could want to eat and drink.
People will serve him.
Nations will bow to him.
He will rule over his brother.
Those who curse him will be cursed.
Those who bless him will be blessed.

This is direct from the promise that God had made to
Abraham back in Genesis 12:3

Contrast this with what Isaac told Esau
Isaac “blesses” Esau

Genesis 27:39-40

Notice how Esau’s is almost the opposite of Jacob’s
His house will be away from the fatness of the earth and
the dew of heaven.
He will serve his brother.
He will live by the sword.

Let’s consider one more thought.
Isaac was getting old and he was blind at the time of the
He thought he was giving his oldest son Esau the
By faith he believed he was doing what was right.
Remember, faith is the assurance things hoped for, the
conviction of things not seen.
But if he had actually given the blessing to Esau he would
have been contradicting God’s word.
God knew the blessing belonged to Jacob.
He made sure it happened that way.

God’s sovereignty means things always go the way God
designs them to go.


What should we do as a result of this message today?

Study His Word – we know that God’s word never
returns void. When He says something we must believe
That’s probably my favorite thing about God.
He says something and it is done.
There is no doubt about it, no questions.
He says it and it happens.
Our response should be to study His word and know what
He says about things. The more time we spend in the
book the better we get to know the author.

Follow His Plan – God has a purpose and a plan for our
lives. He is not silent about how he wants us to live our
lives. We are to be salt and light in the world, we are to
take the good news to those who are perishing. He
desires us to walk by faith and believe that we can trust
His plan. Our faith is revealed by how we react to what
happens in our life.

Seek His Will – I preached a sermon regarding God’s will
a few years ago.
We don’t have time right now to go through it all.

Let me give you 5.
God wants our Transformation
We are to be Imitators of God
We should Bear Fruit
God wants our Sanctification
God wants our Obedience