The Dew of Heaven and the Fatness of the Earth
Introduction: Here we have this story of deceit and intrigue which God has given to us to see pictures of His Son who came in the form of a man. The symbolism we’ll see in today’s sermon is astonishingly beautiful and wonderfully woven into the unfolding plan of God.
Simple and obscure words which seem to have no relevance except tying sentences together turn out to make astonishing parallels in the life of Jesus and in His interactions with those around Him. Not a word is given by God which doesn’t have an important purpose and so we need to handle His word carefully and prayerfully.
Text Verse: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,… Ephesians 1:3
The blessings of God have come upon a specific line of people, even from the very beginning of man’s history on earth. All of these blessings have had the purpose of leading to the Messiah, the Christ of God who is Jesus. God has given us a choice of participating in them or being eternally separated from them.
Either way, whether we receive them or not, we will bow to the One from whom they flow. Every tongue will confess His glory and Lordship and so… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.
I. Jacob’s Voice, Esau’s Hands
Our story continues on today in the tent of Isaac as he prepares to pronounce his blessing. May our eyes be opened to the beautiful pictures which this story continues to display.
21 Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come near, that I may feel you, my son, whether you are really my son Esau or not.”
What we have to keep in mind is something that I brought up in a sermon in Genesis 25 where Esau sold his birthright to Jacob. At that time, I made the connection between Esau and Adam and Jacob and Jesus. It was very clear and if you missed that sermon, it would help for you to go watch it.
I mentioned it again last week too and showed that Isaac’s blindness, and yet his ability to hear well and to still taste food all worked to tie the story in as a picture of Jesus. The blindness allowed for Jacob to receive the blessing, which otherwise would not have happened.
The healthy taste buds made Isaac send Esau out for wild game instead getting a meal from the flock. If his taste buds were bad, there never would have been time for Jacob to obtain the blessing.
And the good hearing brought about Isaac’s distrust of the situation and so he physically is asking to feel his son to ensure he is suitable for the blessing. This is a picture of Jesus coming as a person to replace Adam, just as Jacob is replacing Esau.
The test of feeling Jacob pictures the truth of Jesus’ human nature. All of this was planned by God to show us the story of Jesus. As I say, time and again, we need to ask questions when we read the Bible. Why is this story recorded? How does this point to Jesus? What does God intend for us to see?
These are real people and real stories of their lives, and yet they only account for a miniscule portion of what they did in those lives. God has selected these things in hopes that we will open our eyes and see His Son, not in a one for one comparison, but in the overall picture of the story.
Isaac wants to ensure that it is Esau he is speaking to. He’s already wondered how the food was obtained so quickly. He probably figured, “Well, it’s 8 am and I’ll be hungry around 12:30. Esau will have to find the animal, shoot it, carry it home, cut it up, and cook it.”
Instead though, lunch is ready and it’s only 10:45… “Hmmm, I’m not even hungry yet. How did he get the food so fast?” And so he is curious. He even felt him to make sure he was hairy. What is the connection to Jesus? The answer is found in Hebrews chapter 2 –
Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted. (14-18)
Isaac is checking to determine if this is really his son Esau. Esau pictures Adam who is a fallen man of the earth. His hair, as I already noted last week, has the biblical symbolism of awareness and in particular, an awareness of sin; of our fallen state.
The book of Hebrews says that Jesus had to be made like His brethren and that He himself has suffered, being tempted. The symbolism of Isaac feeling Jacob is realized in the humanity of Jesus. He had hair like Adam, He had flesh like Adam, and yet to Him belongs the birthright and the blessing, just like Jacob.
Isaac wanted to know if this was really his son or not, and we need to know that Jesus really is the Son of Man.
22 So Jacob went near to Isaac his father, and he felt him and said, “The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.”
Of course God the Father knows God the Son, but the picture is as clear as it could be. The sweet heavenly voice of the Lord, the voice that spoke the universe into existence, is concealed in the body of a Man and with the hands of Adam.
The divine Word of God of course is the voice of the Lord, but the hands are the hands of Adam. The picture one sees in this verse is as clear as crystal when you know who Jesus Christ is.
Jacob went near his father boldly to show him that he in fact met the requirements of the blessing. Jesus is no different. He came forward in the flesh in order to receive the blessing of promise which He Himself had spoken to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
It all begins with Jesus and it all belongs to Him. In this verse it says that Isaac felt Jacob, but it focuses on his hands. They’re noted as the confirmation of the person. In the same way, Jesus’ hands are universally thought of as the confirmation of His manhood and His act upon the cross. John 20 shows us this very clearly –
So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” 26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
It is Thomas, the Twin, who confirms Jesus’ crucifixion, resurrection, and humanity. All of this is pictured in the twins Jacob and Esau. If you remember, the word used to describe them is thaom, meaning twin, from which we get the name Thomas.
Jesus picked His disciples by name and each name has relevance to His work – and we see it prefigured here in Genesis. How can we not believe that this is the word of God when it is so intricately woven together for us? The perfection of the Bible is astonishing.
Hebrews chapter 9 continues with the fulfillment of the symbolism we see in Jacob coming to his father –
11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
Notice how the author of Hebrews says that the more perfect tabernacle was not made with hands. And yet, Jesus went behind the veil with His own blood, presenting His hands!
The voice of Jesus speaks, “I really am a man and I really shed my blood – see my hands.” Isaac is determining if it is Esau who is in fact Jacob just as God the Father confirms Jesus has replaced Adam. The voice and the hands – the power of the word and the beauty of the Lord!
23 And he did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s hands; so he blessed him.
The two are indistinguishable – Esau and Jacob, Adam and Jesus. Jacob came in Esau’s likeness and Jesus came in Adam’s likeness. Again, let’s see the confirmation which is given in the New Testament –
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— 2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 1 John 1:1, 2
Isaac could have given the blessing to Esau at any time in his life and as we know from last week, Esau is now 77 and Isaac is 136. The blessing came at a time when Isaac was so old that he simply couldn’t tell the difference. Had he given the blessing at an earlier stage of life, this never would have happened.
But so that we could see the symbolism that Jesus is a physical replica of Adam, it came at a time when no difference could be discerned. The wisdom of God is written all over the account of an old man, blind and bedridden. And so the blessing is granted.
24 Then he said, “Are you really my son Esau?” He said, “I am.”
Isaac is still wondering if he’s doing the right thing and so he asks one more time if it is really Esau. The stress on whether it is Esau has been brought to focus now at least five times and he has mentioned the name Esau three times. This is connecting us back to Genesis 1:26 which states –
“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…”
Esau means “made” and man was “made” or asah according to Genesis 1 in God’s image. The story is continually bringing to mind the connection between Jacob resembling Esau, and Jesus resembling the man made from the dust – Adam.
Nothing could be clearer and provides the surety that we need, even from the Old Testament, that Jesus is the divine Son of God who came in human flesh. Beautifully intricate and glorious in purpose is God’s word.
25 He said, “Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son’s game, so that my soul may bless you.”
It can’t be missed that the meal is as important to Isaac as is giving the blessing. The two are tied together in his mind and he states it as such – Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son’s game, so that my soul may bless you.
The blessings of the Bible are noted around the giving of offerings.
Noah’s offering in Genesis 8 preceded the Lord’s blessing. Melchizedek brought out bread and wine and blessed Abraham. Abraham’s offering of Isaac on Mount Moriah led to the oath and blessing of the Lord.
Even the High Priestly blessing found in Numbers 6 directly follows the offerings mentioned in the Nazirite vows. The two are separate concepts, but they are noted one right after the other. Isaac will bless only after the offering is received.
25 (con’t) So he brought it near to him, and he ate; and he brought him wine, and he drank.
The same terminology is given in response to Isaac’s request – hagishah li leads to v’yagesh lo. “Bring it near to me”; so he brought it near to him. The meal precedes the blessing and obedience precedes the bestowal of it.
Jacob brings the meal and he brings him wine. The word here is yayin and indicates fermented drink, not grape juice. It’s the same which so far made Noah drunk, which Melchizedek brought out for Abraham, and which both of Lot’s daughters made their dad drunk with as well.
The Bible only forbids the drinking of alcohol twice in its pages. Both times are under the law and for specific reasons which can only be found under the law.
The blessing of wine is noted as often as the trouble it brings and the lesson the Bible wants us to learn is that we are to control it, not let it control us. If we can’t control it, we should not drink it; if we can, we may.
26 Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come near now and kiss me, my son.”
This is the first time in the Bible that the act of kissing is mentioned. It has been about 2245 years since the creation and there were possibly billions of people on earth before the flood and by this time there are again many millions.
There were certainly a jillion kisses in those 2245 years, and yet not one has been mentioned in the lives of any person until now. And so the significance should not be lost on us. The kiss is tied to the son’s blessing.
This word for kiss will only be used 35 times in 35 different verses of the Old Testament and another word will be used twice. This means there are only 37 mentions of kissing in the Old Testament.
The father kisses the son and he receives the blessing. Now we are asked to do the same. The 2nd Psalm shows you the picture God intends you to see –
Now therefore, be wise, O kings;
Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear,
And rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.
Just as Jacob received the blessing with a kiss, we too participate in the blessing when we kiss the Son.
II. The Father’s Blessing
27 And he came near and kissed him; and he smelled the smell of his clothing, and blessed him and said:
In last week’s sermon, I said that there is a speculation about the clothes Jacob is wearing which belong to Esau. Rebekah put the choice clothes belonging to Esau on Jacob. The term used for those garments was ha-khamudot, meaning “the precious.” These were probably special garments for ministry.
Because Esau was the oldest son, he would perform the priestly functions in the house. Especially because Isaac, being blind, could no longer perform them.
This verse seems to confirm this. It says, Isaac “smelled the smell of his clothing, and blessed him.” I always assumed that the words Isaac uses in the blessing meant that it was Esau’s natural smell that Isaac liked, but after thinking through these words carefully, I see it differently.
In the next verse, the blessing begins and it is in the stated form of a keen and alert mind, not one drunk by wine, but one with elevated senses. What Isaac says is in a poetic style of parallel clauses. It is also contains unusual forms that are noted as poetic.
Instead of saying “behold” which is often hineh, it says “behold” which is re-eh. The reason is that the next word is re-akh which means “smell.” It becomes poetic because of the alliteration. Re-eh re-akh beni ke-re-akh sadeh asher berakhow adonai. (4:22) –
27 (con’t) “Surely, the smell of my son
Is like the smell of a field
Which the Lord has blessed.
It’s beautiful to hear when pronounced properly. Like I said, I assumed that “the smell of my son” was speaking about Esau’s manliness, but it’s not. It’s speaking about the clothing which has been kept by Rebekah. The smell is like “the smell of a field which the Lord has blessed.”
What is it that we use to smell the smell of a field? We use incense. The smell of priestly incense would cling to these special garments just like the smell of patchouli clings all over me to hide my real smell – even when I take the clothes off, they smell like patchouli.
Incense heightens our mental state and reminds us of the goodness the Lord provides – whether it is grass, or flowers, or fruit. A field which the Lord has blessed is vibrant and alive and this is the intent behind incense. When blessed by the Lord, it is the very Garden of Eden – a field of delight, an inheritance fit for a king.
The blessings of a priest are being passed down from father to son. Again, the fulfillment is found in Jesus –
5 So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him:
“You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.”
6 As He also says in another place:
“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek”… Hebrews 5:5, 6
The bestowal of the priestly right came upon Jesus, just as it now comes upon Jacob from Isaac.
28 Therefore may God give you
Of the dew of heaven,
Of the fatness of the earth,
Isaac uses the term ha’elohim or “the God” in his blessing. There is the true God and there are false gods. Isaac’s blessing concerns the true God. May He “give you of the dew of heaven” is speaking about the rains which God gives to provide the crop’s increase.
Without them the land dries and dies, but with the rains come abundance and prosperity. “The fatness of the earth” speaks of the richest of soil which will produce the most bountiful of crops. It is the nutrients which give life to the seed and bring them up in a harvest beyond normal, even to overflowing.
28 (con’t) And plenty of grain and wine.
May the rains of heaven and the rich soil bring your increase so that they bring about “plenty of grain and wine.” In Deuteronomy 8, the blessings of the land of Israel are noted by Moses before the people moved into it –
“For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; 8 a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; 9 a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper. 10 When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you.”
Of course, in this blessing there is a spiritual element as well. Jacob would receive what Isaac pronounced and it would continue on through his 12 sons and the people of Israel, but there is also the spiritual aspect.
The dew of heaven is the increase given by God found in the gospel message. The fatness of the ground is the rich soil of those who would hear it. Jesus explains this in His parables. There is a literal fulfillment and there is the symbolic or spiritual one as well.
And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from every city, He spoke by a parable: 5 “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. 6 Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. 8 But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.” When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
9 Then His disciples asked Him, saying, “What does this parable mean?”
10 And He said, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that
‘Seeing they may not see,
And hearing they may not understand.’
11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 13 But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. 14 Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15 But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience. Luke 8:4-15
Isaac’s blessing is upon the son of promise and God’s blessing is upon His Son who was promised. The first part of the blessing was one of material prosperity. The part found in the next verse is one of power and authority…
29 Let peoples serve you,
And nations bow down to you.
Isaac, who is the son of promise through Abraham, passes on the blessing of authority over the people groups they would encounter. This blessing is stated in anticipation of the fulfillment of the prophecy given to Rebekah before Jacob and Esau were born.
They would separate into different nations and the older would serve the younger. Isaac’s words now confirm that Jacob will fulfill the role as prophesied. But more than just his brother, all people who they would encounter would be subject to them.
Of course, the spiritual fulfillment of this is found in Christ who will rule the nations as prophesied in the 2nd Psalm –
“I will declare the decree:
The Lord has said to Me,
‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
8 Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’”
The ultimate fulfillment of this is found in the book of Revelation.
29 (cont) Be master over your brethren,
And let your mother’s sons bow down to you.
This continues the preeminency of Jacob over Esau. He is the only recorded brother of Jacob, although there could have been others not recorded. Eventually the line of Esau was, in fact, subordinate to Israel and was finally assimilated into them.
Israel has been given the blessing of both power and authority over his brothers. But in the spiritual blessing we see this fulfilled again in Christ. Esau pictures Adam and thus the people of the world. Jacob pictures Jesus.
In Ephesians 6, Jesus is called our Master, and in Philippians 2 we are told that every knee shall bow to Him –
Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
29 (cont) Cursed be everyone who curses you,
And blessed be those who bless you!”
This final part of Isaac’s blessing is repeated from Genesis 12:3 when God made the same promise to Abraham. It passed through his son Isaac and now it is passed on to Jacob. And once again we see the fulfillment in Jesus. Paul tells us about it in Galatians 3 –
And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.
We need to remember that it was Isaac’s intention to bless Esau, just as it was God’s design for man to rule the earth. But Esau was out in the field looking for food when the blessing came, and Adam still had the taste of the forbidden fruit in his mouth when his curse came. But God’s plan, in the end, will right every wrong.
As you can see, the Bible isn’t just a group of disconnected stories without regard to an overall point and purpose. Instead, it is a demonstration of the wisdom of God as He works out His immensely beautiful plan of reconciling the world to Himself.
He has used real people to picture an overall story of man. Esau is Adam, Jacob is Jesus. We are all sons of Adam by birth, but Jesus put on garments of flesh and came in the likeness of Adam to restore that which was fouled up.
Paul, writing to Timothy says that Jesus was manifest in the flesh and vindicated by the Spirit. (1 Timothy 3:16) Now He offers us the same opportunity. We can move from Adam to Him. We can be a part of the blessing and victory instead of the curse and the condemnation. Let me take a moment and tell you how…
Next Week – Genesis 27:30-40 (It’s Not Deja Vous)
Closing Verse: Yes, all kings shall fall down before Him;
All nations shall serve Him. Psalm 72:11
Kiss the Son
Isaac said to Jacob, Please come near to this spot
That I may feel you my son
Whether you are really my son Esau or not
I want to make sure I’m blessing the right one
So Jacob went near to Isaac his father
And he felt him and then he said
The voice is Jacob’s, certainly not another
But the hands are those of Esau instead
And he did not recognize him because his hands were hairy
Like Esau’s hands, so he blessed him though he was wary
Then he said, “Are you really my son Esau?”
He said, “I am. It is true.”
He said bring it near to me and I will eat it all
My son’s game, so that my soul may bless you
So he brought it near to him and he ate
And he brought him wine and he drank too
Then his father Isaac said to him “It’s great!”
“Come near now and kiss me, my son; I will bless you
And he came near and kissed his father’s head
And he smelled the smell of his clothing too
And he blessed him and in the blessing he said
Listen my son that which I pronounce upon you
Surely the smell of my son is like the smell of a field
Which the Lord has blessed
Therefore may God give you
Of the dew of heaven,
Of the fatness of the earth,
And plenty of grain and wine.
Let peoples serve you,
And nations bow down to you.
Be master over your brethren,
And let your mother’s sons bow down to you.
Cursed be everyone who curses you,
And blessed be those who bless you!”
This is the blessing of Isaac to Jacob his son
And it has proven true in the world’s history
But it also point to Jesus, the rightful One
Upon whom the blessing falls ultimately
It is He who has inherited all things from the Father
And He is the One to take the place of Adam, you see
To Him belongs all glory, it is not for another
It is He who prevailed over death for you and for me
And so to our Lord we bow are knees
And to Jesus we give our lives willingly
Into our heart he looks and He sees
The soul who has trusted in Him for all eternity
Forever we shall sing your praise
Yes glory to the King for eternal days
Hallelujah and Amen…