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Isaac: Blessed are the Peacemakers

January 25th, 2009 by Vic

Genesis 24-27

Isaac is the son of Abraham who at 30 years old allowed himself to be tied up and laid on sticks to be a sacrifice to God because he believed that God could raise him from the dead.  Isaac knew about the miracle of his birth.  He was the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah.  Isaac did not think about getting married.  He must have assumed God could make him a father without having a wife.  He’s just going about his routines.

Abraham takes the initiative to find a wife for Isaac.  We don’t know if Isaac is looking for a wife?  We don’t know if he has talked about getting married.  We have no record that he has checked out eharmony.com  Is he mingling at the singles bar?  Is he attending a singles retreat or the singles class at the big church?  Is he signing up for a dating service?  Where would you look for a wife or a husband?  24:63 says he was in the field meditating.  He was not trying to make anything happen.

When we try to make things happen, we usually mess things up.  Abraham thought his servant was a man of God whom God could use to bless the world.  Sarah’s plan was to use a surrogate mother.  Are we trying to make things happen?

Be still and know that I am God.  The Bible is our owner’s manual or more accurately a service record of humanity.  God is still speaking.  God is still hoping we will get in a place where He can bless us.  The world says we are smarter than the Bible.  They say it’s an old book and not relevant.

Isaac is meditating, communing with, praying to, chewing the cud, and rehearsing all the words of the Lord that he had heard from his father Abraham.  He was seeking God.  He was just hanging out with the Lord knowing the Lord will provide.

It is not easy to let God work.  It is a choice you make to go into the field and meditate.  Jesus suggested a closet.  Remember God is working things out for your good.  It takes effort to be patient.

1. Psalm 1 tells us to meditate on God’s Word.  We will be happy/blessed if we don’t walk in the world’s ways.  We will be deeply planted in the Word.  The best dating service may be a Bible study where you listen to God.  The best counseling service is God’s word.  His Word has power to change lives.  Man’s word has little value and costs a lot.  Man’s word has no power to change lives.

2. Psalm 37 tells us to meditate on God’s work.  Trust in the Lord and do good.  The work of the Lord is orchestrated without Isaac making it happen.  Abraham grew up saying, God helps those who help themselves.  But Abraham and Isaac learned that it is better to seek the Lord.  Seek first the kingdom of God.

24:2  Abraham talks to his eldest servant, Eliezer, who is not named in this chapter.  He is a type of the Holy Spirit.  He does not get any glory.  He does not speak of Himself.  (Jn16:7)

Abraham is confident that the Lord will send His angel before the servant and provide a wife for Isaac.

The servant traveled over 500 miles to the vicinity of Haran with 10 camels and some other servants.  At this time camels were relatively rare, and to take 10 suggests great wealth.  He stops at a well in the homeland of Abraham.  The first thing he does is pray.  He seeks the Lord.  He does not check his email.  He is too tired to even get a drink.  He had the camels kneel and he prayed.  He suggested some guidelines to the Lord so he could recognize the bride that God has chosen for Isaac out of all the women that would come to the well at this time of day.

The fleece that the servant suggested God worked within and immediately in God’s timing the first woman who came, fulfilled the prayer that the servant prayed.  It would require a very generous and gracious person to offer to water 10 camels.  They could easily drink over 50 gallons.  The servant watched in amazement.  Apparently there were several steps down to the well.  Her enthusiastic hospitality reminds us of Abraham running to prepare a meal for the strangers.  The young woman’s performance surpasses even the most optimistic expectations of the servant.   When she had finished he gave her some expensive jewelry.  Then he asked her who she was.  She was a cousin of Isaac.  The servant bowed in worship and praised God (24:26-27).  His first act at the well was prayer and so also was his last.

24:29  Laban saw the dollar signs.  He represents the world.  He sees the externals, the gold, the wealth, the shiny stuff.  His actions seem motivated by greed.

24:33  The servant had come 500 miles.  They let him take a bath while they fixed a meal.  But he would not eat until they understood why he was there.

He begins by introducing himself, but he does not give his own name.  He describes himself as Abraham’s servant.

24:54  When the family agreed to send Rebekah, the servant and his men ate dinner.  When they finished dinner, he said, “Send me back to my master.”

24:55  Laban said, don’t be so radical.  Just wait here a while.  Eat, drink and be merry.  Let’s party a while.  The servant says, “I can’t wait.  God is in this.  I have to obey God.

24:63-67  What is Isaac thinking?  What is Rebekah thinking?

25:1  Abraham married a second time.  He was probably around 135 years old.  Abraham was the father of many more nations.  Isaac remains the line of the promised seed that will bruise Satan.

There is only one promised child.  There is only 1 way.  Narrow is the way.  Jesus Christ rose from the dead like no other gods.  Jesus dealt with the sin problem like no other gods.  Others deal with morality not sin.

25:8  Ishmael and Isaac get together to bury Abraham in the cave of 2 doors.  God blessed Isaac.

25:13  Ishmael was the result of Sarah’s plan.  He was the father of 12 princes.  The names suggest that this is the beginning of Islam.

25:21  Isaac prayed for his wife.  When I don’t understand what my wife is doing, I usually make some snide remark rather than pray for her.  When we are being stupid, Jesus prays for us.  When we are spiritually barren, Jesus is praying for us.  Isaac interceded for his wife.  Here he takes the initiative and the Lord heard his prayer.

25:22 God answered his prayer, but it was a painful pregnancy.  Rebekah prayed.  Something inside her was fighting and very upsetting.  I must go to the Lord first when there is something troubling inside me.  Secular therapy knows nothing of God’s power.

We’ll review the story of Jacob and Esau next Sunday.

26:2  God appeared and renewed the covenant.  There was a famine.  Keeping bread on the table for his family was not easy.  The plains of Egypt are always watered by the Nile.  There is always food in Egypt.  He was having a hard time and God met Him there.  God has a plan.  He will provide.  He will protect.

26:7  But Isaac did not hear the promises.  God had enhanced the promises that He had made to Abraham and made the promises to Isaac and his descendants.  Isaac was afraid.  Again God protects wives with stupid husbands.  This is a different Abimelech than Abraham had lied to.  Abimelech is apparently another word for king, like the Egyptian pharaoh.  Abimelech shows he is a God-fearing man.  All of Isaac’s fears are shown to be unfounded.  How many of our fears are really justified?  Isaac knew God’s promises, but those were yesterday.  This is today.

26:14  Isaac became so wealthy that the Philistines envied him.  They also say he is more powerful than they are.  They were afraid of him and they told him to leave.  Isaac could have destroyed them, but he just moved on.  Isaac had God on his side and he was afraid.  He had not bee meditating for a while.  He had not built any altars for a while.

26:16-33  Isaac chose not to fight.  He just moved on and dug more wells.  The first well was probably the one that Abraham had bought with 7 sheep.  Then his servants found a spring at Gerar and the Philistines claimed it for themselves.  He moved on and dug a well at Esek.  Again there was contention and he moved on to Stinah.

If you look at the map you will notice that each well brings him back closer to Canaan.  There was no fighting over the well Rehoboth.  Finally he found peace.  He continued to Beersheba and that very night God appeared to him.  When he returned to the place where God had promised to bless him, God spoke.  Isaac built an altar and prayed before he pitched his tent.

What is your priority when you are camping or backpacking?  Before he set up the tent, he built an altar.  He did not do this at the other wells.  He went to some of the same wells as his father, but he had to re-dig them.  We can remember the testimony of our parents, but we need to re-dig and find the living water for ourselves and our family.  A good water supply means a good future.

God appeared to him.  The Philistine leaders came to see him.  Somehow these leaders realized that God was with Isaac.  They wrote up a treaty and there was peace.   Ps 34:13 says seek peace and pursue it.  Don’t grab wells.  Don’t chase after success, power, or popularity.  Prov 16:7-8  When a man’s ways please the Lord…better is little.

When you get what you want you will not want what you get.  Seek living water.

27:1  Isaac got old and nearly blind.  He may have been 125, but he lived to be180 (35:27).

Everyone in this story fails, but God works through their failures.  There is always tension between present reality and future hope.

1. Isaac lacks spiritual vision.  He either forgot what God had told him or he is determined to disobey God and give his blessing to the older son, Esau, rather than Jacob.  He has become stubborn.  Isaac and Rebekah are making a big mistake by choosing favorites.  Isaac is deceived by his senses.  His ears told him the truth, but he chose to believe his hands and nose.

2. Rebekah lacks trust in God.  She has a better plan.  She is going to help the Lord do what he promised.  She is manipulating and tweaking the story a little.  In that culture the mother was to be taken care of by the son the Father blesses.  She did not want Esau taking care of her.  She wanted Jacob staying around home.  She wanted Jacob taking care of her.  She messes things up big time.  Her plan resulted in not seeing Jacob for 43 years.

When kids are isolated and protected by their parents they suffer for it.  We are to teach and train our kids, but not isolate them.  We must keep committing them to the Lord.  Let the Lord do His work in the lives of our kids.

3. Jacob lacks conviction.  “I don’t want to seem like a deceiver to my dad even though I am one.  I don’t want him to see through my mask.  If he curses me, all is lost.”  His mom volunteers to take the curse so then he feels better.  It’s OK if mom takes my curse.

4.  Esau lacks control.  He despised his birthright.  He focused on feeding his flesh.  He’s a spontaneous guy that makes quick decisions.  He had married a Canaanite woman.  Then he married a relative to please his dad.  (27:41)  Esau hated Jacob.  What are you willing to give up to feed your flesh?

Each character fails and suffers the consequences.

If you are in a dry time, keep moving until you find the living water.  (Jn 7:37)  God doesn’t steer parked cars.

If you are suffering some turmoil within, delight in His word.  (Psalm 1)  Don’t walk in the world’s ways.  Only God can correctly diagnose your suffering.

When you really want answers and feel like you need to be doing something, delight in the Lord.  (Psalm 34:13)  Keep trusting.  Build an altar and thank the Lord for His promises.

The fulfillment of your dreams may come while you are in the field meditating on the Lord.  Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you.

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