I am an old man and I have been blind for forty years now. Life has treated me well and I am successful. These days I sit and listen to the rhythm of the life going on around me. I am enjoying rest and peace now. Yet I do not have peace. Something destroyed the peaceful rhythm of my life many years ago. I felt I could survive best by pushing it to the back of my mind, hoping that time would heal that…betrayal.
Maybe I do need to go back. Maybe if I spend my days going over the past, my last few days will have real peace. Do I dare go back? Will bringing up the past bring me to an early grave? Somehow it seems that this is the right time. I am old and wise. The circumstances are further away in time and not so painful anymore. Maybe I can do this. If not, I can close all those doors again, and return to where I am right now.
Where did it all start? I was the promised son of Abraham and Sarah. Or would you call it the promised descendants? God promised my father that he would be the father of many. Did he mean Ishmael and the children of his concubines? No, I remember my father telling me that I was the promised son and that through me he would be the father of many. Does God have a sense of humour? I have only provided two sons, and Esau is not interested in God and his promises. My son Jacob has twelve sons…maybe Jacob will show the increase of our descendants. I leave it to those generations. It is no longer my concern.
My parents were very old when I was born. I never thought of them as old because they were the only parents I knew. The joy and delight that showed in their eyes every time they looked at me made me feel like I was the best loved son that anyone ever had. They could refuse me nothing. My mother said I never asked for much, and that when I was young, I was a very happy boy.
That was before the betrayal. Who do I blame? My father who was a good man that loved and trusted his God? Do I blame God who knew the outcome? I blame both of them. They may have made that journey to prove the goodness of my father and the faithfulness of God, but they also left me a broken youngster who lost all trust in the man and the God he thought he could trust. Even now I break out in a sweat when I recall the memory of my father standing over me with a knife in his hand.
He couldn’t even tell me what he was going to do the morning of that day. As we travelled up the mountain he had chosen, I asked him what we were sacrificing. He told me in a very strained voice that God would provide. I remember wondering why he seemed so defeated yet determined about a simple sacrifice. We prepared the altar with the stones we found on the ground. I even helped lay the wood and the rope needed to tie down the animal. My dad then raised his head to heaven, cried out in pain and then grabbed me.
My father had quite the job getting me on the altar. I fought with all I was worth, but he overpowered me. He had to strap me down so that I was unable to move. There I lay helpless as, with tears in his eyes, he raised his knife over his head. More painful than the fear of dying was that it was my dad who was holding the knife that would end my life.
I never even heard God tell my father to stop. I saw his hand drop and heard the knife hit the dirt. My father grabbed my head and cried. All I could think was that now he was going to break my neck instead. He was babbling excitedly calling out God’s name and my name over and over again. I heard him walk away and then come back dragging something. When he grabbed the knife again, I started to struggle. It was not until I was free that I realized he was using the knife to cut the ropes.
I stumbled off the altar away from him. I crawled into a thicket as far as I could go and began to retch. When I finally calmed down, I heard my father singing, and smelled the smoke of a new sacrifice. I watched from a distance as he knelt on the ground and prayed. When the fire died down, he called me, saying that we were going home. We set off down the mountain. He had a spring in his step and he kept grabbing me and hugging me. He kept asking me if I was okay. I remember agreeing with him that I was fine. I was in shock. As I nodded and hugged back, all I could see was that my father would be willing to kill me if he was asked. It did not matter who asked, it mattered that he would do it. I was not safe with him.
We returned to our home. I went to see my mother. It was then that I fell in her arms and wept until I could not cry any more. It was for days that I stayed in her tent, feverous and delirious. Every time I started screaming, she held me and soothed me. Where was my father at this time? He was joyously proclaiming to everyone he met how faithful his God was. Where was he when I was going through hell? I begged my mother not to tell him. I did not want to appear less of a man.
I stayed out of his way and spent more time with my mother. My father would ask me to go hunting and I do confess that I hid behind my mother’s skirts. I pretended to become very interested in household matters. My mother did not understand why my father did what he did, but because she loved him and me, she did not question him. My father left me and my mother to each other. Sometimes he seemed hurt, but he never confronted me on what was different. When my mother became ill, I stayed by her bedside until she died. After we buried her, I had no one to turn to.
He must have known how lost I was without my mother because very soon after she died my father sent his most trusted servant to find me a wife. He did very well. Rebekah was such a comfort to me. For her sake I began to learn more about the land and riches my father would be leaving to me when he died. He had more children, and I got to meet with my older half-brother Ishmael again, but the understanding was that everything would be mine in the end. I was glad that my father was generous with his other children. But I would be the one who would need to manage everything when he died. He seemed hurt by the distance I kept from him, but he never complained about it.
After twenty years of marriage to Rebekah, we still did not have children. I had been avoiding any intimate contact with God as I had with my father. But seeing how Rebekah suffered from being barren, I decided to see if God could help me with this. Soon after I approached God… very formally mind you, we found out Rebekah was pregnant! I did thank God for answering this prayer. We were very excited and could not wait for our twins to be born. Rebekah had a difficult time because these two children were fighting even before they were born!
Two boys could not be more different than those two. Esau was born first. He was so hairy and red! No one had ever seen a baby like this before. And then Jacob came out, as smooth as Esau was hairy. I admit now that I did favour Esau. He was a man’s man right from the start. He loved the outdoors, he loved to hunt, and he loved a challenge. I looked forward to hearing his stories when he came home. Jacob I found too soft. Maybe he reminded me too much of myself. I do not blame Rebekah for pouring all her love on this son. I openly admired Esau and mocked Jacob, so Rebekah naturally made up for this by favouring Jacob. I see now how our parenting made our sons very hostile to each other. But I was trying to run from my past, and Rebekah was trying to create a balance to what I had unbalanced.
When our boys were 15, my father died. I remember feeling like I wished I had confronted my dad and had it out with him. It made me feel like I had missed an important opportunity to heal the past. This made me more resentful towards him and to God. I pushed it into the background and got busy with life again. I had an empire to run, and half-brothers to appease. I was also trying to ignore the fact that my eyesight was fading.
There was a famine in the land and we had to move. God directed me and I followed his advice. Yet it was not until we were in Beersheba that I acknowledged him as my God too. We became so rich and successful that we scared the tribes around us! They insisted we move away because we were so powerful.
I did not like it when Esau married a girl who was not of our faith. I was almost relieved when Jacob stole Esau’s blessing and ran to my brother-in-law’s place. There he married two women of our faith and had many sons. I think there is still tension between the two brothers, but it is theirs to work through now.
I know that I need to seek God again. He has never forsaken me, but He is waiting for me to renew my relationship with Him. I know He is faithful. He may make me seek Him for quite a while, but I know it is time. I want to end my days with our great and glorious God. I will go back to that time of betrayal and find out where He was when this all happened. I know He was there for me and now I want to go back and experience this with Him.
Although I am blind, I feel like I am seeing life better than I ever have.