Lessons from Isaac.
Isaac was blessed of God as the ‘Seed of Promise’. We are careful to acknowledge God’s blessings in his life. He was obedient to his father, Abraham, and willingly submitted to him. We note his respect and obedience in the offering on Mount Moriah and also in the reception of his bride, Rebekah. He trusted God and he trusted Abraham’s faith in God. We should learn from this trust, but God has shared not only Isaac’s obedience but also his disobedience. We should learn from both. We note his patience in that he waited 40 years before marrying and then another 20 years before children were born. In these things we see his passive nature. He also displayed this nature in his relationship to the people among whom he lived. He was non combative (Sometimes to a fault). When the men of Gerar claimed the wells of water he had dug – he just moved and dug new ones. He did not present a good testimony to his wife, his sons, nor his servants when, because of the fear of personal injury, he lied about Rebekah being his wife, rather saying that she was his sister.
Genesis 26:1-4 And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar. And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
Even though he had the promise of God, he failed in his courage –
Genesis 26:7 And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon.
Note that he learned this from his father Abraham. His lie was found out and he was humiliated before the ungodly people of the land, who had more integrity than Isaac did.
The struggles in the family were caused simply because of his disobedience to the will of God.
He did not surrender his will to God’s will and did not accept the responsibility given to him by God to be:
I. A strong husband.
Rebekah could not trust Isaac to obey the Lord. She believed that deceiving him was the only way to accomplish the will of God in their lives. She did not even mention discussing the situation with him, reminding him of the message God had given to them at the birth of their sons.
Genesis 25:22-23 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the LORD. And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.
He did not accept the responsibility given to him by God to be –
II. A strong father to his sons.
He did not instruct them to know and do God’s will.
1. He was worldly and willful.
2. He had no respect for God or his parents.
Genesis 25:33-34 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.
3. He had been the preferred son of his father because of his physical abilities instead of having a spiritual character.
Genesis 25:27-28 And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.
We must note that favour without discipline will produce contempt. Isaac had done everything he could to ignore the command of God and bless Esau making him the leader of the family. Even though that Esau knew this, he had no respect for his father. Isaac knew that Esau had a rebellious spirit, yet he failed to correct him.
Genesis 26:34-35 And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite: Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.
Note also –
Genesis 28:8-9 And Esau seeing that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac his father; Then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife.
1. He was worldly and wily. He was prepared to use Esau’s weaknesses against him.
Genesis 25:29-31 And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom. And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.
Isaac was very wealthy and managed a large camp with many servants. Is it reasonable that Jacob would be the only person preparing a meal. Provisions for such a large camp would be readily available, especially to Esau, the son of the master. Why would he insist that Jacob give him the food that he was preparing. The answer is simple – Esau would bully Jacob as a matter of course. Jacob was chosen by God to follow Isaac as the head of the family. Esau knew that Isaac wanted to place him above Jacob and Esau would take every opportunity to pressure Jacob. Jacob was prepared this time to turn the situation on Esau. Through this account we learn of Esau’s complete disregard for the command of God.
2. He had no respect for God or his parents.
3. He did not trust his father and had no confidence that Isaac would obey the Lord and bless him as the head of the family.
Genesis 27:24 And he said, Art thou my very son Esau? And he said, I am.
Genesis 27:35 And he (Isaac) said, Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing.
Isaac’s prescription for problems in the family:
Disappointed his wife
Divided his children
Genesis 27:41 And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.
Through God’s mercy and grace, the family was restored, but only after years of hardships – Genesis 35:29 And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him. (180 years old)