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Genesis 27:22-34 1
22 Jacob went close to his father Isaac, who touched him and said, “The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” 23 He did not recognize him, for his hands were hairy like those of his brother Esau; so he proceeded to bless him. 24 “Are you really my son Esau?” he asked. “I am,” he replied. 25 Then he said, “My son, bring me some of your game to eat, so that I may give you my blessing.” Jacob brought it to him and he ate; and he brought some wine and he drank. 26 Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come here, my son, and kiss me.” 27 So he went to him and kissed him. When Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, he blessed him and said, “Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field that the Lord has blessed. 28 May God give you heaven’s dew and earth’s richness—an abundance of grain and new wine. 29 May nations serve you and peoples bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you. May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed.” 30 After Isaac finished blessing him, and Jacob had scarcely left his father’s presence, his brother Esau came in from hunting. 31 He too prepared some tasty food and brought it to his father. Then he said to him, “My father, please sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing.” 32 His father Isaac asked him, “Who are you?” “I am your son,” he answered, “your firstborn, Esau.” 33 Isaac trembled violently and said, “Who was it, then, that hunted game and brought it to me? I ate it just before you came and I blessed him—and indeed he will be blessed!” 34 When Esau heard his father’s words, he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, “Bless me—me too, my father!”

img209Background 2

In ancient times, before a father died, he gave blessings to his sons. The blessing to his oldest son was the most important one. It showed clearly that he had the right of the oldest son. So Isaac intended to give his blessing to Esau. But God had said that the older son would serve the younger one. (See Genesis 25:23.) And Esau had made a firm promise to give his right of the oldest son to Jacob. (See Genesis 25:33.) But Isaac did not agree with that. He still intended to give his blessing to Esau. Isaac lived for more than 20 years after this time. Jacob stayed in Paddan-aram for 20 years. (See Genesis 31:41.) And Isaac did not die until Jacob had returned. (See Genesis 35:29.)

Biblical Truths

Verse 22 – Because Isaac was so old, he could not hear clearly. He thought that the voice was Jacob’s voice. But he was not certain. However, he felt the goat’s skin on Jacob’s hands. So he was certain that the hands were hairy. Therefore, he believed that it was Esau. When Jacob came close to Isaac, Isaac smelled his clothes. (See verse 27.) They were Esau’s clothes, which Jacob was wearing. (See verse 15.) So Isaac was certain that it was Esau.

Verse 28 – The country where Isaac lived, Canaan, had very little rain for a part of each year. So at that time, dew was very important.

Verse 29 – ‘Let nations bend themselves down in front of you.’ This shows that you are their master. It shows that they give honor to you. And it shows that they are not your enemies.
‘Be a ruler over your brothers clearly gave the right of the oldest son. Isaac believed that he gave this right to Esau. Actually, he gave it to Jacob. Genesis does not tell us that Jacob had any other brother except Esau. So perhaps ‘your brothers’ means ‘your brother and your other relatives’.

Verse 33 – When a father gave his *blessing to his son, that blessing was true. God showed to the father what he should say. Therefore, the father could not change it.

Additional commentary from Matthew Henry 3

When Esau understood that Jacob had got the blessing, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry. The day is coming, when those that now make light of the blessings of the covenant, and sell their title to spiritual blessings for things which have no value, will, in vain, ask urgently for them. Isaac, when he finally made sense of the deceit practiced on him, also trembled exceedingly. Those who follow the choice of their own affections, rather than the Divine Will of God, get themselves into a quandary. Soon Isaac recovers, and confirms the blessing he had given to Jacob, saying, I have blessed him, and he shall be blessed.

Those who part with their wisdom and grace, their faith and a good conscience, for the honors, wealth, or pleasures of this world, however they feign a zeal for the blessing, have judged themselves unworthy of it, and their doom shall be accordingly. A common blessing was bestowed upon Esau. This he desired. Faint desires of happiness, without right choice of the end, and right use of the means, deceive many of us into our own ruin. Multitudes go to hell with their mouths full of good wishes. The great difference is, that there is nothing in Esau’s blessing which points at Christ; and without that, the riches of the earth, and the plunder of the field, will be of little importance. Thus Isaac, by faith, blessed both his sons, according to their own faith as it should be.

Items for Discussion

  • What do you think it means when you accept the Covenant from God?
  • What does the term “receive a blessing” mean to you?
    • (Ref: a ceremony in which an ordained person invokes or claims to bestow divine help 4)
  • Where in our society today do we still give blessings?
  • What part of receiving a blessing is internal, in other words, up to you?
  • How can you tell if you or others have accepted the promises from God?

 

Hebrews 12:12-17
12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet, “so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. 14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 16 See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. 17 Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.

Background 5

The author of this book does not tell us his name. All that we know is that *Timothy was a friend of both the writer and the readers (13:23). While the first readers were probably Christian Jews, the author did not write for all Jews. He wrote to a group, whom he knew well, that had become Christian. The book shows that they were not strong in their belief. They were in danger of going back to their old religion. The writer argues from the Old Testament to keep them trusting in Jesus.

From early times the church believed that the readers lived in Jerusalem. The title, the letter to the Hebrews, could show that they were Jews in Israel who spoke Hebrew. Many Jews who did not live in Israel spoke *Greek. Another suggestion is that the readers lived in Rome. There is in fact so little evidence in the book itself that we have to say that we do not know where the readers were living.

A bishop of Rome named Clement knew this letter and used it in his own writing. He wrote in about AD 96. The author of the letter to the Hebrews wrote his letter before then. From what is in the book we could argue that the Jews were still carrying on the temple ceremonies in Jerusalem. We know that the *Romans destroyed the temple in AD 70. If the date of writing was later, the author would have noted that event. So the date of the letter was probably before AD 70.

The Christian Jews had to make a choice. They could not continue in Judaism and be Christians. They must decide which way to go. It was either to go back to being Jews or to go on to be Christians. It seems that their nation had now turned against Christians. They could not now go to the temple as the Jews would not let them. The writer tries to show his readers that the right choice was to continue to trust in Jesus. That was much better than all the ceremonies of their former religion, which Jesus had replaced.

The way the author has written the book is not like any other book in the New Testament. We call it a letter, but it does not start like one. It does finish like a letter, but the author does not give us his name. The writer knows the readers and is eager to see them again (13:19, 23). He thinks well of them (6:9), but they should by now have been able to teach (5:12). He knows all about their past and their needs. The way he writes is almost like a speech or a lesson. He cares about his friends and wants to advise them in the choices they have to make.

Bible Truth 6

A burden of affliction is apt to make the Christian’s hands hang down, and his knees grow feeble, to dispirit him and discourage him; but against this he must strive, that he may better run his spiritual race and course. Faith and patience enable believers to follow peace and holiness, as a man follows his calling constantly, diligently, and with pleasure. Peace with men, of all sects and parties, will be favorable to our pursuit of holiness. But peace and holiness go together; there can a right and just peace without holiness. Where persons fail of having the true grace of God, corruption will prevail and break forth. We are called to beware of any lust in the heart, which seems to be dead, but could spring up, cause trouble and disturb the whole body.

“Falling away from Christ” means that we prefer the delights of the flesh to the blessing of God, and give up our heavenly inheritance, as Esau did. But sinners will not always the capacity and access to their thoughts of the Divine blessing and inheritance as they now have. It may be man’s disposition to desire the blessing, but at the same time, to despise the means whereby the blessing is to be gained. God will neither cut the means from the blessing, or join the blessing with the satisfaction of the man’s lusts. Here, God’s mercy and blessing were not sought after carefully and, therefore, cannot be obtained.

Items for Discussion

  • What are the ways we are pulled by the world away from Christ?
  • What kind of criteria is being brought forward by the author of Hebrews to prepare the Christians for the receipt of God’s Blessings?
  • How do you personally keep your spirits up and attitude positive when everything around you is going wrong?
  • What would the benefits be of a positive attitude when afflicted?
  • How does temptation use discourse and negativity to weaken people?

Discussion Challenge

  • Read Hebrews 12:14 again: How do we as a church, become holy people?
    • We live in a world in which there is so much disagreement. Even in the church there are often quarrels. We have a duty to try to live without quarrels. We are to try to be in unity with all people. That means both with those who trust God, as we do, and with those who do not. It may not always be possible, but we are not to be the cause of trouble. The writer of Hebrews tells us to be holy as well. The meaning of the word ‘holy’ has as its base that we belong to God alone. He is to be the Master of all that we do. We should always live as God wants us to live. Only those who are holy will see God. No person can make himself or herself holy. It is God who makes us holy, when we obey him and trust in Jesus.
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