Who knows YOU best – your likes and dislikes, hopes and dreams? Is it your spouse, a parent, or one of your children? Maybe a best friend or sibling? My mom lives 2,200 miles away, but she can tell by a phone call if I've had a good day, how I'm feeling physically, or if my spirit is weighed down. My daughters, too, can read me well. They look into my eyes and see the emotions behind them. My husband knows me best of all. After witnessing my best and worst days for over a quarter century, he can forecast my mood, my reactions and my opinions. And 98.9% of the time he gets it right. In fact, after 26+ years of marriage, it's harder and harder to keep the mystery alive. So I try to surprise him. At the ten year mark, I revealed my ability to make homemade caramels (Since caramels are his favorite sweet, he was furious that I waited ten years before revealing this hidden talent). At the fifteen year mark, I told him I loved to visit the zoo. We'd never in our married life been to a zoo. He was astonished…and then he took me to a zoo. I waited until we'd enjoyed twenty years of wedded bliss to illustrate ways I had “managed” him all these years. He was utterly shocked and bristled at my male management techniques. Why? Because to be utterly known is a two-edged sword. We can feel a wonderful sense of security and peace, or we can feel extremely vulnerable to the knower. In today's Scripture, poor Isaac was more vulnerable than he realized.
Gen. 27:14-17 – “So [Jacob] went and got [the two choice young goats] and brought them to his mother, and she prepared some tasty food, just the way his father liked it. Then Rebekah took the best clothes of Esau her older son, which she had in the house, and put them on her younger son Jacob. She also covered his hands and the smooth part of his neck with the goatskins. Then she handed to her son Jacob the tasty food and the bread she had made.”
- Rebekah calculated and anticipated every proof of identification her husband might require of Jacob. She knew Isaac well and used that knowing to deceive him completely. When God grants the gift of relationship, and with it gives this level of knowing, there comes a level of responsibility to guard that knowledge and respect the people God has placed in our lives.
'Yes, my son,' [Isaac] answered. 'Who is it?'
Jacob said to his father, 'I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of my game so that you may give me your blessing.'
Isaac asked his son, 'How did you find it so quickly, my son?'
'The LORD your God gave me success,' he replied.
- Notice Jacob calls Isaac, “My father,” but Isaac replies by asking which son it is. There is no KNOWING of father and son, so Jacob lies easily. On Isaac's second questioning, Jacob includes God in his lie. Was there no quiver in the son's voice? No waiver in his moral bankruptcy? How many years of Jacob's unfulfilled yearning to be known enabled him to stand face-to-face with his blind father and lie in God's presence? A pain so deep is no excuse but perhaps offers an explanation.
Jacob went close to his father Isaac, who touched him and said, 'The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.' He did not recognize him, for his hands were hairy like those of his brother Esau; so he blessed him. 'Are you really my son Esau?' he asked.
'I am,' [Jacob] replied.
Then [Isaac] said, 'My son, bring me some of your game to eat, so that I may give you my blessing.' Jacob brought it to him and he ate; and he brought some wine and he drank. Then his father Isaac said to him, 'Come here, my son, and kiss me.'
So he went to him and kissed him.
When Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, he blessed him and said, 'Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field that the LORD has blessed…” (emphasis known)
- These verses are incredibly revealing. They tell us Rebekah predicted every detail of Jacob's deception perfectly, precisely. Looking deeper, they reveal that Isaac knew his son, Esau, very well – the feel of his hands, his neck, and even his scent. Focusing deeper still, we see that Isaac knew Jacob, too. He recognized his voice – but he couldn't believe the child he named, “heel grasper” or deceiver, would truly deceive him five times. But Jacob did deceive. And the son Isaac thought he knew…he didn't truly know. Sometimes, the people we think we know, we don't really know. The truth is – only God knows the heart 100% of the time. In our humanness, we must simply go with our best instincts.