Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Genesis 25:19 - 28:9

Genesis chapter 12-50 show the spiritual bios of four men chosen by God and through them He would reveal His purpose for all of humanity.  God chose Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.  They were not perfect, but God gives them grace as he gives us today.  God chose Abraham to receive His great promise.  This promise was passed on to his son, Isaac.  In this post our lesson focuses on Isaac’s personal bio.

Genesis 25:19-34 – Submissive Faith Prays

How would you describe your faith? - submissive or striving?

Isaac’s life is characterized by submissive faith.  He knew from the beginning his birth was a miracle.  He knew his parents were devoted to the Lord.  He knew God had special plans for his life even as a small boy.  Isaac was submissive to Abraham in chapter 22.  To be submissive is an act of accepting or yielding to authority.  Being submissive is like being humble or meek. 

There are many scriptures on how God views the humble and meek:
Numbers 12:3 – Moses was more humble than anyone on earth.
Psalm 25:9 – God guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way.
Psalm 37:11 – The meek will inherit the earth and enjoy great peace.
Psalm 149:4 – God crowns the humble with salvation.
Matthew 5:5 – Blessed are the meek, they shall inherit the earth.
Matthew 11:29 – The humble will find rest for their soul.
1 Peter 3:4-5 – A quiet spirit is a great worth in God’s sight.

Submissive faith depends on the privilege and power of prayer.

Will other say you are humble?
How can you be more humble in your life?
How would this change your relationships with others?

God made promises to Abraham and his descendants.  He had many sons, but God’s promises were for Isaac alone so it was important for Isaac to have a son.  Isaac prayed to God because Rebekah was barren.  They waited 20 years before their sons were born.  Then Rebekah became pregnant with 2 sons and they jostled within her so she asked the Lord why was this happening.  The Lord said, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.” Gen. 25:23.   Why did God reveal this prophecy to her?  Perhaps so they could parent in God’s plan.  The two were born:  first Esau, then Jacob.  Esau was hairy and became a skillful hunter.  Jacob was quiet and stayed among the tents.  Isaac favored Esau because he liked to eat wild game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.

Prayer reveals our heart.  It shows our fear, our desires, our priorities, our hurts, etc.  Isaac’s prayer is submissive faith in action to God’s authority and dependence in His power.

What do you pray about?  Prayer is a privilege.  It cost Jesus His life so we can approach prayer with confidence.
What is missing in your life that is God’s will? -  self-control, freedom from bondage, a life of debt, serving the body of Christ, tithing, forgiving, submitting to authority?
How will you pray for what is missing?  Ask God to grow you.
What promise could you pray on behalf of someone else?
What is going on in your life that you don’t understand?  When you don’t understand, go to God.  He will talk with you.

Jacob wanted God’s special blessing and took advantage of Esau when he was weak.  One day Jacob was cooking stew and Esau came in very hungry and wanted to eat the stew.  Jacob made him swear that he would sell his birthright before he would give him any to eat.  Esau did not care about his birthright so he agreed and then he despised his birthright.

Genesis 26:1-35 – Submissive Faith Perseveres

In verse 5 God commends Abraham although he was not perfect.  God does not command His people to be perfect.

There was a famine in the land and Isaac went south through Abimelech’s land.  The Lord warns Isaac not to go down to Egypt as his father had done, but to stay in the land where He tells him.  Isaac’s father made a difference in his life so Isaac stayed when God said to stay.  God said He would bless him and confirmed the oath He swore to Abraham.  He would make his descendants as numerous as the stars and give them all these lands and through his offspring all the nations of the earth would be blessed. – Gen. 26:1-6.  Isaac obeyed God and stayed in the Promised Land.

We all face a famine.  Maybe it’s a loss of a job, disobedient child, problems in the family. God is with us in it. 

How is God helping you respond to your famine?  What does God’s presence mean to you?  God’s presence brings immeasurable blessing, but does not stop the famine.  The enemy is trying to steal, kill and destroy.  God blesses undeserving people.  Sometime we hang in there and sometime we don’t, but God’s presence is always with us.

Isaac was blessed with a beautiful wife like his father, Abraham.  Isaac lied just as Abraham had in chapter 20 by telling the king that his wife was his sister, because she was beautiful and he was afraid they would kill him because of her.  Then the king found out that she was his wife and gave orders to all the people that no one was to molest Rebekah. – Gen. 26:7-11.  Had Isaac’s father warned him, maybe he would not have lied.  Isaac couldn’t learn from his father, if his father did not share this with him.  Lying is a sin and can never truly help us.  God is gracious and slow to anger, but He doesn’t overlook sin.  There will be consequences to our sin.  Your sin will find you out just as Isaac’s did.  Abraham should have taught Isaac better.  He should have told him that he himself learned a hard lesson when he lied.  He should have explained that he made a terrible mistake long ago so Isaac could learn from his father’s mistakes and not make the same one.

What bad habit have you learned?
How well are you sharing with your kids your mistakes?
In humility are you willing to share your regrets?

Isaac was not perfect.  He took matters into his own hands when he was afraid of Abimelech.  How have you taken things into your own hands and what were the results?  What mistakes have you made that you would like to take back?  God was      still there for Isaac.  God is faithful to His promises. 

Isaac stayed in the land and the Lord blessed him.  He planted crops and became very wealthy.  He was so rich that the Philistines envied him so they stopped up all his wells.  The king then asked him to move away.  Isaac moved to the Valley of Gerar.  There he dug new wells, but the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with him saying the water was theirs.  Isaac moved on and dug another well and no one quarreled over it.  The Lord appeared to Isaac and told him not to be afraid and that he would be blessed.  Isaac then built an altar and called on the name of the Lord.  Abimelech realized that the Lord was with Isaac and they swore an agreement together.  Gen. 26:12-34.  Does this sound familiar?  The same thing happened in chapter 21 with Abimelech and Abraham.

Isaac lied, but God still blessed him.  Why?  That is a glimpse of the mercy, grace, forgiveness, and the faithfulness of God.  He blessed him although he didn’t deserve it just as He blesses us when we don’t deserve it.

Submissive faith that perseveres in adversity reveals the faith fullness of God.

Genesis 27:1 – 28:9 – Submissive Faith Surrenders

Isaac was getting old and his eyes were weak.  He turned his eyes from God.  He focused on what he wanted in the flesh.  He planned a secret meeting with Esau telling him to go and kill some game for him and that he give him a blessing before he dies.  Remember Esau had already sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of soup.  The birthright belonged to Jacob with or without the deceit.  Esau had sold it to him and sealed the deal with an oath.  Esau was about to receive a blessing to which he had no right and Isaac knew that the Lord had said that “the older would serve the younger”.  Rebekah heard this and planned a scheme of her own.  She wanted her younger son Jacob not to miss out on Isaac’s blessing.  So they planned to pretend that Jacob was Esau and Isaac would bless Jacob instead.  Rebekah is the instigator and Jacob is the accomplice.  Jacob tells one lie after another.  The last one is the worst.  “The Lord your God gave me success.” Gen. 27:20. 

Rebekah’s motivation for scheming was her unbelief.  She panicked.  She didn’t pray, but took matters into her own hands.  God will not bless you for wrong doing to achieve good.  God’s blessing of Jacob was because He chose him to inherit the promises not by Rebekah and Jacob’s deception.  The whole family suffered because of these deceptions.  Rebekah suffered because she would not see her son again and Jacob had to leave home in fear of his life.

Have you ever panicked like Rebekah and took matters into your own hands instead of waiting on God?

Isaac blessed Jacob thinking it was Esau.  He wasn’t thinking about God’s promise being fulfilled.  He ignored God’s Word.  Esau came in from hunting and Isaac realized who he had really blessed.  Verse 33 says “Isaac trembled violently”.  Isaac knew nothing could stop the plan of God.  He had made a mess with his own desires.  When Esau found out about the deception and asked if Isaac had a blessing for him, too. – Gen. 27:1-38.  “His father Isaac answered him, ‘Your dwelling will be away from the earth’s richness, away from the dew of heaven above.  You will live by the sword and you will serve your brother.  But when you grow restless, you will throw his yoke from off your neck.’”Gen. 27:39-40.

Have you ever been deceived by someone? 
How did you handle it?
Have you forgiven those who have wronged you?  Life is not always fair, but God is.  Trust in His sovereignty.

Isaac was a man who loved God.  He blessed his two sons even though the blessings were not what he had planned.  They were as God had planned.  Isaac was grieved by the deception, but accepted what happened.  Can you do the same?  God is in control.  We can trust in that.

Esau then held a grudge against Jacob, because he received the blessing of the first born so he wanted to kill Jacob.  Rebekah told Jacob and he ran to his uncle, Laban in Haran to stay with him for a while. 

Isaac surrendered to God.  He reconfirms his blessing to Jacob before sending him away to Padanaram.  Rebekah was worried that Jacob would marry a Canaanite woman while he was there, so Isaac told him not to marry a Canaanite.  Instead he was to go to his own people for a wife.  When Esau heard that the daughters of Canaan did not please Isaac, he went to Ishmael and married from among his family in addition to the wives he already had.  Remember Ishmael’s first wife was an Egyptian.  Esau did this for just for spite. – Gen. 28:1-9.

Submissive faith humbly surrenders to the wisdom and will of God.

How do you describe your faith?
Are you suborn or submissive?

Hebrews 11 commends Abraham and Isaac for how they submitted to God.  They are not remembered for their mistakes.  God remembers our mistakes no more.

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