Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come near so I can touch you, my son, to know whether you really are my son Esau or not.”
Jacob wasn’t expecting to get his father’s blessing. His mother persuaded him that dressing up like his hairy brother and serving the meal to his father to get the blessing was a great idea. Isaac was old and his senses were failing. It was risky, but Jacob believed he could pull it off.
When someone has a plan all figured out, he doesn’t want anyone messing with his plan. He doesn’t want surprises. I’ve felt this way recently when I planned out how to get a couple hours of errands done. However, my husband wanted to help out before the day was finished. When he took on some of the tasks I had delegated to my kids, I knew it wasn’t likely that all of my plans were going to be accomplished. I really enjoyed being with my husband, but that surprise, as wonderful as it was, meant that I’d have to reassign some tasks for the next day. Even though my plans were all messed up, my unexpected blessing was spending a little more time with my hunky husband.
Isaac had planned to give Esau his blessing, but when Jacob showed up instead, Isaac hesitated. Isaac expected Esau, but he heard Jacob’s voice. He asked the boy to come close so he could touch him just to make sure. I can imagine Isaac was trying to decide if his hearing was about to go out as well. He knew something wasn’t right, but he went ahead and gave the blessing.
When Esau finally came in to give his father the meal and receive his blessing, his father asked who he was. Not a good sign.
Isaac’s plan had been messed up. Jacob had to leave the area immediately to flee from his brother’s wrath. But he’d been blessed by his father in a way that left no room for Esau in that blessing. When you read places in the Bible like Exodus 4:5 (“This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.”), you don’t read Esau’s name, but Jacob’s.
I wonder if God messes up our plans to give us an unexpected blessing.