A few years ago a Syrian lorry driver boarded his truck in Turkey and set out for Gibraltar. Like most drivers in the twenty-first century, he typed his destination into his satnav, and set off. Sometime later he found himself at Gibraltar Point in Skegness, sixteen hundred miles away from his intended destination on the rock of Gibraltar.
No doubt the said lorry driver will look back on the escapade with a smile in years to come, but it is hard to believe that he or his employers saw the funny side when he landed in Yorkshire.
Confusion over destinations is not restricted to Middle Eastern lorry drivers. It’s been known to cause many a domestic argument. “Where are we going?” and “Where should we be going?” are questions that reach far beyond the route to a delivery destination or holiday location.
In Genesis 27 the events that unfold in the lives of Isaac. Rebekah, Esau and Jacob, might best be understood if we asked “Where were they going?” and “Where should they have been going?” The deception and ensuing disappointment that worked its way out in the events surrounding the passing on of Isaac’s blessing, had their roots in Isaac’s loss of direction.
Genesis 25.28 records: “Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob” and therein lay a wrong turn on the road to a faithfully fulfilled calling.
The psychological consequences of his favouritism would have been devastating enough in themselves. What made his favouritism even more damaging, was that Isaac was walking a path that was going in the opposite direction to the route God had given to him and Rebekah. Verse 23 of Genesis 25 reveals that God had made it very clear that Jacob not Esau would inherit the blessing.
If you want to keep on track with God’s purpose for your life or for His church, staying connected to your prophetic destiny is crucial. What does that mean? In another generation it would have been described in terms of obedience to the revealed will of God. Isaac somehow became disconnected from what God had spoken about his family.
The “taste for wild game” played a big part in this. This theme dominates the whole of chapter 27. Isaac thinks he is dying and he wants a meal of wild game before he dies. That takes Esau away from the scene and gives Rebekah and Jacob opportunity to execute their strategy – actually it was Rebekah’s strategy. That strategy involves trying to substitute the wild game with a goat. And then Esau, too late, returns. Isaac’s unbridled taste for wild game has led his family into permanent breakdown and division. It never was the same again.
When we lose our sense of God speaking, when we disconnect from His revelation, we end up in the flesh. In the New Testament, the church at Galatia did just that.The mind governed by the flesh, says Paul, in Romans 8.6, is death. Allowing the flesh to lead us doesn’t just bring pain on ourselves, it brings pain to those around us.
Eventually, Isaac reconnects with God’s purpose. In Genesis 28, he finally acknowledges that God’s hand is on Jacob and sends him off with his blessing.
God’s promise is that He will get us there in the end (Philippians 1.6). Whether that’s by way of a spiritual detour or not is largely up to us.