This chapter contains the well-known story of Jacob’s deception of his father Isaac. It is important to note the elements of the story, and to recall Jacob’s previously cunning acquisition of the birthright, for Jacob is here sowing very bad seed that would yield a bitter crop in due time. There is a real law of cause and effect operating not only in the physical universe but also in the moral universe. What you sow, that you shall reap (Galatians 6:7 Galatians 6:7Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap.
American King James Version×).
Recall that Jacob obtained the birthright through a cunning business transaction. Later, however, Jacob meets his match when he becomes entangled with the even more cunning Laban, who outwits or takes advantage of Jacob at every turn for the better part of 20 years. Here, Jacob deceives his blind father with a slain goat and a special coat. Later, Jacob is deceived by Laban when he is “blinded” by the darkness of his wedding tent, and by his own sons who counterfeit the death of Jacob’s beloved Joseph by using the blood of a slain goat and Joseph’s special coat. Indeed, for more than 20 years, Jacob will believe the terrible lie concocted by his own sons—that his dearly loved son is dead. Notice also Rebekah’s fateful words: “Let your curse be on me.” Indeed, she would be cursed—for just as Isaac could not see his son, so Rebekah would never again see her beloved Jacob after he left for Padan Aram. For before Jacob’s return some 20 years later, Rebekah would die.
Beware: Reaping what you sow is a very real spiritual principle. And just as God did not completely remove the bitterness of the crop Jacob was to reap—even though Jacob finally repented and became converted—so God will not completely remove the bitterness of the crop you sow. The spiritual effects of your bad actions may be forgiven, but in the flesh there will still be consequences. “Behold…the goodness and severity of God” (Romans 11:22 Romans 11:22Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in his goodness: otherwise you also shall be cut off.
American King James Version×, KJV). Just as God allowed Jacob to reap hardship and live a bitter life in order to help purge his character, so God will do with you in many respects. God is not mocked. Sow good seed—and reap the same. Sow bad seed—and reap the same as well!
After Jacob obtained the blessing by deception, Isaac and Rebekah sent him to Padan Aram, primarily to get him away from the wrathful Esau, but also to find him a wife from one of the daughters of Laban, Rebekah’s brother.