Doing the Right Thing the Wrong Way

Bible Book: Genesis  27
Subject: Family; Home; Mother; Father; Prayer; Selfishness; God's Will

Doing the Right Thing the Wrong Way

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor,

Genesis 27

I really wanted to give this sermon a much longer title, but it just didn’t look right when printed or on the screens. Here is the entire title for today’s message: "Doing the Right Thing the Wrong Way Always Leads to the Long Way to the Right Path." And that is a fact!

If this sermon title is a bit confusing, I think you will understand clearly what it means by the time we have looked at the story before us today.

We are looking today in Genesis 27 at the lives of Isaac, Rebekah, Esau and Jacob. Isaac had great parents, as you will recall – Abraham and Sarah. No doubt, he could clearly remember being on the altar on top of Mount Moriah and how God had provided a substitute for him through the lamb caught in the thicket. He had heard from his father many times I am sure how God promised to bless their family and make them a great nation and that all the world would be one day blessed by them.

How many times have some of us heard family stories told by parents or grandparents? They begin to tell the story, yet again, and we say, “Yeah, I know, you told me that already.” But, that does not stop them. They tell the entire thing all over again. Why? They tell it because they are reliving it and it is so real and important to them. It is like they are reliving it all over again in the very moments they use to tell it to you. Abraham must have done that with Isaac time and time again, recounting that faithful day on the mountain. Yet, Isaac lacked the spiritual depth the catch the full meaning of the story and that caused him to lack the commitment to follow God’s plan fully.

Now here is the story. Before Esau and Jacob were born, Rebekah was having a difficult pregnancy. She questioned why there was such a tussle inside her and God revealed that she was going to have twins and that the first would be last, essentially, and the last would be first. She and Isaac knew this was a prophecy from God. So, when the boys were born, Esau was born first; however, Jacob was born holding onto the heel of his brother’s foot. It was yet another sign that it is not to be the firstborn, Esau, who will receive the prophetic fatherly blessing but it will be Jacob. (Explain firstborn blessings, and their significance.)

Eventually, the father of the boys, Isaac, grows older, his sight fails, and he thinks he is going to die. In essence, he is a hypochondriac, because he is not dying and will actually live another 40 years. But, he thinks he is dying so he calls Esau to his room and tells him to go kill some wild game and fix him his favorite meal. Isaac thinks this might just be his last meal on earth. Esau is Isaac’s favorite son because Esau is an outdoors man who loves to hunt and eat wild game. If Esau were living today he would drive a great big, loud, four-wheeling Ram truck with a gun rack in the back and a pair of deer antlers on the hood! Interestingly, Isaac does not dislike Jacob but because Jacob is a kind of momma’s boy the father prefers to spend time with his outdoor loving son, Isaac. Jacob, on the other hand, likes to be around home and uses his mind more more than his hands. If Jacob lived today he would probably drive a Prius or Honda Civic. So, Isaac feels closer to Esau. Isaac tells Esau that he is sure he is dying and once he has been served his special meal of wild game meat he will give the prophetic blessing to Esau. Esau raced out to kill some wild game, even though he knew he was not supposed to receive the blessing from his father. Not only did he know the story about Jacob being promised the blessing, but he had actually sold the blessing to Jacob anyway. That happened when Esau came in from a hunting trip and saw Jacob with a big bowl of red stew. Esau said, “I’m starving. Give me that stew and I will give you my blessing.” The deal was made. Basically, Esau was giving away something he didn’t have for something that was basically worthless! Sounds like shopping with a credit card, doesn’t it?

When Isaac told Esau he was going to give him the prophetic blessing, Rebekah was listening behind the door. You can see already that this is an interesting family situation and that Rebekah was an fascinating mother. When she heard what Isaac was going to do, she raced around the house and found Jacob. She hatched a plot to deceive her blind husband and to ensure that Isaac and not Jacob got the blessing. Now, that is getting really to the bottom of the barrel for a family relationship, don’t you think? You thought your family had problems!

All families have problems – so get used it. However, when mom your starts tricking blind folks in the family, you have some real issues? They could make a television show about a family like this today and it would be a hit! So mom convinced Jacob to take a meal into Isaac, his father, while wearing Esau’s clothes. Also, she placed some goat skins on his arms and neck so Isaac would think it was the hairy body of Esau. She knew that Isaac would likely feel of Esau’s arms, so she wanted to be sure that he thought it was Esau bringing the food and not Jacob doing it. Wow, this is exciting. Jacob was a bit worried about this idea, but he went along with it. (Tell the story of the deception – how it worked)

Esau returned, discovered that Jacob had tricked his father into giving him the blessing, and practically went nuts. In other words, Esau was fighting mad about the deception. He decided the only way he will get peace under these circumstances is to kill his brother Jacob. WWE doesn’t have anything on this family. You know you have slipped away from your walk with God when you decide the way to find peace in your heart is to kill someone in your family.

Rebekah, dear mom, convinced Isaac to join her in sending Jacob away to live with her brother in Padam Haran, so he can find a wife among their people. After all, Rebekah’s brother lives there and he will look after Jacob. Of course, Jacob is about 40 years old by this time, but momma’s never see their children as being more than 3 to 5 years old – right? Jacob scoots out of town to avoid being used as wild game target practice by his brother Esau.

When Jacob arrived at his uncle Laban’s house, Laban was glad to take him in, and I mean that literally. The apple does not fall far from the tree and that means Laban and his sister Rebekah had a lot in common. (Tell of Jacob and Rachel and the trick Laban played on Jacob by making his work 14 years for Rachel).

After about 20 years, Jacob decided it is time to go home, but it is too late for momma - too late for Rebekah - she never saw her son a Jacob again, for she died while he was with her brother far away from home.

Eventually the situation turns out well, and that is true because God was at work in Jacob’s life. Jacob had two amazing experiences with God at Bethel – one going away from home and the other on the way back home. However, I want to answer a question. How did this family get into the terrible circumstances that affected them so badly? You see, if you try to do the right thing the wrong way, it will take very long route to get to the right path.

Though this is a Mother's Day sermon, I want us to think about the entire family. Someone has said that the mother is the heart of a family, and that is usually true. But, actually, every family member needs to have their hearts right with God and each other in order to avoid the pain that evolves from the mistakes I am going to share with you today. So, what causes a family to experience the problems of Isaac and Rebekah?

It begins with ...

I. The Family That Does Not Talk Together

The problems we see in Isaac and Rebecka’s relationship can be seen beginning back in Genesis, chapter 25. Did you notice from chapter 25 to chapter 27 that there is no record of the family praying together, eating together or even sitting down for a family discussion? I mean, they just live in the same house, but they definitely move in different constellations.

You have to realize that the family we are talking about here is one of the most important and distinctly significant families in the entire Old Testament. These people are at the top of God’s list of families He plans to use and to bless them. Rebekah is the mother of two sons who still effect the world to this day. And yet this family was living outside the realm of God’s will for any family, much less a family with a direct message from God about how they are to live.

Just because you are saved, come to church and know that the Lord has your interest at heart, does not mean you are going to automatically avoid the problems of life. In fact, because you are Christians God calls you a higher walk and way. We are to act like Christians at home, not just at church.

The family members who do not talk to each other will find themselves working against each other. This is absolutely true! Communication is so important, even if it involves difficult things - conversations that we would rather avoid. I can remember today talking with my daughter about the birds and bees – and that was over 40 years ago. I can feel my hands beginning to sweat right now. But, it was important and I did it.

Isaac was so focused on his health that he forgot about others in the house. Esau was so focused on hunting and fishing that he lived for his personal pleasure. Joseph was under the influence of his mother at age 40 and had not matured to know how to do what was right no matter who suggested otherwise. Mom was in control, even if it meant being devious in the process.

So, let me ask families here today, are you talking to each other? It is a must. God desires it. God planned families to talk and communicate concerning all the issues of life.

The lack of talking to each other was not the only problem Isaac, Rebecka and the boys had. Problems get worse for ....

II. The Family That Does Not Talk To the Lord

Read this story and you don’t see them consulting the Lord about what they were to do - note even once! Isaac doesn’t pray before he calls Esau in and tells him to kill some wild game, to fix him a meal and to come back to receive the prophetic blessing. He didn't seek God’s face or take time for God to answer him. If he had prayed, God could have shown him exactly what was going on in his family. I'm afraid a lot of men are blind to the problematic relationships in the family because they don't spend time talking to the God who invented the family. God knows what your family needs and every husband and father in this place today must ask if you are a man of prayer for your family. Mothers can try to control things they don't understand, because they fail to spend time in prayer about them. Mom, you are to pray and seek God for your husband and children. God alone can guide and lead correctly.

Note that Esau did not pray about whether his decision to accept the blessing from his father. He knew that God had spoken, and he knew that the birthright belonged to Jacob. He surely remembered that God had already promised the blessing to, and Esau knew that he sold it to Jacob for a bowl of red stew. Esau lost the blessing twice, but he was determined to get it anyway. Not once did he stop to think about what God would have him do in this situation.

Rebekah overheard the conversation between her husband Isaac and her son Esau, but she did not pray or seek God’s will in terms of her response to the situation. She acted in her carnal nature when she decided to use Jacob to deceive her blind husband. Surely you would think that a mother like Rebekah would fall on her knees and call out to God about what she knew was about to happen. No! She did not pray about it at all. She took matters into her own hands. Moms, let me tell, that is not a good decision.

Jacob does not reveal one ounce of godly conscience when his mother tells him to deceive his father. His confession about how wrong this deed was did not contain a word of soul-searching. Not once did he pray and ask God if this was proper. Jacob did not pray and ask God to give him courage to handle the problem in a godly manner.

Note the deception, animosity, favoritism, jealousy and schemes in this family. It is a reality show that could have been a hit 3,500 years ago – or perhaps even today.

Now, one last thing that led to the trouble we discover in this family. A family is to sure to have problems if it is ...

III. The Family That Does Not Talk To Others

Note that this family does not talk to others about the Lord in this process. There is very little shared in the way of a witness to the unbelieving world about how God is working in their lives. When we live carnal lives, we become selfish and forget that many people around us need the Lord. After all, the reason God was blessing this family was to bring about His plan of salvation for all who would believe in the Messiah-Savior God planned to send to the world.

Family matters are so personal, so easy to become mere habits, that most Christian families just don't know how to depend upon the Lord to help them navigate the "shark filled" waters of domestic life. This means that we often create situations that present a terrible witness to the world. Though they are not supposed to, many people determine what God is like by looking at those of us who claim to know Him. Our broken relationships and "soap opera" lives send a message that God really doesn't matter - that faith is of little consequence - that God can't help us live any differently than those who do not know God at all.

Every word and every act in this story are selfish and damages the world's view of the kingdom of God. We see this today all around us – maybe through our own homes and lives we are failing to be the witness God desires us to be.


Let us rededicate our families to God today, by rededicating our own lives to the Lord. We need to ask God to forgive us for being unkind, unthoughtful and un-prayerful in matters involving our families. On this Mother's Day, let us come to the Lord anew, rededicate ourselves and members of a human family and members of God's family. And, if by chance, you have never trust Jesus as your Savior, you can be born into His family today - you can be forgiven of your sins - you can experience new life and eternal life.

Now is the time to come to the Lord. He is calling us. How will we answer.