“By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come” (Hebrews 11:20).
“…things to come”. We can have faith in the promises of God, but not live long enough to see their fulfillment. We believe it anyway! We read about the many promises God made to the prophets throughout the Old Testament, but many of these faithful men died before seeing the promise fulfilled. Still, they believed God with their last breath. Their faith in God’s promises carried into the next generation and for generations after that.
God promised to free the Israelites and give them their own land. Two hundred years later Joseph believed in that promise and asked that when the Israelites finally entered the Promised Land that they would take his bones with them to be buried in Canaan. He didn’t know Abraham to whom God made the promise, but his father’s faith in a God who keeps His promises was passed to Joseph.
When Jacob deceitfully received Esau’s blessing from his father, you get to see Isaacs’s faith passed onto him by his father. When Isaac learned that his wife and younger son had tricked him, he must have been confused. Humanly speaking, most fathers would have reversed the blessing, but Isaac didn’t. He knew from his father that sovereign God does not make mistakes. Isaac didn’t understand God’s reasoning, but he had faith that our sovereign God meant for Jacob to receive Esau’s blessing.
Then Jacob, now old and nearly blind is to bless Joseph’s two sons. Joseph places his eldest son on Jacob’s right so he receives the larger blessing. But as soon as Jacob begins to pray, the Holy Spirit has Jacob cross his hands and bless the younger boy with the larger blessing. God had a purpose for this break in tradition that we finally get to see.
- Cain (the eldest) rejected over Abel
- Esau (the eldest) rejected over Jacob
- Ishmael (the eldest) rejected over Isaac
- Manasseh (the eldest) rejected over Ephraim
God can use old men and the blind to bless his children and accomplish His long-term purposes. He does not depend on human wisdom. We learn two things from these Scriptures:
- It is critical that we pass our faith onto the next generation.
- God’s promises and His purposes are eventually fulfilled even if we don’t live long enough to see it.
Although tradition is important – the eldest receiving the larger blessing – the Holy Spirit moved men of faith to break with tradition in order to fulfill God’s purpose, which is the importance of being born again. He was teaching us, even in the Old Testament, that being born into this world does not give us eternal life. It is the second birth that saves and gives us eternal life with Him.
Faith in the second birth saves!
Our Father began teaching us that long before Jesus appeared on the scene. We serve a faithful and sovereign God who always places importance on the second birth.
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” (John 3:6-7).
When I read Scripture, I see so many promises. As I move through the Bible I also read about Him fulfilling those promises. Those not yet fulfilled will be – in God’s timing. Believe it! Even if you and I are not here to see it happen!