Learning From Isaac

12 October 2014 AM – Genesis 26:1-35 – Gen 14 – Scott Childs

Introduction: The Bible reveals God’s mind through commandments, instructions, and principles. God often included instructions and principles in the stories of the Bible. (Romans 15:4) “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”

Transition: Genesis 26 relates six events in Isaac’s life from which we can learn many principles for life. I invite you to examine those events with me.

1.        A Plan Redirected, 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 reaffirmed his promised blessing if he would not go to Egypt (v.3-4).

b.         Isaac trusted and obeyed the Lord.

1)         Isaac trusted to God (v.6) God’s way is perfect, Ps 18:30.

2)         He changed his plan and did not go into Egypt.

You may be struggling to obey God. The Bible may seem too narrow or too difficult. God’s way may seem unrealistic. If that is the case, we must learn from Isaac.

(God blesses when we trust and obey the Lord.)

2.        A Problem Repeated, Ge 26:7-11

Years ago when vinyl records were the only way to play music, the records would sometimes get scratched. When that happened, the same line of the song would play over and over again. Isaac’s actions remind me of a scratched record.

a.         Isaac lied about Rebekah

1)         He is following in his father’s steps. Abraham lied about Sarah on at least two occasions.

2)         Isaac’s reason was selfish (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 realized that Isaac and Rebekah were married. The word “sporting” literally means to laugh or to play. Isaac and Rebekah were not being inappropriate in public for a husband and wife, but 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).

As a parent, you must set a good example. Do not do anything that you do not want your children to copy.

(Lying displeases the Lord.)

3.        A Persecution Received, 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 envied him (v.13-14).

2)         To persecute Isaac, the Philistines filled all the wells that Abraham had dug (v.15). They also ran him out of their land (v.16).

3)         He dug again the wells (v.18).

4)         He dug two new wells and the herdsmen of Gerar fought over the water (v.19-21).

b.         Isaac kept a good attitude during persecution

1)         Isaac again moved and dug another well (v.22).

2)         Persecution 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.

It is not easy to keep a good attitude when others are giving us a hard time. We must develop a flourishing relationship with the Lord and depend on Him for strength.

(When God allows persecution, we must keep a good attitude)

4.        A Personal Relationship, Ge 26:23-25

a.         Isaac talked with the Lord when troubled

1)         Isaac must have been praying about his persecution troubles. We learn from the Lord’s words to him that he was tempted to be fearful (v.24).

2)         Any time that we are fearful or troubled, the best thing we can do is go to the Lord in prayer.

3)         The Psalmist said, (Psalms 56:3) “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.”

4)         God’s words to Israel are also a comforting principle. (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.

(1 John 1:6-7) “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

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?

(Real relationships with God are always personal.)

5.        A Peaceful Resolve, Ge 26:26-33

a.         Unbelievers 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 persecute us because of our stand for the Lord, God will deal with that. They should never persecute us because we have done wrong.

3)         Peter wrote, (1 Peter 3:14) “But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;”

b.         Isaac forgave and made peace

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. Jesus said, (Matthew 6:14-15) “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Is there someone you need to forgive today?

(We must forgive and make peace.)

6.        A Parental Regret, Ge 26:34-35

a.         Isaac and Rebekah did not get Esau’s heart

1)         Esau became a rebel. He basically turned his back on God.

2)         His parents failed to get his heart in his youth.

3)         Solomon wrote, (Proverbs 23:26) “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.”

b.         Esau’s choices grieved his parents

1)         He married ungodly women.

2)         This grieved Isaac and Rebekah. They had failed to direct his heart in godly ways while he was young.

(Preparing our children for marriage must begin in their youth.)

Conclusion: We have looked at six events in Isaac’s life and learned at least six principles from them. 1) We must trust and obey the Lord. 2) Lying displeases the Lord. 3) Keep a good attitude during persecution. 4) A real relationship with God is personal. 5) We must forgive and make peace. 6) Preparing children for marriage must being in their youth. Are there changes you need to make in your life? If so, now is the right time to make them. Tomorrow may be too late. Let God have His way!

Song: His Way with Thee – 367