12 September 2021 PM – Genesis 26 – Gen2021 – Scott Childs
My apologies, the recording did not work this evening. Sorry!
Introduction: Isaac’s life was one marked by instability. God appeared to him on at least two occasions, yet he failed to trust God and do right at other times.
Transition: As we look at Genesis 26, God identifies six events in Isaac’s life. In four of these, he did right and in two, he failed. From these we must learn so that we can have stable lives for the Lord’s glory.
1. Isaac followed God’s direction, Ge 26:1-6
a. Isaac headed toward Egypt during a famine.
1) We know that Isaac planned to go to Egypt because God’s first words to Isaac were “Go not down into Egypt.” Going to Egypt got his father, Abraham, into much trouble.
2) God promised to bless him if he would remain in the land and not go to Egypt (v.3-5).
b. Isaac obeyed the Lord.
1) Isaac obediently stayed in Gerar (v.6) (Psalms 18:30) “As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.“
2) Even when God’s way does not make good human sense, if we will obey Him, we can enjoy His blessings.
2. Isaac failed to trust God fully, Ge 26:7-11
The old slogan, “Like father – like son”, is often a sad fact for fathers who fail to live for God. This is true of Abraham and Isaac.
a. Isaac lied about Rebekah being his wife.
1) He followed in his father’s steps. Abraham lied about Sarah on at least two occasions.
2) Isaac’s reason was selfish and faithless (v.7). God condemns lying. (Colossians 3:9) “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;“
b. Unbelievers rebuked Isaac.
1) After living in Gerar for a long time (v.8), Abimelech realised that Isaac and Rebekah were married. The word “sporting” literally means to laugh or to play. Their joyful, loving expressions were abnormal for siblings.
2) Abimelech rebuked Isaac for his lies (v.9-10).
3) Abimelech threatened any of his people who touched either Isaac or Rebekah (v.11).
4) As parents and grandparents we must set a good example and not do anything we do not want our children to copy.
3. Isaac kept a good attitude, Ge 26:12-22
a. Isaac dug again wells his father had dug
1) God again blessed Isaac, and he became very great, and the Philistines were jealous (v.13-14).
2) Out of envy, the Philistines filled all the wells that Abraham had dug (v.15). Out of fear, they asked Isaac to leave their land (v.16).
3) He dug again the wells (v.18). He dug two new wells, and the herdsmen of Gerar fought over the water (v.19-21).
b. Isaac kept a good attitude during these trials
1) Isaac again moved and dug another well (v.22).
2) Mistreatment is not new. In fact, God said in (2 Timothy 3:12) “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.“
3) Remember that Isaac possessed all that Abraham had plus all that God had given him. He was mighty, and no doubt could have destroyed those who fought over the wells, but he kept a good attitude.
4) It is not easy to keep a good attitude when others are mistreating us. We must develop a flourishing relationship with the Lord and depend on Him for strength. (Luke 6:28) “Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.“
4. Isaac worshipped God, Ge 26:23-25
a. Isaac talked with the Lord when fearful.
1) Isaac must have been praying about his fears (v.24).
2) Any time that we are fearful or troubled, the best thing we can do is go to the Lord in prayer (Psalms 56:3) “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.“
3) God cares about Christians just as He cared about Israel when he said, (Isaiah 41:10) “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.“
b. Isaac built an altar and worshipped.
1) An altar represented a place of confession and cleansing. To get close to God we must always first deal with all known sin in our lives as David did. (Psalms 51:1-3) “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.“
2) Isaac had his own personal relationship with God. He was not depending on his godly upbringing. Every person must come to God individually. True salvation is a relationship. (John 1:12-13) “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Has this taken place in your life?
5. Isaac was a peacemaker, Ge 26:26-33
a. The Philistines envied, hated, and feared Isaac
1) They envied God’s blessing on his life. They hated him because God blessed him. And they feared him because God had made him mighty.
2) If unbelievers dislike us because of our stand for the Lord, God will deal with that. Peter wrote, (1 Peter 3:16) “Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.“
b. Isaac sought to be a peacemaker.
1) When his enemies came seeking a peace treaty, Isaac forgave them and made peace with them (v.30-31).
2) God expects us to forgive those who have done wrong to us, even though it is not easy. (Ephesians 4:32) “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Is there someone you need to forgive today?
6. Isaac failed to reach Esau’s heart, Ge 26:34-35
a. Esau became a rebel.
1) He turned his back on God. He went his own way.
2) Isaac and Rebekah failed to get his heart in his youth. Solomon wrote, (Proverbs 23:26) “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.“
3) Shepherding a child’s heart is no easy task. It takes more than faithful church attendance and a family Bible time. It takes sacrificial love, prayer, a focus on pleasing God and pleasing others, planning, training, calm biblical discipline, forgiveness, communication, one-on-one time, patience, consistency, humble apologies to them when we fail and much more. It demands that we live a godly example before our children 24/7. All this must be a priority in our lives. Parenting takes a LOT of work and dependence on God.
4) In hindsight, I can see many areas in which I failed as a parent. Thus, I urge you parents to be vigilant.
b. Esau’s choices grieved his parents
1) Did Isaac try to find a godly wife for Esau? We do not know. We do know that Esau married ungodly women.
2) He chose wives contrary to the wishes of his parents. This grieved Isaac and Rebekah. Young people, when you get old enough to marry, always seek your parent’s counsel.
Conclusion: Isaac’s life was rather unstable, but with God’s help, we can learn from his qualities and his failures. We can follow his obedience to God, even when we think otherwise. His good attitude when he was mistreated can be our example. We can personally know and worship His God. His peacemaking abilities can challenge us to be less sensitive and more calming. On the other hand, may we refuse to lie! Always be truthful, even in difficult circumstances. As parents and grandparents, may we pour our hearts into biblically shepherding the next generation for God’s glory!
Remember, the best thing we can learn from history is to LEARN from history and not repeat its failures.