The end doesn’t justify the means | Genesis 27

October 14, 2021

Book: Genesis

Scripture: Genesis 27:1-46


We all have great dreams and ambitions in life. In the process of chasing our desires, we are always faced with the choice of reaching there in God’s way, God’s time, and God’s principle or achieving it by devious methods. Many times, people reason out that as long as our end is for a purpose or justified, I can do what I want to achieve my goal.

Open your Bible to Genesis 27. I want to take a closer look at Isaac’s home. One glance at the home concludes that this was a dysfunctional family, a home that is not biblical in its principles, roles, relationships, and responsibilities. What you see at the beginning of this chapter is a family that, while not working very well, at least is staying together. By the end of the chapter, the family has been blown apart once and for all.

Let’s take a closer look at the personalities of this home.

1. Isaac – An irresponsible husband & father of the family.

A father is responsible for his home; therefore, a biblically functional family begins with a husband, father, who performs all the roles and responsibilities outlined in the Scriptures. He is to be a provider, a protector, and a priest, living a godly life before his children.

An example of this is seen in Abraham.

Genesis 18:19

For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.

As we look at Isaac in this passage, it is clear that he is neglecting his responsibility. The story begins with Isaac who is old and about to die. He wants to ensure that before he dies Esau obtains the blessing. Now old and frail, Isaac’s sight is failing. He calls for Esau and sends him out to hunt some wild game for him.

Genesis 27:4

Prepare me the kind of tasty food I like and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my blessing before I die.

In spite of God’s instruction concerning Jacob’s position over Esau; in spite of Esau’s indifference to his spiritual heritage and him selling his birthright to Jacob; Isaac is determined to give the blessing to Esau! Isaac is living in denial of both the Word of God and the will of God. Now he plans to give Esau the blessing in deliberate defiance of God’s will. Here, the two sons are competing for the same blessing, all because of the failure of Isaac!

Isaac conspires in secret with Esau to hide his plan from Rebekah and Jacob. He wants his favorite son to have the blessing, and if he has to connive to make it happen, that’s exactly what he will do. If he has to deceive his wife and his other son, then so be it. Secondly, if he has to disobey God that is what he will do.

Thirdly, Isaac has declined spiritually now. It is evident that he has walked away from God in his later years. The younger Isaac was quick to seek the Lord and intercede for his wife and home. Here we find a once godly husband and father, but now behaving very irresponsibly.

2. Rebekah – A Manipulative Mother of the family.

You see, Isaac’s intention to bless Esau was not something he shared with his wife, Rebekah. Why? He knew that she would have a problem with it! This is a house divided! Because Isaac favored Esau and Rebekah favored Jacob, there grew a great wall of indifference and secrecy between the two. Rebekah happened to overhear the conversation between Isaac and Esau.

Parents, if you are not careful, children will divide and conquer. They know how to pit one parent against the other, so that they are free to do as they please! They know which parent to ask certain favors when the other is not around. Fathers and mothers need to always be on the same page, talking together, praying together, working together for the good of the children.

Gaining this bit of information, Rebekah had some options. Even though Jacob was her favorite, she still had the weight of God’s Word behind her that the older would serve the younger. This was God’s Word and will. She could confront her husband Isaac about his decision to bless Esau. Or She could have asked the Lord for wisdom and help. As a younger woman, she sought wisdom from God in prayer and the Lord was gracious to give her insight into her situation.

James 1:5

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Rebekah had so many options. This is what Abigail did concerning her husband, and the Lord took care of Nabal! The Lord could have caused Isaac to experience a change of heart. Is anything too hard for the Lord? Listen, God has a thousand ways to answer every prayer! You don’t have to manipulate.

Instead, Rebekah immediately begins to plot and scheme to get her way. She asks Jacob to go get two young goats so that she can make a meal. Jacob can then take the food to Isaac and get his blessing. In doing so, she mis-uses her parental influence and authority.

Genesis 27:8

Now, my son, listen carefully and do what I tell you: Here Rebekah puts Jacob in a difficult situation. He is faced with obeying his mother or obeying God; pleasing his mother or pleasing God. This is a tough place to be! Several times in this passage, Rebekah uses the word, “obey.”

Genesis 25:13

His mother said to him, “My son, let the curse fall on me. Just do what I say; go and get them for me.”

Clearly Rebekah is the dominant leader in this family. Rebekah is strong, resourceful, decisive, and cunning. She is the prime mover in this story and in the family as well. It appears that Isaac has abdicated his position of spiritual leadership to his wife either because of Rebecca’s dominance or Isaac’s inability.

Who thought of the deception? Rebekah. Who said, “Go get the food”? Rebekah. Who said, “Put on this goatskin”? Rebekah. Who said, “Let the blame fall on me”? Rebekah. Who said, “Leave home till Esau cools off”? Rebekah. At every point, she is in charge. She always has an answer for every question and a solution for every problem. Here we find a manipulative mother.

3. Jacob – The unprincipled believer in the family.

Now, Jacob is weak, offering no resistance to his mother’s plan, except the fearful prospect of being found out.

Genesis 27:11-12

11 Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, “But my brother Esau is a hairy man while I have smooth skin.12 What if my father touches me? I would appear to be tricking him and would bring down a curse on myself rather than a blessing.”

We can see here that Jacob is not operating on principle. Nowhere does he say, “This is not right. This is deceit. We are not to bear a false witness. I would have to lie to my father.” Willingly, Jacob becomes part of a conspiracy and lies to his father more than once.

We are to operate by principle, what is right according to the Word of God. We are never to operate by expediency, what the situation seems to demand; we are never to be driven by urgency, acting solely on the basis of time, the pressure of some deadline; we are never to decide upon what others in authority expect of us. It doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing. The criteria for our decisions and conduct is what is right in God’s eyes. We are to be a people of principle. It is never right to do wrong for the right means. The end does not justify the means.

I think Jacob said to himself, “God wants me to have the blessing, so if I have to cheat a little bit to get it, that’s all right. God will understand.” Jacob is wrong. Jacob got what God wanted him to have, but God did not approve his means to get what he wanted. It was never right.

Jacob attempts to back up his unprincipled behavior by including God.

Genesis 27:19-20

19Jacob 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.” 20Isaac asked his son, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?” “The Lord your God gave me success,” he replied.

It is so easy to call our will, God’s will. We push others away by including the name of God to cover our actions! Here we find a believer but an absolutely unprincipled believer.

4. Esau – The losing, sinful man in the family.

After Isaac finished blessing Jacob, the real Esau came in and Jacob said:

Genesis 27:33-35

33 Isaac trembled violently and said, “Who was it, then, that hunted game and brought it to me? I ate it just before you came and I blessed him—and indeed he will be blessed!” 34 When Esau heard his father’s words, he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, “Bless me—me too, my father!” 35 But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully and took your blessing.”

It is a strange sight to see such a strong man weep like a baby. Esau begs his father for a blessing. This is a sad and tragic moment in the life of Esau, but we must remember that he is suffering the consequences of his own decisions and actions. He willingly sold his birthright to his brother for a bowl of stew. Now, suddenly Esau is living for more than the present. His father’s blessing means something to him, but it is too late. Two facts hit Isaac immediately: Jacob had deceived him and he could not bless his favorite son. Once the blessing was given, it had the force of a legal contract, and could not be revoked.

Esau attempts to seek sympathy and excuse his actions by placing blame on Jacob.

Genesis 27:36

Esau said, “Isn’t he rightly named Jacob? This is the second time he has taken advantage of me: He took my birthright, and now he’s taken my blessing!” Then he asked, “Haven’t you reserved any blessing for me?”

Esau has a short memory. He has forgotten his own part in selling his birthright. We can blame others for our sin, we can rewrite history, but God knows all and sees all. He is the final judge.

Isaac does not attempt to reverse himself. Perhaps he is convicted and has finally surrendered to what was the plan and purpose of God all along!

Genesis 27:37

Isaac answered Esau, “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?”

There are consequences to sin. When we are rebellious and disobedient, we lose something irretrievable.

Hebrews 12:17

Afterward, as you know, when he (Esau) wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done. Now the full weight of what has happened hits Esau. We don’t have to feel sorry for Esau, because he caused this problem. If he had properly controlled his senses and valued the birthright, Jacob could never have tricked him out of it.

Because of his complacency, God hated Esau.

Romans 9:13

Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.

Genesis 27:41

Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.” Soon, Rebekah comes back into the picture and continues her manipulation.

5. Rebekah’s second manipulation.

At this point Rebekah steps back into the picture. She tells Jacob to run for his life because Esau will kill him. She advises him to visit his uncle (her brother) Laban in Haran (about 800 KM away). Eventually Esau’s anger would cool and Rebekah would send a message to Jacob to come home.

Momma knew her boys, didn’t she? She knew that Esau had a mercurial temper, but that his anger would fade as quickly as it came. Esau wouldn’t keep grudges. He was quick to be angry and also quick to forgive. Rebekah thought Jacob would return home in a few weeks or months. Little did she know that Jacob would stay with his uncle Laban for 20 long years. But that’s another story.

One final detail of Rebekah’s manipulation. She has to find a way to justify sending Jacob to Haran, so she tells Isaac that she wants Jacob to find a wife from among their own people, and not from among the pagan Hittites. In fact, she’s giving Isaac a cover story. She manipulates Isaac again and Isaac agrees, calling Jacob to his side, blesses him and sends him off to Haran.

6. Disintegration.

Now Jacob has what he wanted all along, but he obtained it through fraudulent means. He will pay a heavy price and suffer his own set of consequences. He flees his home in fear for his life. It cost him his own family. He is penniless, homeless and is fleeing for his life. He is estranged from his twin brother and he has humiliated his father. As far as we know, he never saw his mother Rebekah again. Because Jacob left and Esau stayed home, Jacob forfeited all the material prosperity that would have been his through his inheritance from Isaac. He got what he wanted but in fact he lost everything now.

What you have is a family that in the beginning is barely holding together. In the end the family collapses under the weight of deception and dishonesty. What do we take back from this story as a whole?

Truths from Isaac’s family.

  • A Dysfunctional family is a broken family.

Symptoms of a Dysfunctional family.

  • Estrangement.

Family members who avoid other family members.

  • Anger.

It is either expressed or repressed.

  • Lack of Trust.

Seen in faulty patterns of communication.

  • Deception.

Inability to speak the truth to other family members.

  • Unhealthy Secrecy.

Refusal to face the truth.

  • There are consequences to sin.

  • The end doesn’t justify the means!

What are you willing to trade in life in order to get what you want? Your family? friends? career? children? purity? integrity? What kind of deal are you willing to make in order to force God’s hand? Remember, there are no shortcuts with God. Every shortcut turns out to be a dead-end street. Those who take short-cuts end up wandering aimlessly through life.

God doesn’t need Jacob’s help or Rebekah’s either. If God wants to, he can work a miracle. God has a million ways of accomplishing his purposes on earth. But when we interfere, when we try to “help” God out, we only mess things up. The ironic truth is that whenever we try to “help” God out, we may in fact get whatever it was we wanted, but the price will be too high.

  • Manipulators divide families.

  • There are no shortcuts for blessings.

If you force God’s blessings on you, you will lose it all. Those who impatiently try to force God’s hand may get what they want but, in the process, they will lose everything of value in life. Write it down in big letters: God doesn’t need your help to fulfill his will in your life. That’s the number-one lesson of this story. If he wants to give a blessing, he can give it and if he wants to elevate you, he can do it. If he wants to raise you up to a position of great power, he can do it.


Jacob is a blessed man with plenty of baggage. The good news in Jacob’s life is that dysfunctional people from dysfunctional families can become functional in God’s kingdom. When we turn fully to the Lord and His grace, He can rid us of our baggage, transforming a sinful past into a source of blessing and ministry. If God can use Jacob, He can use us.