Genesis 25-28

Answers to BSF questions originally posted 2013. The questions and format changed in 2020-2021.

If a task seems too great or a burden too heavy, be assured your Lord is always with you, even if it seems you are lost and alone. “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light  before them and make the rough places smooth.  These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16 NIV

Genesis 22:6-10; 24:62-67

Isaac’s Character

Isaac was passive and submissive; he obeyed, loved and trusted his parents; spent time alone with God—perhaps daily; loved his wife.

Submissive

“To be submissive is to obey or yield to someone else.  When you are submissive, you submit to someone else’s will, which literally, you put your own desires lower than theirs. You can see this in the Latin root of submit, submittere, which is formed by sub- “under” + mittere “send, put.” via vocabulary.com

Submissive is closely related to humility and meekness.

Examples from scripture:

Moses was more humble than any other man on earth. (Numbers 12:3)

God guides and teaches the humble. (Psalm 25:9)

The meek will inherit the land and have great peace. (Psalm 37:11)

He crowns the humble with salvation. (Psalm 149:4)

The meek will inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5)

Jesus is gentle and humble. (Matthew 11:29)

 A gentle and quiet spirit is beautiful and of great worth in God’s sight. (1 Peter 3:4-5)

Genesis 25:19-26:11

Before God fulfilled the promise to give him a descendant

Isaac took the matter to the Lord and prayed on behalf of Rebekah’s barrenness. He prayed for his wife rather than asking for an heir.

Isaac had a taste for wild game.

This is a superficial, carnal reason to prefer one son over another. There was actually no need for Esau to hunt. They had large herds of livestock. Perhaps it was more than the taste for wild game. Esau was a man’s man, so to speak. Jacob was a home-body.

“…I will be with you and will bless you.

For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees and my laws.”

Isaac committed the same sin as his father Abraham.

He lied saying Rebekah was his sister in order to protect himself.

Ways Abraham could have helped Isaac not have the same weakness

—Abraham could have told Isaac about his own fear.

—His own lack of trust in God’s ability and willingness to protect him.

—His own sinful effort to protect himself.

—How he put Sarah in jeopardy.

—God’s displeasure with his lack of trust.

—God’s intervention on both occasions.

—His own need to repent, and how he learned to trust God.

Sometimes it’s not what we tell our children, but what they observe. They pick up on our fears. 

I can disciple my family and others by humbling myself, sharing my failures, and what I learned as a result. 

Genesis 26:12-35

Ways God blessed Isaac

Isaac planted crops and reaped a hundredfold.

Like his father, he also experienced tremendous increase in flocks, herds, and servants.

The Philistines envied Isaac’s wealth and tried to drive him out of Gerar. 

They stopped up his wells with earth in retaliation.

Isaac moved when Abimelech asked him to and reopened his father’s wells. When the herdsmen disputed over those, he dug another well.

When the Philistines tried to take the new well, he moved again and dug another well.

Isaac went to Beersheba.

Genesis 26:24

“That night the Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.”

Isaac built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord. He decided to stay there, so he put up his tent and dug a well.

Abimelech along with two of his key men, came to Isaac to ask for a treaty between them. Like the verse in Proverbs, his enemies made peace with him.

The only part of Proverbs 16:7 that is up to us, is to insure that our ways are pleasing to the Lord.  

Romans 12:18 also applies. “If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” AMP

I’ve wondered about this promise. It clearly does not preclude persecution and martyrdom. Prophets, including John the Baptist, were beheaded, sawn in half, or stoned to death.  

For further clarification, I looked up the word translated as ways in Proverbs 16:7.  Seems like an important thing to know.

The word transliterated as derek (#1870) can also mean the following:

1) way, road, distance, journey, manner

a) road, way, path

b) journey

c) direction

d) manner, habit, way

e) of course of life (fig.)

f) of moral character (fig.)

What path and direction am I traveling? Do my habits please the Lord? Am I growing in Christ-likeness?

Isaac acted humbly when quarreling over pasture and water arose, just as his father Abraham did when facing the same situation between his herdsmen and Lot’s. 

Along those lines, situations and relationships where this Proverb applies would be squabbles over a deceased family member’s belongings, issues with neighbors with regard to trees, fences, etc., and tug of wars over the last hot toy for sale before Christmas. These situations require relinquishing our desire rather than asserting our own preference.

Genesis 27:1—28:9

God told Rebekah, “The older will serve the younger.”

Isaac tries to deceive his wife and Jacob

Isaac called for Esau privately and sent him to hunt and prepare a meal for him. Isaac said he did not know when he would die, but when he brought the meal to him, he would give him his blessing.  Usually, when a man knew he was about to die, he called in all of his family to pronounce the individual blessings in front of everyone. 

Isaac was ignoring not only the word of the Lord concerning Jacob and Esau that came to Rebekah before they were born, but also the fact that Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of lentil stew.

In the first blessings, there was no mention of whom they should marry, that nations would come from them, or the promise of the land of Canaan. He also did not mention the importance of serving God.

Later, after Rebekah became disgusted with Esau’s wives and mentioned her desire that Jacob not marry one of them, Jacob again blessed Jacob and sent him to get a wife from among his relatives in Paddan Aram.

Isaac’s qualities

  • Isaac loved his parents. 
  • He really missed his mother after she died. 
  • It seems he was obedient to his parents. 
  • We know of at least one time he went out in the field to meditate. I wonder if he continued this practice after Rebekah arrived.
  • He prayed for Rebekah when she was unable to conceive. 
  • Isaac, it seems, did not meditate on the word of the Lord given to Rebekah regarding their two sons. 
  • He liked to eat the wild game of Esau and preferred him to Jacob. 
  • He knew how to live peaceably with his neighbors. 
  • Sadly, Isaac’s preference for Esau did not extend to teaching him the ways of God. Esau seems clueless in that area, even though he clearly loves his father. It seems Rebekah’s influence on Jacob bore more fruit than Isaac’s influence on Esau. 

Personal application

Pray for family members, spend quiet time with the Lord, and be submissive when necessary to preserve peace.

God’s promises to Abraham came to pass despite Isaac’s lack of efforts to instill their importance. Ideally, be more proactive in teaching the Lord’s ways to the generations to come.

Lessons learned

  • Remember the spiritual lessons of the past.
  • Continue daily meditation on the word of God.
  • Pray for my family. 
  • Do not allow fleshly desires to influence my relationships. 
  • Remember the big picture rather than focusing on my needs and desires.