A Daily Dose of Good News
Friday, July 3, 2020
When Isaac was old and his eyes were dim so that he could not see, he called his elder son Esau and said to him, “My son”; and he answered, “Here I am.” He said, “See, I am old; I do not know the day of my death. Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field, and hunt game for me. Then prepare for me savory food, such as I like, and bring it to me to eat, so that I may bless you before I die.”
Now Rebekah was listening when Isaac spoke to his son Esau. So when Esau went to the field to hunt for game and bring it, Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “I heard your father say to your brother Esau, ‘Bring me game, and prepare for me savory food to eat, that I may bless you before the Lord before I die.’ Now therefore, my son, obey my word as I command you. Go to the flock, and get me two choice kids, so that I may prepare from them savory food for your father, such as he likes; and you shall take it to your father to eat, so that he may bless you before he dies.” But Jacob said to his mother Rebekah, “Look, my brother Esau is a hairy man, and I am a man of smooth skin. Perhaps my father will feel me, and I shall seem to be mocking him, and bring a curse on myself and not a blessing.” His mother said to him, “Let your curse be on me, my son; only obey my word, and go, get them for me.” So he went and got them and brought them to his mother; and his mother prepared savory food, such as his father loved. Then Rebekah took the best garments of her elder son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them on her younger son Jacob; and she put the skins of the kids on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck. Then she handed the savory food, and the bread that she had prepared, to her son Jacob.
So he went in to his father, and said, “My father”; and he said, “Here I am; who are you, my son?” Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me; now sit up and eat of my game, so that you may bless me.” But Isaac said to his son, “How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son?” He answered, “Because the Lord your God granted me success.” Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come near, that I may feel you, my son, to know whether you are really my son Esau or not.” So Jacob went up to his father Isaac, who felt him and said, “The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” He did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s hands; so he blessed him. He said, “Are you really my son Esau?” He answered, “I am.” Then he said, “Bring it to me, that I may eat of my son’s game and bless you.” So he brought it to him, and he ate; and he brought him wine, and he drank. Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come near and kiss me, my son.” So he came near and kissed him; and he smelled the smell of his garments, and blessed him, and said,
“Ah, the smell of my son
is like the smell of a field that the Lord has blessed.
May God give you of the dew of heaven,
and of the fatness of the earth,
and plenty of grain and wine.
Let peoples serve you,
and nations bow down to you.
Be lord over your brothers,
and may your mother’s sons bow down to you.
Cursed be everyone who curses you,
and blessed be everyone who blesses you!”
Just look at all the scoundrels
In this epic Old Testament story
About the progression of God’s blessing
That begins with the family of Abraham and Sarah
For the sake of blessing all nations.
And although they had been pagan worshippers
And barren to the age of 100 years old,
God kept the promise of blessing through them.
And God even kept that promise to Abraham and Sarah
Despite their best effort at hedging their bets on God’s faithfulness.
When still they were having trouble conceiving,
They decided Abraham should have a child with his concubine Hagar.
But God had promised to blessed Abraham and Sarah
With the next generation of blessing.
When sure enough God keeps that promise with the blessing
Through Abraham and Sarah’s son Isaac
And his half-brother Ishmael was sent packing.
Then today we have the story of God’s blessing
Passing to the next generation of Isaac and Rebekah.
And it is a story filled with scoundrels.
Isaac now old and blind
Sends out his oldest and favorite son Esau
To hunt for game that they might eat
At the feast when God’s blessing would pass
From one generation to the next.
Yet when Rebekah heard about the plan
She devised a counter offensive by which God’s blessing
Would pass from Isaac to her favorite son Jacob … scoundrel that she is.
While Esau was away hunting for game
Rebekah would prepare a savory feast that Jacob would share with Isaac
And give him clothes that smelled like Esau
And put wool on his hands and neck to feel like Esau
So that Isaac might think God’s blessing was really passing to Esau.
And Jacob, the scoundrel, jumped at the opportunity
To dupe his dad out of Esau’s blessing
The way he’d already duped a famished older brother Esau out of his birthrite
When sometime before the scoundrel Esau impulsively and irresponsibly
Exchanged that birthrite for a plate of food Jacob had prepared.
So Jacob carried the feast into his old and blind father, claiming to be Esau …
Which Isaac, the scoundrel, chose to believe,
Ignoring the voice sounded like Jacob
And settling for the smell and the arms that seemed like Esau
And God’s promise of blessing passed from Isaac to Jacob
Even among the scoundrels God had to work with.
As from the very beginning
God’s promise of blessing is God’s work and God’s alone.
All the way through Joseph next
And later Jesse and David
Right up to Joseph and Jesus
Through whom God keeps the promise of blessing
For all people always in his suffering, death, resurrection and ascension,
With the God’s promise of blessing now for generation after generation
Progressing through Jesus himself.
For if you’ll remember at a feast of his own on the night before he died
Jesus invited his own betraying, denying,
Tax-collecting, self-minded scoundrel friends
To receive God’s promise of blessing through him
And his presence in with and under bread and wine
Every time they would eat it again in remembrance of him.
God’s promise of blessing that is God’s work and God’s alone.
Scoundrels like us are merely the beneficiaries.
And boy are we ready
for God to keep the promise of blessing among us this Sunday
When I preside again as Christ at the table
While wearing a white baptismal robe
to veil my own scoundrel self beneath
And with scoundrels like you
Receive the real presence of Christ in the bread and wine,
Eating and drinking by faith
Both at church and at home if you let me know that you’d like to receive.
The promise of blessing relies nothing on me and nothing on you
But solely on God made the promise in the beginning
And has kept the promise throughout the eons
For the sake of blessing scoundrels through scoundrels like us.