Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Genesis 26:23-35

Yesterday we saw how Isaac increasingly showed the faith of his father as he continued to move from well to well, until finally he found a spot where he could settle in peace.

From there he went up to Beersheba. That night the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.”

Isaac built an altar there and called on the name of the LORD. There he pitched his tent, and there his servants dug a well. (Gen 26:23-25)

Of all of the things that Abraham handed down to Isaac, it was his relationship with his God that was the most important. Even though Abraham was not the perfect example, he relied on the Perfect God! So, Abraham’s God confirms the promise to Isaac that He made with Abraham. God would be with Isaac, and He would bless him! And this not only happened, but God made sure that others noticed it! Abimelech and his top advisor and his military commander paid Isaac a visit. When Isaac asked them why they had come, they answered:

“We saw clearly that the LORD was with you; so we said, ‘There ought to be a sworn agreement between us’—between us and you. Let us make a treaty with you that you will do us no harm, just as we did not harm you but always treated you well and sent you away peacefully. And now you are blessed by the LORD.” (vs. 28-29)

Even though Isaac had not been a good witness to these men earlier, God vindicated Isaac before them to show His power and His goodness. In spite of Isaac’s weakness, they could see that the LORD was with him! I love how God can overcome our times of blowing it!! He does this for HIS name’s sake, so that HE will be glorified. In our weakness, He is made strong! (2 Cor 12:5-10) So, after celebrating their pledge of peace, the men went on their way, and immediately God gave Isaac another blessing - his men found another well, which he named Beersheba, which means well of the oath.

The last two verses of this chapter could be easy to overlook, but they tell a sad story:

When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite. They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah. (vs. 34-35)

It should not surprise us that Esau impulsively took TWO pagan wives from the Hittiites. A man used to instant gratification would give little thought to such an important decision! What a heartache this was for Isaac and Rebekah, who had entered into their own marriage with the guidance of God and a commitment to His choice in their lives. They had experienced the best God had for them in marriage, so it would have broken their hearts to see Esau so casually throw aside any thought to God’s perfect plan. I would imagine that everything about these women (their laughter, their cooking, their language, their clothing, their housekeeping) drove Rebekah crazy. But worse would have been the worship of idols that they would have brought with them!

We aren’t told what Rebekah and Isaac had done, if anything, prior to Esau’s 40th birthday to lead him in the right direction. I’m guessing they tried to do all of the right things, including pray. But sometimes, in spite of our best efforts, our children will choose to rebel. So, what do you do if your child marries outside the faith? You bathe that relationship in prayer and do your best to show God’s love to the unbelieving spouse, so that you might somehow show them the truth! Tomorrow we come to a pivotal chapter in the life of this family, where we’ll see some strange family dynamics!

Have a wonderful day!


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