“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. And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau’s hands: so he blessed him.”
Several years ago I spotted a new book in the library that caught my attention. It was a kind of “how to” book for teens who thought they might be gay. The book offered encouragement and practical instructions on how to “come out.” In the book’s “questions and answers” section I found the question: “What do I do if my church or place of worship considers being gay sinful?” The book’s answer: “You need to find a different place to worship.” I found this remarkable. Here we are dealing with matters of religion, matters that pertain to ultimate reality and the ultimate destiny of human souls. How strange is was, therefore, that the book nowhere documented any attempt to ascertain whether or not homosexual behavior was sinful. It simply assumed it was not and counseled others to do likewise. In philosophy, this kind of reasoning is considered invalid because it is based solely on how one feels. In other words, it commits the fallacy of arbitrariness; it declares something to be the case without sufficient reason. This is the “Achilles Heel” of all forms of the non-Christian worldview. They all collapse into arbitrariness; their statements of fact, even in their own terms, rest on nothing more than human feelings. The Christian worldview, on the other hand, rests squarely on the infallible, self-authenticating word of God. In terms of his own worldview, the Christian has something solid and dependable to believe in terms of what is real and how we ought to live our lives. Though we know this with our minds, our feelings sometimes conflict with what God declares to be so in his word. Here we have an intersection—a cross—at which you and I are called to crucify the dictates of fallen human desire and to trust in the Lord instead. “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart;” instructs the proverb, “and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Today’s verse passage, though a factual, historical account, acts as a symbolic cautionary tale for all of us. Blind Isaac immediately recognized his son, Jacob, when he heard his voice. When he felt the animal skin on his son’s arm, however, he suspected that it was actually his other son, Esau (a hairy man) who had come to visit him. Here, Isaac had to make a choice. He could discern the truth either by the word or by feeling. Isaac trusted in what he felt and he was sorely deceived. May the Lord help us all to trust in His word rather than our feelings when the two come into conflict. May this be so for His glory and for the safety, well-being, and edification of His people. Amen and amen!