“By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future” ( Hebrews 11:20 )
Isaac acted in faith by pronouncing blessings on both of his sons. He looked far into the future and spoke about what would be. Jacob received a favorable blessing ( Genesis 27:27-29 ) while Esau received what he deserved ( Genesis 27:39-40 ). Although Esau was the first born son, Jacob was the one who rightfully received the blessing as first born. Isaac, by faith, gave Jacob what was rightfully his.
When Rebekah was pregnant with twins, she inquired of the Lord because the babies jostled within her. Before the twins were born, the Lord had spoke concerning them. God told Rebekah, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger” ( Genesis 25:23 ).
As life unfolded, Esau chose to sell his birthright as the firstborn son to Jacob for a bowl of stew. He came in famished from the field and agreed to sell it in exchange for food ( Genesis 25:29-34 ).
Hebrews 12:16 calls Esau godless and sacrilegious. Selling his birthright for a single meal shows how he disregarded and despised it. Then when it mattered, when the blessing was to be passed down, he wanted to regain his inheritance but was rejected.
When the time came and Isaac was going to bless Esau, Rebekah remembered what the Lord told her about the twins and encouraged Jacob, who rightfully possessed the birthright after Esau sold it to him, to obtain his father’s blessing. Jacob prepared a meal, dressed as Esau and went before his father and Isaac blessed him ( Genesis 27 ).
When Esau found out, there was pleading and many tears but Isaac replied to him, “I have made him lord over you and have made all his relatives his servants, and I have sustained him with grain and new wine. So what can I possibly do for you, my son?” ( Genesis 27:37 ). Isaac abided by his blessing. He did not go back on his word which confirmed the word the Lord spoke to Rebekah when pregnant with the twins. He also confirmed that the birthright rightfully belonged to Jacob.
Isaac then blessed Esau saying, “Your dwelling will be away from the earth’s richness, away from the dew of heaven above. You will live by the sword and you will serve your brother. But when you grow restless, you will throw his yoke from off your neck” ( Genesis 27:39-40 ).
After this happened Esau was enraged and vowed to kill Jacob who fled at his mother’s request. The amazing thing is that God then confirmed this blessing to Jacob by calling himself the God of Abraham and Isaac, then He confirmed an oath to Jacob similar to that which Abraham enjoyed, “There above it stood the LORD, and he said: “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you” ( Genesis 28:13-15 ). God confirmed that what Jacob did in obtaining his birthright was righteous.
By faith, Isaac looked into the future and pronounced blessing on both of his sons. To Jacob he pronounced blessing, favor and that the nations of the world would serve him ( Genesis 27:27-29 ). To Esau he pronounced strife and hardship for generations to come ( Genesis 27:39-40 ). And both came to pass just as he said ( Malachi 1:3; Romans 9:13 ).