Frederick W. Robertson, a 19th-century English preacher, gave a memorable sermon titled “Isaac Blessing His Sons.” Robertson read Rebekah’s words to her son Jacob: “Go out to the flock and bring me two choice young goats, so I can prepare some tasty food for your father, just the way he likes it. Then take it to your father to eat, so that he may give you his blessing before he dies…. Let the curse fall on me. Just do what I say” (Genesis 27:9-13).
Robertson explained that even the most passionate human devotion, if unprincipled, will not bless but destroy. Said Robertson: “Here we see the idolatry of Rebekah; sacrificing her husband, her elder son, her principle, her own soul, for an idolized person.
“Do not mistake. No one ever loved child, brother, sister, too much. It is not the intensity of affection, but its interference with truth and duty, that makes it idolatry.
“Rebekah loved her son more than truth, that is, more than God…. The only true affection is that which is subordinate to [God’s higher authority]…. Compare, for instance, Rebekah’s love for Jacob with that of Abraham for his son Isaac.
“Abraham was ready to sacrifice his son to duty. Rebekah sacrificed truth and duty to her son. Which loved a son most? Which was the nobler love?” (Sermons on Bible Subjects, E.P. Dutton & Company, London, 1906, p. 78).