Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Character Study on Isaac

Isaac was predominantly spoken of in the Bible in Gen 17-35.
Abraham had 2 sons who were talked about in the Bible- Ishmael and Isaac. Ishmael was abandoned but Isaac was the child of the promise. Isaac holds an important place in the lineage of Jesus because Jesus was born through the lineage of Isaac.

The name Isaac means ‘Laughter’. Isaac brought laughter before and after his birth. But both the times Sarah laughed with two different temperaments. God promised Isaac to Abraham and Sarah when Abraham was 100yrs old (Gen 21:5) and Sarah was 90. So Sarah ‘laughed’ with doubt (Genesis 18:12). When God’s promise was fulfilled she laughed with joy (Gen 21:6). Through Isaac’s miraculous birth, God’s eternal purpose for the blessing of the world was fulfilled (Gen 22:18). So Isaac was a special child. We are going to look into Isaac’s life as an individual, as a husband and as a father.

Isaac as an individual:
He was an ordinary man with no great gifts or talents. All he could boast was of his father’s riches. His father Abraham was very wealthy during that time. Isaac was the only heir to his father’s wealth. Other than that he dint have any specialty as an individual. Abraham was the Father of faith and father of nations, and Jacob Isaac’s son- wrestled with God but there isn’t anything significant about Isaac.
Bible scholars say Isaac was in his twenties when God tested Abraham’s faith by asking him to sacrifice Isaac. In that age one usually doesn’t follow his or her father. But Isaac was very obedient, and trusted what his father was doing. When Abraham said God will provide the sacrifice, Isaac did not ask any more questions, he just followed.
Isaac had Godly parents. He had respect for his parents and elders. His dad would have been his role model. He accepted the wife his dad had arranged for him with the help of his servant (Gen 24).He did not marry any heathen women. As it says in 2Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? It says so clearly that we as believers we should not marry unbelievers. Isaac did the right thing by marrying Rebecca a girl from his own tribe.
He had a relationship with God (Gen 24:63). He went separately and prayed to God when Eleazar went to look for a bride. How many of us spend quality time with God. We see that Isaac prayed for his bride-to-be. When Eleazar went looking for a bride, Isaac was praying to God.
He was good in his trade, which is agriculture (Gen 26:12-14).He reaped a 100 fold (10 000%). The Lord blessed him so much that even his enemies were envious of him. The philistines testified that they could see that the true God was with Isaac. What a testimony!
He was a very persistent young man (Gen 26: 17-22). He kept on opening wells even when the Gerar herdsmen were quarreling with Isaac’s herdsmen. God had promised Isaac that he will be blessed and that he will flourish in Gerar. So he held on to the promise and overcame all the herdsmen who tried to block his blessing by either closing the wells or chasing Isaac from that place. Isaac pressed on. So many times we give up easily. When one hurdle comes we lose heart and start thinking negative.

Isaac as a husband:
Isaac stepped into his wedlock at the age of 40 (Gen 25:20).
He loved Rebecca (Gen 24:67) in the early stages of their marriage. When Rebecca did not conceive for 20 years after marriage, he prayed for her. Isaac’s prayer was answered Gen 25:21). We learn the power of the husband’s prayer for the wife.
Isaac and Rebecca went to Gerar when there was a famine in Ur. Isaac lied to the philistine men that Rebecca was his sister. He lied to protect himself. He did not think of ways to protect his wife. He was afraid that he be killed if he said she was his wife, in want of her. He was a selfish man and was afraid of losing his life (Gen 26: 1-10). He did not have the courage to face it. Do we do what Isaac did? Do we run away from crisis or we caste our burdens on the Lord and trust Him to take care?
In the later part of their marriage we see there was no love between Rebecca and Isaac. The initial love for each other did not last till the end.

Isaac as a father:
Isaac did not do very well as a father. We don’t learn much from his parenthood. He was biased. He favored Esau. Rebecca loved Jacob. He did not instill the same character on his children as his father had instilled in him. We see that Esau ended up marrying Hittite women (Gen 26:34, 35).

On the whole Isaac’s life was disappointing characterized by slow degeneration rather than steady growth. He was sacrificial later on he became selfish. Let us examine our self and see if our relation with God is going a step forward or in the same spot or is it sliding backward? Is our life touching more people by the day or is not touching anyone at all?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the study. Gave a different insight, particularly highlighting the least mentioned of the Patriarchs.

However three points to note:

1. Abraham had 8 sons - Ishmael (Hagar), Isaac (Sarah), Zimran, Joksan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah (6 through Keturah - Gen 25), not just 2.

2. Though Eleazar (slave) is mentioned as a possible heir (Gen 15), there is no mention of the name of the servant who went to fetch a bride for Isaac.

3. I've not come across the number of years Rebekah was barren. You've mentioned it as 20. Can you please cite the reference.

/Keep going!!!

Anonymous said...

Re 1. Yes, more sons, but just two most talked about for the purpose of one being of the Lord and one being of sinful man.

Re 2. It is assumed to be Eliezer because it states "chief servant in his household, the one in charge of all he had."

Re 3. v 20 states that Isaac was 40 when he was married to Rebekah and then v 26 states he was 60 when Jacob and Esau was born.

Anonymous said...

If Isaac was 40 when he married Rebecca its true that she was barren for 20 years because Genesis 25:26 says he was 60 when she gave birth.

Anonymous said...

The bible talk little of Isaac this means heI'did every of God commandments.