Too Dim to See Part Two

One day near the end of my kindergarten days, my teacher had us write our answers on our own paper to questions that were on a chalkboard.

After reviewing my written answers, she called me to her desk and asked me all the questions verbally.

My written answers were incorrect, but my verbal responses were accurate.

My teacher then called my mother, saying, “I think your daughter has a vision problem.”

Thankfully, having spent several months with me in a classroom, my teacher was right to speculate that my performance with the written answers meant something was amiss. 

Her decision to test me with a different sensory mode enabled her to encourage my parents to get my eyes checked.

Yep, except for a brief period in my teens, I have worn glasses ever since.

A few weeks ago, we studied Genesis 27:1-5, where Isaac could no longer see because of his old age. 

Today, we will consider what other senses he relied on because of his physical blindness.

Review Genesis 27:1-5.

27 When Isaac was old and his eyes were dim so that he could not see, he called Esau his older son and said to him, “My son”; and he answered, “Here I am.” He said, “Behold, I am old; I do not know the day of my death. Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me, and prepare for me delicious food, such as I love, and bring it to me so that I may eat, that my soul may bless you before I die.” [1]

In Genesis 27:6, Rebekah told Jacob she overheard Isaac telling Esau he wanted to bless him. 

What does the word “overheard” imply?

Rebekah then directs Jacob to get two young goats for her to prepare, dresses Jacob in Esau’s best clothes, and covers his hands and his neck with the goatskins so that Jacob can pretend to be Esau and get the blessing instead. (Gen 27:8-17)

Jacob complies with his mother and takes the food to Isaac, saying he is Esau. (Gen 27:18-19)

Isaac, surprised by how little time had passed, asks how this was possible. Jacob replies to his father, saying the Lord gave him success. (Gen 27:20)

But Isaac is doubtful he is speaking with Esau.

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.” 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.” 23 And he did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s hands. So he blessed him. 24 He said, “Are you really my son Esau?” He answered, “I am.” 25 Then he said, “Bring it near to me, that I may eat of my son’s game and bless you.” So he brought it near to him, and he ate; and he brought him wine, and he drank.
26 Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come near and kiss me, my son.” 27 So he came near and kissed him. And Isaac smelled the smell of his garments and blessed him and said, [2]

Since Isaac could not see, what other senses did he use to discern who was before him?

Which physical sense correctly identified Jacob?

Which physical senses failed Isaac?

Isaac correctly identified Jacob’s voice, but the goatskins, the special food preparation by Rebekah, the wine, and the smell of Esau’s clothes that Jacob was wearing convinced Isaac to not trust his ears. 

What other “sense” did Isaac forget to use in this situation?

The giving of a blessing from a parent to a child is a celebration time. But Isaac did this in secret while his eavesdropping wife and son, Jacob, deceived him.

The Bible does not specifically say Rebekah withheld what God had revealed to her when Jacob and Esau were still in her womb. (Gen 25:23) But, if she did not keep it to herself, Isaac’s decision to arrange for a private blessing of Esau could be an attempt to bypass God’s announcement that Esau would serve his younger brother Jacob. 

Remember, scripture says that Isaac favored Esau. (Gen 25:28) 

Or perhaps Isaac’s memory was also beginning to fail because of his age.

Regardless, Isaac, in Genesis 27, is relying on his own physical senses to discern what is happening around him. Isaac never seeks spiritual guidance from God in this passage.

What does this situation reveal to us about our human nature? Consider Isaac, as well as Rebekah and Jacob.

Have you ever experienced a situation when one of your physical senses conflicted with your other physical senses? 

Did you seek God’s guidance or decide to trust some of your own physical senses and ignore the conflicting ones? Why or why not?

Describe how the situation turned out.

In my situation at the start of this post, I was not aware my eyesight was a problem. My young age meant I depended on the adults in my life to discern the situation.

Thankfully, the surrounding adults were alert and took care to get me the help I needed. 

In Isaac’s situation, he was older when his eyesight failed him. Plus, he had a scheming wife and son who intentionally deceived him. 

Again, just as I asked in part one of this series, what is Isaac’s primary handicap at this point in his life? Is it his physical weakness, his scheming family, or something else?

What is the warning to us today from this point of Isaac’s story?

Conversely, what is the encouragement to us?

Scripture reveals that even through our weaknesses, whether Isaac’s blind favoritism of Esau or Rebekah and Jacob’s scheming, God’s plans will prevail. 

This does not mean God condones our weaknesses. Rather, scripture ultimately reveals that God has worked through history to bring about his amazing grace through Jesus, His Son. 

Consider the following passage from Hebrews.

Jesus the Great High Priest

14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. [3]

Whether young or elderly with failing physical senses, we can have confidence in the Lord to extend mercy and grace whatever our need.

In my case, the Lord provided a smart teacher and responsible parents.

We will continue to study how the Lord extends mercy and grace to Isaac in a later post.

Meanwhile, share a scripture verse in the comments below and explain why it helps you have confidence in the Lord.


Barbara Seibel


[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ge 27:1–4.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ge 27:21–27.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Heb 4:14–16.

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