The Election of God Part Two
By Fred Pruitt
Let us now get to commenting particularly about Esau. It might be a little clearer at this point what we are getting to. Humanly, Esau and Jacob were the same. Neither was more righteous than the other in the eyes of God. Yet even before they were born, the Scripture testifies that God has chosen Jacob and rejected Esau, before either had done anything. (This should be enough to show us that the choosing of God has nothing to do with our behavior, attitudes, ambitions, etc., but solely on the grace or election of God.)
Who is this rejected Esau?
Let’s see. We know that he was a man of the earth, an outdoors man, a great hunter. He was successful at what he did, no doubt admired by everyone. And being the firstborn of twins, he was the legal heir of Isaac, with the firstborn’s “right” to the lion’s share of his father’s legacy. Besides the very abundant temporal riches Isaac had received from Abraham, which by birthright were to be Esau’s, the Seed and the blessing of Abraham* should also have been, by right, Esau’s inheritance. He may have been the favorite of his father, since he was a man’s man, and accomplished and successful in his business in the world. Jacob, however, seemed to be a “mama’s boy,” a plain man, “dwelling in tents” (Gen 27: 27, 28). *“In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Gen 22:18).
Isaac loved Esau and he wanted to give him his inheritance. But Esau had proven himself unworthy of it. He had come in hungry one day from out in the fields, and was so starved he begged his brother Jacob for a bowl of his lentil soup. Jacob, though he wasn’t a hunter, we learn is crafty. So, he offers Esau a deal. If Esau will give him his firstborn rights – this is no small thing – then Jacob will give him a pot of soup. That is the meager value Esau attached to his birthright.
And isn’t this reminiscent of our father Adam, who traded his birthright for a bite of forbidden fruit? For a bowl of soup, Esau has given away his right to the temporal goods passed on from Abraham, and has proven himself, by that act, unworthy of it. And to further drive that nail into that coffin, his father Isaac is tricked into bestowing the blessing of Abraham, also by right Esau’s, upon Jacob, disguised as Esau, and the real Esau winds up second, though he had been first!
But that is not the end of the story. I think this is one of the most remarkable scenes in the Bible when Jacob comes in to Isaac disguised as Esau. If we can think of Isaac in this case is father God, and can think of Esau, as fallen Adam who has lost himself and his way, we can also imagine the unending love the father has for poor lost Adam.
As a father myself, I know how it smote the heart of God, to cast his children out into the wilderness, to fend for themselves, and close the gates of Paradise, preventing their return. As a father myself, I know the great desire to see and want good things for my children. As a father, I know the great heartache I have when I cannot fix their problems.
Therefore, it is easy to understand Isaac; he longed to give Esau his inheritance; he longed to bless him. But just like father Adam, who lost his inheritance the same way, and because of it was also deprived of the blessing which should have been his, to partake of the Tree of Life, Esau was deprived of the blessing, too, though he sought it with “many tears.” Esau, Cain, Ishmael, the flesh monster man, (infected with the spirit of error and completely vain in its imaginings), could never go in.
At this point, this is a tragedy, isn’t it? But God has slipped this little story in here, this odd story of Jacob putting on skins to disguise himself as Esau, to receive his father’s blessing by craftiness, stealing it from Esau.
Frankly, in human terms, this is scandalous, and a great injustice. No wonder Esau was angry. Jacob had taken advantage of him when he was hungry and now he had stolen the only thing he had left, his father’s blessing. But it was more than just scheming Rebecca and Jacob at work here. The Holy Spirit is the author of these stories, as well as the author of the lives of these characters. And it is the work of the Spirit here, that we are to see, rather than some good and evil principles that man can derive for himself out of the stories.
God was demonstrating, through this seemingly deceptive act by Jacob in tricking his father into thinking he was Esau, a far greater principle behind these common human situations, than figuring out the good or evil of them.
In the “good and evil” world, Esau was lost. He had been conned out of his firstborn’s birthright, and deprived of his father’s greatest blessing by Jacob’s treachery. How could his brother betray him like that? What just court would not side with Esau?
But we do not live in the good and evil world! Therefore, our sight is on what the Spirit is doing here, and forgetting for a time the historical Esau and Jacob.
When we leave the good and evil and the historical Jacob and Esau for a time, we are able to see all this in a completely different setting. The Holy Spirit in this little story is demonstrating the miracle of grace, the miracle of salvation, the miracle of redemption, the miracle of reconciliation. Putting aside what Rebecca thought, what Jacob thought, what Isaac thought and what Esau thought, picture this scene.
We have Isaac sitting in his tent, his eyesight is gone, and he’s asked that Esau be sent out to kill some game and bring him some of his venison stew that he loves. He says that after he gets the stew, he is going to give Esau his blessing. He loves that Esau makes this stew from his kills. And Esau is the man at home in the Earth, even as God the Father originally made Adam to be home in the Earth. He longed to eat of the of the fruit of the earth that Esau would bring him and in that he was delighted with his son.
(In the same way, the Father desires to eat of the abundant fruit of the earth from His Son, but Adam lost himself and the divine image retreated, and he had become a different image, and could no longer till the earth for its true fruit, sons and daughters of the Spirit, carrying in them the same divine image that Adam and Eve were in the beginning. When they lost that image, their begetting of the Spirit was lost also, so that they could only bring forth earth children, flesh of flesh, with only dim memories of their past glory.
(It is important to understand the totally qualitative difference between Eden [Delights] and the world into which they were sent out. Because we DO know that world, into which they were sent, since it is our world, too, we see the Garden in a childlike way, sort of like being in a tropical paradise, man and woman frolicking naked, naming animals, eating of all the fruit of the garden, nothing whatsoever forbidden to them, except that one tree … And then afterward we see sort of the same Adam and Eve, thrown out of the world’s best resort, wearing animal skins, dirty faces, sweaty brows, scratching in the cursed earth for their meager survival.
(But what we are to see in this story is of far greater glory than we can imagine. It is of the quality Paul described in 1 Cor 2:9, saying, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” We cannot even imagine the paradise of Adam and Eve, since it was so different from the quality of this world, that we cannot even conceive of it in this world’s terms.
It appears a simple children’s story, and in that appearance, it is hidden from the mind of man. However, Paul goes on to say, “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (1 Cor 2:10). So, it is good for us to see past this children’s story to what the Spirit is telling us, because if we realize the enormity of the fall and even dimly comprehend the total qualitative difference between Eden and our current reality, we begin to realize that there is something far greater at work here than just forgiveness of sins.
(Let me put the point forward that when Adam became the official “First” Adam, that is, after the Garden he became the “natural” man, “earthy, of the earth,” we might also say the same that Peter boldly proclaimed on the Day of Pentecost, that “by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God,” (Acts 2:23), Adam the first was delivered up that Adam the second might appear. And it is the Last Adam who redeems the First Adam. From the foundations of the earth God has had His eye on Adam, knowing his origin, knowing his fall, and finally through what Adam learned and experienced in the fall, knowing his ultimate restored glory, which is even a far greater glory, exceedingly above all we could ask or think, than was the first Paradise.)
Now back to the story.
After a time, someone comes in to Isaac and announces himself to be Esau. To Isaac he doesn’t sound like Esau, but his eyes are so dim he can’t tell. So he asks him to come closer so that he could feel his skin. Esau was a rough hairy man the Scripture says, but Jacob was a smooth man. As we know his mother, Rebecca, put goat skins on his forearms, so that when Isaac felt them, it would feel like it was Esau.
Genesis 27: 21, 22
“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.”
I was on one of our trips in 2007 or 2008 with John. We were finished and headed home. John dropped me off to meet Janis in Nashville, where she had been visiting our daughter, Jessica. While on the trip, all this about Jacob and Esau had been stirring in me. As Janis and I headed north on I-65 back the 200 miles to Louisville, I began to share with her what I was seeing. It had come from my reading of Jacob Boehme’s, “Mysterium Magnum,” his exposition of Genesis. As we rode up the highway, these things were exploding in my spirit and pouring out of my mouth. I began to tell her how I had seen something absolutely amazing in this little scene in Isaac’s tent, with Jacob disguised as Esau, receiving his father’s blessing in Esau’s place. I told her about how much Isaac loved Esau and wanted to give gifts to his precious son and to see him do well. I told her about how tragic it was, that Esau had spurned his birthright, and I told her how it was the same with our first father, Adam. How Esau was as Adam, lost in the world, disinherited, becoming a wild man in the earth. How sad for Esau. How sad for Adam. How sad for Isaac. How sad for the Father!
And then I began to weep when I told her what transpired between Isaac, and Jacob disguised as Esau, how I saw it all, saw everything, saw everything about redemption, everything about the plan of God, when Isaac, after feeling Jacob’s- as-Esau’s arms and smelling Jacob’s-as-Esau’s neck and delighting in the smell of the field and the earth on him.
Dear father Isaac was taken aback at Jacob’s first reply to him, because he expected Esau but it sounded like Jacob. And even when he brought him into himself to touch and smell him, to convince himself that this was indeed Esau, he uttered one of the most glorious sentences ever uttered by man: The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.”
The reason I wept is because I finally saw what the Lord has done in its completion. Well, maybe not everything, but a whole dimension shift for me. I began to weep as I saw how far the Father’s and Son’s love extended, and to what depths the Son went to bring me back into fellowship with Himself and the Father. What had he done? He had – has – donned our identity with which to stand before the Father, and receive the Father’s blessing in Himself in our identity and person, declaring Himself to be ME, and YOU, in the heavenly court of the Father.
He asks us to come forward because He does not recognize our form. While in this life we still wear the form of Cain, of Ishmael, of Esau. It hangs on us as our “outer man,” though it is not the same as it was, because since the new birth it has been under new management. It is now part of those “members” of our humanity that we now recognize as His, given for His use.
Nevertheless, such a rough, earthy crusty exterior, with the ways of the earth hard bound to us, is unfamiliar in the Father’s sight! What we have become is not His original design. He asks who we are. We reply in our own voice, “I am Fred, my Father, and this that I am is all I have to give you.” But the Father hears something different than what we have spoken. Though our form is strange to Him, He hears something wonderful in our voices, because behind each of those individual distinct voices, underneath the rough exterior hide of the earth, He hears a familiar voice, an Eternal Voice, and He smiles and laughs delightedly at the sound of That Voice! The Voice of the Beloved! The beloved Son, who does all His will, has become not just Son of God but also Son of Man! Though man is not inherently “divine,” nevertheless the Father hears the divine voice of the Son coming from this rough form of the earth. “The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau!” Hallelujah!
Do we see what has happened here, what God has revealed in this common story of sibling rivalry and human treachery?
What Esau had lost and could not restore for himself, his birthright and blessing, because he had spurned it and proven himself unworthy of it, God restores to Esau, in Jacob, disguised as Esau! Who was Isaac, in his heart and mind, blessing? To Isaac, until he realized his error, he had given his blessing to Esau. But Jacob had come in and stolen it away from him by craftiness, and in the Genesis story Esau never gets it back, though he still does pretty well for himself in his worldly business.
But our story is not limited to the flesh Esau and the flesh Jacob. In our Spirit story, Jacob disguised as Esau, is as Jesus disguised as us. We could not rescue ourselves from our dilemmas, all of us lost and alone and no hope. And in that condition, having no strength in ourselves to hang on, Another steps in and lifts us, Another steps in and embraces us, Another steps in and becomes strength we do not have. Another steps in, and in my voice, in my form, declares Himself to be “me” before His Father in heaven. And I realize that when seen in this Light, as the Father adores the Son and the Son adores the Father, that the Father wholly sees “me” in the Son and sees no difference between “me” and the One Son, and all I can think is, “This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes!”
This little story encapsulates the whole truth of the grace of God.
We really only have scratched the surface of all this, but we must wrap it up here with this conclusion. As we mentioned above, “And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly!” (1 Cor 15: 49). This is what it is all about. Like Cain, like Ishmael, like Esau, we start out as men of the flesh. We do not know anything else. We all bear the image of the earthly. But what of it? Because as certainly as we have borne the image of the earthly, does it not also plainly say that in the same way we shall bear the image of the heavenly?!
The image of the heavenly is prefigured in Abel, in Isaac, in Jacob, as well as many others until He came, the One Who had created the image, as Christ Jesus. When Jesus came among us and finally completed His mission, the Last Adam was fully revealed in His Life.
Paul again encapsulates it so perfectly:
“And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.” (1 Cor 15: 45-48).
The first Adam was made a living soul. Centered in myself. The last Adam was made a quickening spirit. A river of living water, providing the Lord’s abundance out from himself, out of His own unending abundance within him. This second man is the Lord from heaven.
Well, folks, if you’ll have it, this is us! And it seems like we’re all on schedule!
Again, “This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes.”