Hall of Fame of Faith Series: The Destiny of Faith
Dear Visionary Leader:
We have been walking through the Hall of Fame of Faith. We’ve been talking about faith: what it is, how to get it, and why we need it. We have been studying the Old Testament heroes of faith who are highlighted in the New Testament.
In Hebrews 11:20, we read, “By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.”
There was a student who was finishing up his examinations just before the Christmas Holidays. He had not really studied hard and the professor asked an exceptionally hard question. The student didn’t have the foggiest idea what the answer was, but he thought perhaps that he could get by because of the spirit of the season. Thus, this is what he wrote on his examination paper: “Only God knows the answer to this question. Merry Christmas!” Well, the professor looked at it and wrote this on the paper before he returned it: “God gets 100 and you get 0. Happy New Year.”
God knows a lot of things we don’t know. That is true. However, we don’t need to get ‘zero’ because a lot of the things that God knows He doesn’t keep to Himself. Many of the truths and insights that God knows, He wants to share with us. When it comes to these questions that are perplexing to other people, God knows certain things that He chooses to reveal to us so we can face the future with faith. There several truths that I want us to study as we look at this man, Isaac. I am calling this teaching The Destiny of Faith.
Message Continues In Visionary Coaching
We Need To Learn About Isaac And His Future
In Genesis 25, we are going to find something very remarkable about these two sons that Isaac had. Isaac was one of the great father rulers of the Old Testament. He was what we call a patriarch. “Patri” meaning father. “Arch” meaning ruler. He was a father ruler. Isaac was the son of Abraham, the progenitor of the Jewish nation. Also, it was through Isaac that the promised Messiah would come. Isaac had two sons, and they were twins. One of them was red-headed and sort of a brawny sort of a man. The other one was very smooth- skinned and was younger.
As it is with twins, one has to be born before the other. Esau was born first and he was the elder. Jacob, being born secondly, was the younger. And so, God had a plan for these boys even before they were born.
In Genesis 25:21, we read, “And Isaac entreated the Lord for his wife because she was barren: and the Lord was entreated of him, and Rebekah, his wife conceived. And the children struggled together within her; andshe said, ‘If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the Lord. And the Lord said unto her, ‘Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder [that was Esau] shall serve the younger.”
Before they were ever born, God had a divine plan for these boys. In Romans 9:10, Paul said, “And not only this; but when Rebekah also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (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;) it was said unto her, ‘The elder shall serve the younger.’ As it is written, Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated.”‘
The word “hated” gives us trouble. It doesn’t mean that God despised Esau. It can be translated, “Jacob have I chosen, Esau have I not chosen. But the strange thing is this: that before they were ever born, before they came out of their mother’s womb, God says, “This son is going to do this, and this son is going to do that.”
We call this “divine election.” Sometimes when we talk about God’s foreknowledge, God’s predestination, and God’s election, all of us wrinkle our brows a little bit because that is something that is really hard to understand. There are some things that we don’t understand about divine election, but God is a sovereign God, and that God has a plan for history. God predetermines certain things that are going to happen! God just does that by what the Bible calls divine election!
Some people get a little worried when they here that because some people get the idea that somehow, they may be predestined to go to Hell. They believe that God predetermines that some people are going to Heaven and they’re going to Heaven and nothing can stop it; God predetermines that some people are going to Hell, and they’re going to Hell and nothing can stop it. Do not believe that! Anybody can be saved who wants to be saved. In 2 Peter 3:9 we read, “The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” In 1 Timothy 2:3-4, we read, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God, our Savior, Who will have all men to be saved.”
This world has never gotten out of control. Things haven’t gone where God cannot control them; and man proposes, but God disposes. Man may rule, but God overrules. It’s like being aboard a great airplane, say a 777. We are flying overseas, and up in the flight deck is a pilot, a co-pilot and a navigator. We are in the back of the plane. We may decide to stand or sit. We may decide to read or sleep; decide to talk or to pray; to eat or not to eat. We make a lot of decisions, and they’re our decisions. We live by the repercussions of those decisions, but the whole time that airplane is going to a predetermined destination.
And God, the Father, is the pilot. God, the Son, is the co-pilot. And God, the Holy Spirit, is the navigator. There’s not going to be a hijacking. God is in control of this world. He is bringing us to a divine destination, and we call that the predetermined will of God! On the one hand is the free will of man, and we make our decisions and we live by them. But where man rules, God overrules. God is moving history on to its predetermined climax! In God’s sweep of history, God saw these two sons: one, Esau, who would be the progenitor of the Edomites and Isaac who would be the progenitor of the Jews. And God says that the younger, that is Jacob, was going to have the ascendancy over the older; that is, Esau.
God just planned it that way, and there’s nothing you can do about it, nothing I can do about it, nothing you ought to want to do about it and certainly nothing I want to do about it. God had revealed to Rebekah and to Isaac His plan for the future. He had a definite plan.
We Need To Listen To Isaac And His Family
If you come from a bad family, don’t worry about it because we are about to study one. This family consisted of a scheming mother, sneaky son, a sensual father and a sorrowful bother. In Genesis 27:1 we read:
“And it came to pass, when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, that he could not see, he called Esau his eldest son, and said unto him, ‘My son:’ and he said unto him, ‘Behold, here am I.’ And he said, ‘Behold now, I am old, and I know not the day of my death: Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out into the field, and take me some venison; and make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; and that my soul may bless thee before I die.’ And Rebekah heard when Isaac spoke to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt for venison, and to bring it.”
In that era, the father, the patriarch ruler, who had received the covenant promises from Abraham, would pass those covenant promises down. That covenant promise was called the birthright, and it included material and spiritual blessings. It meant that through these descendants or through this line would come the Scriptures and ultimately would come the Savior. This birthright was something to be sought and something to be wanted. Esau was about to receive the birthright. Yet, this was not God’s plan. In Genesis 25, God’s plan was that Jacob receive it, for the Bible says that Jacob, the younger, should have the ascendancy and receive the birthright. Isaac was about to give the birthright to the wrong son, for the wrong reason.
Isaac said, “Now, Son. You go out into the woods, kill a deer, fix it, cook it really well, and bring it to me. We’re going to have a feast. Then, my Son, I’m going to lay a great blessing on you.”
As the plot began to unfold, entered the scheming mother. In Genesis 27:6-13 we read:
“And Rebekah spake unto Jacob her son, saying, ‘Behold, I heard thy father speak unto [Esau] thy brother saying, bring me venison, and make me savoury meat, that I may eat, and bless thee before the Lord before my death. Now, therefore, my son, [now she’s speaking to Jacob] obey my voice according to that which I command thee. Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats, and I will make them savoury meat for thy father, such as he loveth: and thou shalt bring it unto thy father that he may eat, and that he may bless thee before his death.’ And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, ‘Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man: my father peradventure will feel me, and I shall seem to him as a deceiver. If he reaches out and touches me, my skin is as smooth as a peeled banana. And if he puts his hands on me, well, he’ll know I’m not Esau. Esau is a hairy man!” And he says, “I know that he won’t bless me. He’ll curse me. And his mother said unto him, ‘Upon me be thy curse, my son: only obey my voice, and go fetch me them.”
In essence the mother says, “We’ll fool your father, and you can get the blessing.” Isn’t that a shame? Here’s a mother teaching deceit. Here she is, sneaking around trying to fool her husband by conniving and cheating, trying to get what God has already promised. She’s fighting a battle already lost when she could be enjoying a victory already won!
God said it’s going to happen. She doesn’t need to help God. Have you ever been guilty of trying to help God? God doesn’t need your help. The Almighty is quite sufficient. The strange thing is, by not leaving the matter in God’s hands and by not giving her sons up to God, she lost Jacob from this point on when he left home to never to come back again. The way to keep our children is to give them to God.
The next part of the plot is the sneaky son. I want you to notice Jacob in verse 14, what he does. “And he went and fetched them to his mother [that is, the two goats]: and his mother made savory meat, such as his father loved. 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: and she put skins of the goat’s hands and upon the smooth of his neck.”
Have you ever seen a man with hair all over his shoulders? That’s the way Esau was. Now, Jacob had hair all over his shoulders, only it was goat skin. “And she gave the savory meat and the bread, which she had prepared unto the hand of her son Jacob. And he came unto his father, and said, ‘My father:’ and he said, ‘Here I am who art thou, my son?’ And Jacob said unto his father, [now notice this lie] ‘I am Esau thy firstborn; I have done according as thou asked me; arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me.”‘
Jacob, you liar! You’re not Esau. Why are you going around lying, conniving and by cheating to try to get what God wants you to already have? Don’t you wish Jacob could have just trusted the Lord? It is amazing that some people don’t seem to be able to appropriate the things ready given them.
Did you know that every Christian already has a birthright? In Ephesians 1:3 we read, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Did you know that you’ve got the blessing? When we start enjoying our blessings and stop trying and start trusting, then our Christianity is going to move into a new dimension. So many Christians are fighting, warring, scheming, planning, conniving and trying, when they ought to be trusting! We must learn to live the Christian life by faith!
I suppose the worst person in the family was Isaac himself. I call him the sensual father. Do you know why Isaac loved Esau more than he loved Jacob? Isaac loved Esau more than he loved Jacob for one reason. In Genesis 25:28, we read, “he did eat of his venison.” He loved Esau for one reason! Esau could really cookvenison! That’s it! Esau ruled over his father because he made merchandise of his father’s appetite. Esau was a profane man, but Isaac was a carnal man. He lived in the realm of the flesh!
We cannot depend upon our senses. In Genesis 27:2, we read, “Behold now, I am old, and I know not the day of my death.” He thought he was about to die. The fact of the matter is, he lived for forty more years. His senses deceived him.
In Genesis 27:20, we further read, “And Isaac said unto his son, ‘How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son?’ Isaac thought the goat meat was venison!
In verses 22 and 23 we read, “And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and he said, ‘The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.’ And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau’s hands.” He thought that goat skin was boy’s hair. He didn’t understand the difference. He thought this was Esau.
In verses 26 and 27 we continue to read, “And his father Isaac said unto him, ‘Come near now, and kiss, me, my son. 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.”‘
I want you to see how deceived Isaac was! Isaac was led by feeling rather than by revelation. Our feelings can deceive us. Did you know all of us have been blinded by sin? We will be deceived if we live in the realm of the five senses. What fools we are when we live in the realm of our senses! Feelings are fickle, and you’ll never get anywhere in the Christian life when you live after the flesh and after your feelings!
The Apostle Paul states in Romans 8:5: “For they that are after the flesh, do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the spirit, the things of the spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”
Isaac wasn’t spiritually minded. He was carnally minded. Some people trust their feelings as to know they are saved. Feelings are not necessarily the result of forgiveness. We don’t depend upon our assurance of your salvation because of the way we feel. Nowhere in the Bible are you told to feel a certain way and know you’re saved. The word “feeling” is only used twice in the entire New Testament! The word “faith” is used over and over and over again! What a foolish decision Isaac made. He said, “The voice! Sounds like Jacob! But the feeling is Esau.” You’d better learn to go by the voice of God rather than by your feelings.
Last, there is the sorrowful brother. Esau comes in to see Isaac. In verse 30 we read:
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. And he also had made savory 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.’ And Isaac his father said unto him, ‘Who art thou?’And he said, ‘I am thy son, thy firstborn Esau.’ And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, ‘Who? Where is he that hath taken venison and brought it to me, and I have eaten of all before thou came, and have blessed him? Yea, and he shall he blessed.’ 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.”‘
Do you know why he was so sorrowful? He didn’t want the spiritual blessing. The Bible says he just despised the birthright. He wanted the material blessings. He was a profane man. The Bible calls him in the Book of Hebrews 12:16, “a profane man.” We read in Hebrews 12:16: “Lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.”
The word “profane” comes from two Latin words, “pro” and “fanum.” The fanum was the holy place, located out in the front of the Temple. It means not having entered into the Temple. We can live a profane life, just living for the things of things of this world. What was the trouble with Esau? Esau was earth-bound! Esau cared for present things, not future things; for material things, not spiritual things! His life ended in misery.
If you had to pick the worst one of this family, you would be hard pressed. Every one of them blew it! We’re wondering what kind of faith Isaac could have had after this, but in the New Testament he’s singled out as an object of faith. In the midst of all of this God just kept on working His plan. God does not change us so that He can love us. He loves us in order to change us. God just loves us just like we are. Thus, God kept loving Isaac’s family. He just kept on pouring His love out on them and kept fulfilling His promise in these people!
We Need To Live Like Isaac And His Faith
God doesn’t need our help on either end. On the one hand, Rebekah and Jacob are trying to make God’s plan come into being! On the other hand, Isaac and Esau are trying to keep it from coming into being! But the plan of God stands sure! In Proverbs 19:21, we read: “There are many devices in a man’s heart. Nevertheless, the counsel of the Lord shall stand.” Isn’t that great? And regardless of the Esaus and the Jacobs, the Rebekahs and the Isaacs, the counsel of the Lord shall stand.
In the Book of Hebrews, it says, “it was by faith, by faith, that Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.” In Genesis 27:33, we learn the realization of the will of God that came to Isaac. It begins to dawn on Isaac finally when Esau comes in and says, “Dad, I’m ready for the blessing,” and Isaac realizes that he blessed Jacob instead. We read, “And Isaac trembled very exceedingly.” Do you know what the “trembling” was? For the first time in a long time, it begins to dawn on Isaac that God is in business here, and that God is overruling all of his plans. He begins to see the hand of God, and he starts to tremble! This is the trembling of conviction! In essence Isaac is saying, “I almost blew it! I was placing myself at cross-purposes with the plan, the will and wisdom of God!” He sees how God in His providence is overruling his willfulness and plans.
We had better tremble, lest we miss the plan of God for our life. Next, there was a resignation to the will of God. In verse 33 again we read, “And Isaac trembled very exceedingly and said, ‘Where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it to me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest?”‘
Notice this: “‘and have blessed him.” Isaac says, “I’m not changing.” As a matter of fact, the Bible says later that Esau, with tears, tried to get his father to change the blessing, but Isaac said, “Whom I have blessed, I have blessed.” He’s moving now into a new dimension! Once he has seen the will of God, he’s saying, “I’m taking my stand on the Word of God, and your tears and your protestations and your pleadings are not going to change me!”
Will you take your stand on the will of God? When God shows You something, will you plant both feet firmly on it and say, “Here I stand! And I shall not, I shall not be moved!” That was the faith of Isaac: a realization of the will of God, a resignation to the will of God. Third, a reliance on the will of God. He didn’t worry about it.
In Genesis 28: 1, we read, “And Isaac called Jacob and blessed him.” What a change there is now. “And charged him, and said unto him, ‘Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people; and give thee the blessing of Abraham, [or give the blessing of Abraham] to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham.'”
What a change there is in Isaac. He has come to his senses! Will you come to your senses? Do you know what he discovered? He discovered a man is a fool who goes against the will of God because it cannot be done. God’s will is not going to be stopped by any of our plans. It’s going to be done. Of course, we can choose to refuse His will. A person can choose to go to Hell if he or she wants to. It’s God’s will that all people go to Heaven if they want to.
However, God has a will, and we are not going to change His will. God will let us have our share of our own free will, but under our free will is God’s overriding will. We ought to take the will of God and stand on it! We should take the will of God and love it because God wants for us what we would want for yourself if you had enough sense to want it. God loves you so much! God’s plan for Esau is rooted in His love. God’s plan for Jacob is rooted in His love. God loves the world! We need to respond by faith.
What is faith? A realization of the will of God, a resignation to the will of God, and a reliance upon the will of God. This is what Isaac did, and he’s listed in the Hall of Fame.
Until The Last Person Has Heard,
Dr. James. O. Davis
Global Church Network
Cochair / Global Networking