Agonizomai: Heb 11 - 20 - Christ - The Master of Providence

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Heb 11 - 20 - Christ - The Master of Providence

Heb 11 - 20 - Christ - The Master of Providence

Heb 11:20 By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau.

How so? Wasn’t Isaac fooled by Jacob precisely so that he could obtain the blessing that was due to Esau? Didn’t Isaac mistakenly (in his own mind) give the double portion to the wrong son - to the younger instead of the elder? So how can it be said that "by faith" Isaac invoked blessings on his two sons?

I mean, isn’t faith a bit more than an accident? Doesn’t it require some sort of consciousness of the facts? For example, our faith is useless unless it is faith in the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ and, in order to put that faith in Him we must have knowledge of the facts about him. Otherwise we have the sort of faith that many lost people have, who know the name "Jesus," but have no concept of the power and meaning of His Name, and all that it entails.

But to think that Isaac was blessing his children in ignorance follows a wrong premise. To be sure, he was fooled by Jacob and Sarah but, when that duplicity had been revealed to him, he both confirmed the blessing of Jacob (mistakenly given as it was) and gave other blessings to Esau. It was these later actions that most displayed faith. Isaac went against his favouritism and his traditions and bowed the knee to God’s providence by confirming the fraudulently obtained birthright of Jacob. {Ge 27:33} He knew that it would be wrong to undo what God had permitted in this case.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is faith in action - the same sort of faith by which Abraham was willing to sacrifice to God’s hand all of the hopes he had in Isaac for the future. He had blessed Jacob in the Name of God. Any failure of discernment was his own fault because his favouritism and his own senses became his guide. In his blindness he was susceptible to being fooled and Jacob was wrong to do it, but Isaac had enough awareness to know better, had he not gone with his own gut (in both senses of the word).

This is not judgement on my part, but recognition of reality. When we sin in ignorance our culpability is diminished, but not excused. When we make judgements in ignorance we are still culpable before God for acting in our ignorance, rather than waiting and/or informing ourselves better. Isaac showed faith in God by bowing to this truth. It was a sign of that humility of mind which is fruit of a spirit living by faith.

Thus Jacob was heir of the spiritual and kingdom blessings - the eternal elective graces of God. And Esau was blessed with temporal grace to be increased and made wealthy and fruitful in earthly things. This shows the great love of God even for those who are not of his flock. He makes his rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home