Sermon #     61                                                 Hebrews Notes


     Title:            Isaac’s Remarkable Faith

     Text:            Hebrews 11:20

     Readings:     Buddy Daugherty – Bob Poncer

     Subject:       Faith Bowing to the Will of God

     Date:            Tuesday Evening – August 7, 2001

     Tape #         W-55b



Were I searching an example of faith, a single act of faith, by which I wanted to instruct, comfort and encourage our hearts in this matter of believing God, I am certain I would never have thought about the example given in our text tonight. In fact, that which is here held before us as a great example of remarkable faith, I have always thought of as an example of great weakness. So, when I began preparing this message, I was immediately confronted with some challenges. Read the text with me, and you will see why.


[Hebrews 11:20]  By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.


Isaac and His Family


Our text refers us to the 27th chapter of Genesis. You will recall that Isaac and Rebekah had twin sons, Jacob and Esau. Esau, the firstborn, was exactly the kind of son every man wants, all boy. Judging by the description we are given of him he probably wasn’t much to look at; but he was all boy. He was strong, manly, an outdoorsman, a sportsman, a great hunter. He and Isaac were real buddies. Esau appears to have always endeavored to honor his father.


     Jacob, on the other hand, was apparently a bit of a sissy, a momma’s boy. He was soft, delicate, and always hanging around his mother’s apron. Jacob was as conniving and scheming as Esau was plain and forthright. He was as weak as Esau was strong.


     When it came time for him to die, Isaac was anxious to give the blessing of God to his beloved son Esau[1]. The birthright, normally, should have been Esau’s. He was the firstborn. And Jacob sure wanted Esau to have it. Who better to represent him and carry on his family than Esau? So he sent Esau out to kill a deer and fix him a pot of stew, so that they could have their favorite meal together, reminisce about the things they had enjoyed together, and then Isaac would bless his favorite son.


But there was a problem with Isaac’s plans. Isaac’s plans, desires, will and purpose were directly contrary to God’s purpose. God loved Jacob and hated Esau. The Lord God chose Jacob. The Lord God had ordained that Jacob be the one through whom the covenant would be established, through whom Christ should come into the world, through whom he would accomplish his purpose of grace, through whom ultimately he would bring salvation to all his elect.


The Birthright Despised


Esau had long before sold his birthright to Jacob in a moment of trial. It wasn’t much of a trial. He had been out in the fields, as usual; and as usual, Jacob had been in the kitchen with momma. When Esau came in, he was hungry and wanted the mess of beans Jacob had cooked. Jacob, in his normal deviousness, seized his opportunity, and made a deal with Esau.


[Genesis 25:27-34]  And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. [28] And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob. [29] And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: [30] And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom. [31] And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. [32] And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? [33] And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. [34] Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.


Rebekah’s Plan


Now, when Isaac was dying and wanted to bless Esau, Rebekah overheard the conversation between them and came up with a plan of her own by which to deceive her husband and secure God’s blessing for her favorite son, Jacob. She had Jacob to kill a kid of the goats and bring it to her. She made a stew for him to take to Isaac, and put the skin of the goat on Jacob, so that Isaac would think he was Esau and bless him. Jacob was scared to death; but the plan worked, because Isaac was blind.


A Picture of the Gospel


I cannot go on without calling your attention to the fact that this is exactly how sinners receive the blessing of God. This is a beautiful picture of the gospel. I will not make any effort to excuse Rebekah’s actions, or Jacob’s But this much is clear: Rebekah knew what God’s purpose was; and she was determined that the promise of God be Jacob’s. Jacob knew what that birthright represented; and he was determined to have it. They both hazarded everything to get it. If we would have that same blessing, the blessing of God’s grace, we must do exactly what Jacob did.


·        A Lamb must be killed. – No blessing can be had from God without a sacrifice being made.

·        We must bring the holy Lord God that savory meat he loves. – Christ himself.

·        We must come to the holy Lord God in the skins of his darling Son. – As Jacob came to Isaac wearing Esau’s clothes and in the skins of the slain goat, so we must come to him robed in the righteousness of Christ, wearing his garments of salvation.

·        Coming to God in Christ, he cannot see us. – All he sees is Christ and us in him.


Isaac’s Remarkable Faith


Now, I want us to look at the picture given us in Holy Scripture of Isaac’s remarkable faith. The Holy Spirit specifically declares that Isaac, in an act of faith, blessed both his sons, both Jacob and Esau.


[Hebrews 11:20]  By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.




[Genesis 27:15-29]  And Rebekah took goodly raiment of her eldest son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob her younger son: [16] And she put the skins of the kids of the goats upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his neck: [17] And she gave the savoury meat and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob. [18] And he came unto his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I; who art thou, my son? [19] And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau thy firstborn; I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me. [20] And Isaac said unto his son, How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son? And he said, Because the LORD thy God brought it to me. [21] And Isaac said unto Jacob, Come near, I pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my very son Esau or not. [22] And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau. [23] And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau's hands: so he blessed him. [24] And he said, Art thou my very son Esau? And he said, I am. [25] And he said, Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son's venison, that my soul may bless thee. And he brought it near to him, and he did eat: and he brought him wine, and he drank. [26] And his father Isaac said unto him, Come near now, and kiss me, my son. [27] And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed: [28] Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: [29] Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee.




[Genesis 27:30-41]  And it came to pass, as soon as Isaac had made an end of blessing Jacob, and Jacob was yet scarce gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting. [31] And he also had made savoury meat, and brought it unto his father, and said unto his father, Let my father arise, and eat of his son's venison, that thy soul may bless me. [32] And Isaac his father said unto him, Who art thou? And he said, I am thy son, thy firstborn Esau. [33] And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, Who? where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? yea, and he shall be blessed. [34] And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father. [35] And he said, Thy brother came with subtlety, and hath taken away thy blessing. [36] And he said, Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing. And he said, Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me? [37] And Isaac answered and said unto Esau, Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained him: and what shall I do now unto thee, my son? [38] And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept. [39] And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; [40] And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck. [41] And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.


     Let me show you what I have gleaned from the Scriptures. I will not get close to expounding our text or my subject tonight. I plan to come back to it, at least two or three more times in the coming weeks. But here are eight lessons I have gathered from the Scriptures we have read.


I. God almighty saves whom he will.


Let men rant and rave and hoot and holler all they wish, “Salvation is of the Lord!” God has mercy on whom he will. He chooses some and passes by others. The purpose of God according to election stands firm. “The foundation of God standeth sure: the Lord knoweth them that are his!


[Romans 9:10-16]  And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; [11] (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) [12] It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. [13] As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. [14] What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. [15] For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. [16] So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.


II. God’s elect are almost always those we least suspect might be.


God’s ways are not our ways. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. And God’s choices are not our choices. Isaac chose Esau; but God chose Jacob.


Illustration: David and his Brothers


[1 Corinthians 1:26-29]  For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: [27] But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; [28] And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: [29] That no flesh should glory in his presence.


III. Faith cherishes and prizes Christ above all things.


Faith chooses Christ. Faith seeks Christ. Faith counts Christ precious and all things but dung in comparison to him.


[1 Peter 2:6-8]  Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. [7] Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, [8] And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.


IV. Unbelief despises Christ and cherishes the lusts of the flesh.


A. Esau sold Christ for a moment’s gratification. – There are multitudes like him!

·        The Sons of Korah

·        Elimelech

·        Judas

·        Demas


B. Jacob preferred Christ to anything and everything.


I do not know what all Jacob saw in the birthright at the time; but I know what the birthright represented. It represented Christ and God’s salvation in him. For that, Jacob was willing to incur his father’s wrath, a life of separation from family and friend, and anything else.


V. Now, listen to this. Don’t miss it. I promise you, this fifth thing is worth much thought and consideration. – God gives every one of us exactly what we want.


A. If I want Christ, I am fully aware that God himself made me want him; but if Christ is what I want, Christ is what I shall have!


[Jeremiah 29:11-14]  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. [12] Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. [13] And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. [14] And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.


B. If you want the world, if you want self-gratification, if you want what all men naturally want and chose, if you despise Christ and choose your own lusts, God will give you that.


Oh, how I pray that God will cause you to seek Christ. But if you despise him and choose to serve your own lusts, God will give you what you want.


1. Esau found enough to gratify his heart in the portion with which he was blessed (“I have enough” – Gen. 33:9). His blessing proved to be his everlasting curse.


[Proverbs 1:23-32]  Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. [24] Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; [25] But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: [26] I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; [27] When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. [28] Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: [29] For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: [30] They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. [31] Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. [32] For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.


2. Jacob, when he had given everything away, found that which gratified his heart and soul in his blessing (“I have enough” – Gen. 332:11). His blessing is Christ!


VI. Now, turn to Ecclesiastes 3:11, and learn this. – When the Lord God shuts a sinner up in reprobation, he is doomed forever.


If God gives a person up, if God turns a sinner over to himself and lets him have his own way, he is as good as in hell. When God shuts the door, the door is shut!


Illustration: God shut the door going into the ark before the first raindrop fell from heaven!


[Ecclesiastes 3:11]  He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.


VII. Nothing stands in the way of or in any way hinders the purpose of God.


Yes, blessed be his holy name, God always has his way, overruling our wills, our desires, our purposes, and even our most reprehensible behavior, to accomplish his everlasting purpose of grace!


VII. Now, turn back to Genesis 27 and learn this. – Faith ultimately bows to the will of God, because that is what every believer truly wants. – “Thy will be done!


[Genesis 27:33]  And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, Who? where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? yea, and he shall be blessed.


[Genesis 27:39-40]  And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; [40] And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.

[1] This patriarchal blessing was much, much more than a father’s wishes for his son. It was the blessing of God in the firstborn, passed on from generation to generation in the patriarchal ages. It represented Christ and all the blessings of God’s boundless grace in Christ.