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Monday, October 12, 2009

Isaac The Ordinary --- Genesis 22-27

Isaac appears to be just an ordinary guy – from what we read in Scripture. A mild humble man who herds sheep and goats and manages to keep out of trouble for all of his 180 years on this earth.

Children’s Bible Story Books always include tales about Isaacs’ father, Abraham and his exciting life and more stories of Isaac’s scheming son Jacob;and his many escapades. But poor old Isaac seems to be sandwiched in between his colorful father and son. Seldom mentioned and usually forgotten.

We get our first picture of Isaac when he is twelve and his father Abraham is ready to sacrifice him. There is no record of Isaac running away from his very elderly father when Abraham ties him up and lays him on the altar to sacrifice him. Isaac seems to completely trust Abraham and God with his young life.

As a young man of forty Isaac again seems trusting and obedient to his father’s wishes about how to find his future bride.. He doesn’t go out and find his own bride.. He trusts his fathers’ judgment to find the right girl.. Abraham sends his servant back to his relatives country to find a wife for Isaac .And after the servant has traveled the distance to Syria, he stops to pray and asks God to show him which girl to pick for Isaac. This is a big responsibility and the servant needs God’s guidance. An amazing story follows with God immediately answering the servant’s prayer with Rebecca.

Later on as night is falling, Isaac is out in the field when he looks up to see a camel train in the far distance coming his way...It looks like his fathers’ servants’ camels. Excited, he runs out to meet the servant – and meet his bride to be. Rebecca gets off her camel and covers herself with her veil when she sees her future husband running toward her ready to introduce himself. The servant stops to tell Isaac the wonderful story of how God answered his prayers and led him to pick Rebecca. Isaac immediately accepts Rebecca, trusting God’s guidance in his life. He takes Rebecca into his tent and falls in love with her. Genesis 24:67.

God comes to Isaac and promises to be with him. God promises that He will bless his descendants and give hope to the nations through One of his offspring.. Isaac rejoices even though it may take many centuries for some of these promises to come to pass. And even though he doesn’t understand all that God is promising him. Twenty years pass and Isaac and Rebecca have no children. Isaac prays to God for children and God answers him. Soon they are the proud parents of two sons, Esau and Jacob

Again we get a glimpse of Isaac as he grows older – tending his flocks and herds and digging wells. Because God was blessing him with larger herds and better crops than his Phillistine neighbors, they became jealous of him. The king of the Phillistines asked him to move away and his neighbors threw dirt in his wells and stopped them up.. When Isaac moved and dug new wells they followed him and stole those wells from him too.. Instead of fighting, Isaac just moved again and again and dug more wells. Then he made a feast and agreed to a peace pact with the very king that had ordered him to move away. Isaac didn’t seem to insist on his own rights or demand respect. Since he had great wealth and many servants, he could have fought off and killed the thieves who stole his wells. But Isaac chose to be a pacifist. .

When Isaac reached old age he lost his eyesight. His son Jacob lied to him and took Esau’s blessings. Scripture tells us that Esau married three heathen women and brought them home to live near his parents. Esau’s ungodly lifestyle and his wives’ pagan practices were a great burden to Isaac and Rebecca. At one point Rebecca wondered if her life was worth living because of Esaus’ rebellious living...

We often hear sermons about the men and women of the Bible who slew giants, stopped the mouths of lions, or fought and won great battles for God. And we worship rock stars, sports heros, and the rich and famous. Scripture tells us that “the meek shall inherit the earth” But we often overlook the meek folk around us. Is God only interested in the leaders – the movers and shakers? Does He care as much for the ordinary people? – the followers, the meek, the people who never make the headlines?

God promised Isaac blessings even as he and Rebecca were living with heartache. Esaus large’ family and their lack of interest in God was a constant source of contention to this Godly couple. Do we remember that God is still in control even when our own children disappoint us?

God reaffirmed glorious promises to Isaac at a time that he was being pushed around by all of his neighbors- the Phillistines. Can we remember that God is on our side even when we are being treated badly by associates or friends or family? Many of God’s promises for Isaac were to be fulfilled in the distant future. But Isaac waited and hoped in God while not yet obtaining many of his blessings. His descendents didn’t inherit their promised land until long after he had died. Can we with Isaac wait patiently for the future God has for us which is yet to be revealed?

Isaac obeyed God and didn’t turn away. God was pleased with Isaacs’ child-like faith. and blessed Isaac because he never took revenge on his enemies. Do we turn the other cheek when people mistreat us? Can God bless us like Isaac because we don’t get even with the folks who hurt us?

In his later years Isaac lived with blindness. Do we remember that God is with us even when our health is failing? Through thick or thin, Isaacs’ trust in God never wavered . God highly valued Isaac’s faith even though he never won any great battles or made any big impressions. The Bible tells us that God values the faith of all of his children. –

If we trust God He is very pleased, even if we aren’t heros or leaders, or experts-. even when we are living with disappointments and poor health and trials. If we have a childlike faith in God we are never ordinary -even if everybody thinks we are!

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