Voice of Jacob/Hands of Esau
When the precious son -- in whom lay all the hopes and dreams of the father -- came to his father and requested his inheritance before it was rightly his, the father did not hold back from the request, but gave him his proper portion according to his goods, and let the precious precious son depart as he desired.
The father knew what he would face. He had an idea which way he would go and what voices he would hear. He also knew, even though his precious son was flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone, that the boy would be fooled time and time again by friendly, flattering voices pretending to be out for his good. He knew where he could end up, too. But more than anything, more than anything he feared or imagined, the father looked with everything within him to the day when the son would come back home and gladly call him "father" again.
And surely Isaac was a father who loved his son. And like any father would, he loved his firstborn, Esau, and delighted especially in the savory meat he made. Like another father, Isaac longed after the success of his first son and wanted more than anything to pass on his heritage to him, and was overjoyed at how Esau was such a hunter and a provider, a powerful man at home and successful in the world, a man other men would look up to and long to be like.
It was only natural then that Isaac would follow on with tradition as it always had been, to give the firstborn his due rights as the primary inheritor of his father's goods. Still, this wasn't out of tradition on Isaac's part, since Isaac dearly loved him, too, and desired only infinite blessings on Esau, that Esau might prosper and attain his rightful place in the world and continue the line of Abraham.
Now there had been another father, long in antiquity even to Isaac, and that father had dearly loved his son also, and with tears sought only his son's good. He knew his son would find fulfillment in tending the garden he had put him in, and this father also longed for the success of his son and to eat of the fruit his son would grow in the garden.
Of course this father we are speaking of is God, and the son we are mentioning is Adam, the first man. And further that the delight of God the father is that the man who He made would produce fruit in the garden. The father's whole heart longs to eat of his son's fruit, to know that his son has prospered and his line has continued.
And this is Isaac and Esau. Isaac is the father and Esau is Adam and Isaac longs only for his good and to eat of his fruit -- his savory meat -- to see him accomplish his dreams and know the fulfillment of love and to become himself.
But Esau is also the departed Adam, who has left the garden and wandered by himself in fear, anger and aloneness, doing the bidding of another who has sold him into slavery. And in this capacity Isaac's Esau has no right to the blessing and isn't really capable of receiving it, even though his father so longingly desires to give it all to him. He desires his son in his bosom, and his soul delights only in his son's joy.
But as a man's wife is too often his wisdom also, Rebecca knew it must be Jacob who received the Father's blessing, because Esau could not maintain or apprehend it, and would only bring forth fruit with no substance. This she knew as a mother knows, and not as a schemer and player of favorites, because the Spirit made her know, that the line of Abraham and the Covenant had been appointed to Jacob, and not Esau.
And by the Spirit also, who is not above a bit of cunning to steal us back from the one who stole us in the first place, Rebecca saw her place in the story. If Isaac desired to bless Esau, then Esau he would bless ...
In that regard Rebecca has Jacob go out to the flock to get little ones of the flock to cook and to disguise as wild venison. Jacob is fearful he will be destroyed but he does what his mother says and puts on skins to fool his blind father into thinking he is Esau.
We are beginning to see here one vital point of this story. Christ comes as a surprise miracle out of grace as a gift in every life as we are opened to see it, and Jacob's appearance on the scene is grace again in action, Christ coming into the scene.
When the dish is prepared, Jacob dons the disguise and brings the meat into his father's tent.
(Gen 27:18-29) And he came unto his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I; who art thou, my son?
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.
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.
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.
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.
And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau's hands: so he blessed him.
Here Jacob comes in the identity of his brother Esau. He comes to his father in the garb and skin of the man of the earth, the hunter, who lived by his cunning in the world. Jacob offers his father venison, which isn't really venison, but goat out of the flock cooked as if it were venison.
But Isaac, who so longs to eat Esau's stew and bless his life, isn't convinced this is Esau, and has him come closer. He has to feel him, to verify for certain that this is Esau, before he will eat the stew and give the blessing. So Isaac reaches out his hand.
Esau is a hairy man, and the man Isaac feels is a hairy man. It's the hair of baby goats, but fools Isaac nevertheless. And then Isaac says something strange when considered with the outcome. He says: The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.
And here the story brings us to the center. The father Isaac longs to bless Esau, but is prevented because Esau has given away his birthright and it cannot be given back. The solution is not a scheme for earthly goods but rather to bring forth Christ, who is the only one who can redeem Esau so that he may receive the blessing, so Jacob dons Esau's identity to come to the father and receives Esau's blessing in Esau's stead, in that Esau is received by the father in Jacob, because when the father perceives the outer form of Esau, but hears the voice of Jacob within, then the true father hears the voice of the true son, which is Christ within the identity and as the person of Esau, and Adam is blessed and regenerated in Christ, as the Father sees Christ in us who now wears us as himself. OUR hands are the hands of Esau, but our voice is the voice of Jacob!
And he said, Art thou my very son Esau? And he said, I am.
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.
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:
Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine:
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.
Isaac as the father asks him directly: Are you indeed the actual Esau? And Jacob's reply is certain as well, as the father said to the son on the cross, Are you Adam? Have you become SIN? and Christ eternally answers YES I AM Adam, and I am his sin, too!
Here Isaac holds nothing back, and what he decrees as his blessing is his blessing. It cannot be taken back and it will be fulfilled. That is the nature of a father's blessing, and cannot be lightly thought about.
Jacob in Esau's garb (Christ who has taken our humanity onto Himself) comes before and close to the father. He brings him his slain lamb, and Isaac eats it as the fine venison he loves. He drinks the wine which gladdens his heart in his son, and when he smelled him, he smelled the earth which he loved because he created it and saw it very good, which moved him finally to the blessing, and in the blessing we see it going out to fill both heaven and earth, because Isaac is blessing Jacob in Esau's skin, and the blessing is then to both, Esau who is Adam redeemed and renewed, and Christ the Second and Last Adam, who are both one, the Word made flesh, Christ living in mortal flesh, which is Christ in and as ourselves in our earthen vessels.
We'll leave the story now, because as Christ is the outraying of the divine in every direction, this story of Isaac, Jacob & Esau outrays into every direction, and this little aspect I have mentioned is but this one glimpse. And that glimpse is that in Christ the father's love is fulfilled as He loves us in our humanity, in the life which we are living here and now, because now we walk in him as Christ in heaven and redeemed Adam in earth, so that "as He is in the world, so are we" is fulfilled every moment by means of His outpoured life in us, heaven coming into our earth and filling it with glory and light, and in that heaven every moment the father is continually saying, "This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased."
It is this son, whose hands are the hands of Esau, but whose voice is the voice of Jacob, who received the blessing of the father, outwardly the rough man of the earth, crude in his ways, which we all are, but inwardly Jacob the inheritor of God, the eternal Son, whose Voice alone is heard inside the skin of Esau. It is this twofold man, heaven and earth as one, who is the blessed of God and the carrier of the seed. And such are we in Christ Jesus.
The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau