They had an unshakable belief in the power of words.
When the topic of the power of words comes up, there are many Christians who will scoff and say, “That’s just that Word of Faith nonsense“. The general view seems to be that verses like Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” and Mark 11:23, “Whosoever….shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith“, should not be taken literally and that anyone who does take them literally is either foolish or a heretic. However in this post, I will show that Isaac, his wife Rebekah and their sons Esau and Jacob, did not consider the power of words to be nonsense. Isaac and his family were fully convinced that words carried immense power, they had an unshakable belief in the power of words.
Then he’ll curse me instead of blessing me…….
Let’s read Genesis 27:1-38 from the New Living Translation:
“Yes, Father?” Esau replied.
“I am an old man now,” Isaac said, “and I don’t know when I may die. Take your bow and a quiver full of arrows, and go out into the open country to hunt some wild game for me. Prepare my favorite dish, and bring it here for me to eat. Then I will pronounce the blessing that belongs to you, my firstborn son, before I die.”
But Rebekah overheard what Isaac had said to his son Esau. So when Esau left to hunt for the wild game, she said to her son Jacob, “Listen. I overheard your father say to Esau, ‘Bring me some wild game and prepare me a delicious meal. Then I will bless you in the Lord’s presence before I die.’ Now, my son, listen to me. Do exactly as I tell you. Go out to the flocks, and bring me two fine young goats. I’ll use them to prepare your father’s favorite dish. Then take the food to your father so he can eat it and bless you before he dies.”
“But look,” Jacob replied to Rebekah, “my brother, Esau, is a hairy man, and my skin is smooth. What if my father touches me? He’ll see that I’m trying to trick him, and then he’ll curse me instead of blessing me.”
But his mother replied, “Then let the curse fall on me, my son! Just do what I tell you. Go out and get the goats for me!”
Who are you—Esau or Jacob?
So Jacob went out and got the young goats for his mother. Rebekah took them and prepared a delicious meal, just the way Isaac liked it. Then she took Esau’s favorite clothes, which were there in the house, and gave them to her younger son, Jacob. She covered his arms and the smooth part of his neck with the skin of the young goats. Then she gave Jacob the delicious meal, including freshly baked bread.
So Jacob took the food to his father. “My father?” he said.
“Yes, my son,” Isaac answered. “Who are you—Esau or Jacob?”
Jacob replied, “It’s Esau, your firstborn son. I’ve done as you told me. Here is the wild game. Now sit up and eat it so you can give me your blessing.”
Isaac asked, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?”
“The Lord your God put it in my path!” Jacob replied.
Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come closer so I can touch you and make sure that you really are Esau.” So Jacob went closer to his father, and Isaac touched him. “The voice is Jacob’s, but the hands are Esau’s,” Isaac said. But he did not recognize Jacob, because Jacob’s hands felt hairy just like Esau’s. So Isaac prepared to bless Jacob. “But are you really my son Esau?” he asked.
“Yes, I am,” Jacob replied.
…..then I will give you my blessing.
Then Isaac said, “Now, my son, bring me the wild game. Let me eat it, and then I will give you my blessing.” So Jacob took the food to his father, and Isaac ate it. He also drank the wine that Jacob served him. Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come a little closer and kiss me, my son.”
So Jacob went over and kissed him. And when Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, he was finally convinced, and he blessed his son. He said, “Ah! The smell of my son is like the smell of the outdoors, which the Lord has blessed!
“From the dew of heaven
and the richness of the earth,
may God always give you abundant harvests of grain
and bountiful new wine.
May many nations become your servants,
and may they bow down to you.
May you be the master over your brothers,
and may your mother’s sons bow down to you.
All who curse you will be cursed,
and all who bless you will be blessed.”
Who are you?
As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, and almost before Jacob had left his father, Esau returned from his hunt. Esau prepared a delicious meal and brought it to his father. Then he said, “Sit up, my father, and eat my wild game so you can give me your blessing.”
But Isaac asked him, “Who are you?”
Esau replied, “It’s your son, your firstborn son, Esau.”
Isaac began to tremble uncontrollably and said, “Then who just served me wild game? I have already eaten it, and I blessed him just before you came. And yes, that blessing must stand!”
When Esau heard his father’s words, he let out a loud and bitter cry. “Oh my father, what about me? Bless me, too!” he begged.
But Isaac said, “Your brother was here, and he tricked me. He has taken away your blessing.”
Esau exclaimed, “No wonder his name is Jacob, for now he has cheated me twice. First he took my rights as the firstborn, and now he has stolen my blessing. Oh, haven’t you saved even one blessing for me?”
Isaac said to Esau, “I have made Jacob your master and have declared that all his brothers will be his servants. I have guaranteed him an abundance of grain and wine—what is left for me to give you, my son?”
Esau pleaded, “But do you have only one blessing? Oh my father, bless me, too!” Then Esau broke down and wept.
Isaac too knew that he couldn’t just take back what he had said.
This is a much longer scripture quotation than I normally use, and so I will write less than I would normally write – but this does not need an in depth explanation. Everything that occurred in the passage above, occurred because everyone involved had no doubt that words carried power. All of Rebekah and Jacob’s deceit was because they knew just how important the words of blessing that Isaac would speak were. Isaac too knew that he couldn’t just take back what he had said, he had released words full of power, and he could not do anything to change that. And Esau too realised that it was too late – that he had missed his chance to receive his father’s words of blessing.
If it’s God will for you to become His chosen people, then it will happen.
If Isaac and his family had had the attitude towards the power of words that many Christians have today, this whole event would simply not have occurred. Rebekah would have just said to Jacob, “Well my son, if it’s God will for you to become His chosen people, then it will happen – even if Esau is the firstborn. Nothing your father or I say can change that“. But Rebekah knew full that if she didn’t act, the blessing would go to Esau and not to Jacob. Isaac, Rebekah, Esau and Jacob would find it very hard to understand the Church’s dismissive attitude towards the power of words.
If you have any further questions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.
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