Thursday, August 25, 2016

Clothed in Someone Else's Clothes

Gen 27:15  Then Rebekah took the best garments of Esau her older son, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son.
Gen 27:16  And the skins of the young goats she put on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck….
Gen 27:21  Then Isaac said to Jacob, "Please come near, that I may feel you, my son, to know whether you are really my son Esau or not."
Gen 27:22  So Jacob went near to Isaac his father, who felt him and said, "The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau."
Gen 27:23  And he did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau's hands. So he blessed him….
Gen 27:27  So he came near and kissed him. And Isaac smelled the smell of his garments and blessed him and said, "See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field that the LORD has blessed!

There is something in this account that reminds me of my own salvation.  By birth Jacob was not to inherit the blessing; this belonged to his elder brother Esau.  Esau was not only the first born but his father's favorite particularly because Esau cooked a wild game dish that Isaac loved.  Knowing that God had ordained, before they were born, that Jacob was to receive the blessing of the firstborn his mother Rebekah cooks up a rather elaborate plan to trick Isaac into giving Jacob the blessing. 

As the verses above tell us, Jacob gets his father’s blessing by dressing up in Esau’s clothes and making himself feel and smell like Esau and bringing him a meal that tasted like something Esau would have cooked.  One can’t help being reminded that this was the only way that we are accepted by our Heavenly Father.  We must be clothed in righteousness not our own but his.  He receives us based on his love for the Son so that now when he sees us he sees the righteousness of his Beloved Son.  If we come in the righteousness that we are born with, we would be cast out because we are by nature children of wrath.  

The Bible often uses this motif to illustrate this “substitution”.  Isa 61:10  I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Mat 22:11  "But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. Mat 22:12  And he said to him, 'Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless.

Eze 16:8  "When I passed by you again and saw you, behold, you were at the age for love, and I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord GOD, and you became mine.

Now some might object with this by saying that they are uncomfortable using Jacob’s deception as a type of our coming to the Father through the righteousness of another; after all we don’t trick the Father; it is his plan all along.  But I see this as an illustration and nothing more and in my mind probably an illustration that God intended by allowing things to work out the way they do.

The OT is full of some rather unsavory accounts all given to teach us about Christ and his work and his people.  I have asked myself why did God cause Jacob to get the blessing this particular way?  Why this sordid account of a wife and son deceiving Isaac and not just have Esau die or accepting the fact that he had given up his birthright earlier so that Jacob would not need to trick his father?  Maybe the answer is that this gives us such a stark illustration of how without being clothed in Jesus’ righteousness we have no hope to approach the Father.  

Hey, if you are uncomfortable saying that out loud, that is fine with me.  But either way it illustrates the way we are saved nonetheless and causes me to rejoice in the glory of the gospel of grace and I hope it does you too.

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