Genesis 24-26

Genesis 24-26…Isaac marries Rebekah, Abraham dies, Jacob and Esau are born to Isaac and Rebekah, and Isaac interacts with King Abimelech.

Abraham sends his senior servant out to find a wife for Isaac. He gives specific instructions, and the servant demonstrates a model of prayer encouraged throughout the Bible. Since it was unknown what the will of the Lord was with regard to the specific person Isaac should marry, Abraham’s servant prays this prayer in Genesis 24:42:

“Lord, God of my master Abraham, if you will, please grant success to the journey on which I have come.”

This is exactly how we’re instructed to pray in James 4:13-17, particularly when we don’t know what the Lord’s will is:

“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”

The Lord answers the prayer of the servant, and Rebekah is brought back to marry Isaac.

Abraham dies in chapter 25, and then Rebekah and Isaac have twin sons; Jacob and Esau. The doctrine of election is revealed in Genesis 25:23, where the Lord says to Rebekah:

“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 elder will serve the younger.”

God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy. The doctrine of election is true, and good, and is often resisted and/or denied because it puts into perspective how small and helpless we are to save ourselves. Based on what we’ve seen so far in Genesis, it shouldn’t surprise us that election is resisted by humans. We like to think we’re ok, and that we don’t need to be rescued. However, a right view of the human condition, allows for a right view of the doctrine of election. This teaching is abundantly clear throughout scripture, and Paul further explains in Romans 9:10-13:

“Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad – in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls – she was told, ‘The older will serve the younger.’ Just as it is written: ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.'”

It’s important to note that the elect will repent and believe in Christ and produce spiritual fruit, and that is how we know who is saved. Praying the sinner’s prayer, responding to an alter call, and/or being baptized means absolutely nothing unless there is a change. There is nothing magical about any of those things, and we need to be sure we’re not relying upon them for assurance of our salvation.

In Genesis 26, Isaac does the exact same thing his forefathers did; he lies because of his fear of man, and his unbelief. He tells King Abimelech that Rebekah is his sister, and the King banishes him from Gerar. What happens next is truly remarkable, and shows once again what God is like. Genesis 26:23-24 tells us:

“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.’”

God is unbelievably patient with His people. He has been patient with us too, consistently pulling us back to Himself, and preserving us for the day in which we will see Him face to face. One way to grow in godliness, is to approach our relationships with this perspective: Since God is patient with us, and since our own offenses against Him are far worse than those against us from others, we should exercise patience and humility with those offending us.


Genesis 21-23

Genesis 21-23…Isaac is born, Ishmael and Hagar are sent away, Abraham is tested, and Sarah dies.

It is just like God, to use the most unlikely circumstances for His glory. He would take stiff-necked people, with fluctuating faith like Abraham and Sarah, and bring about something so miraculous in their lives that they would grow in their trust in Him. Isaac is born, and is the son of a couple who are too old to have children. He is the promised seed, but there would be one to come in his lineage, who would ultimately save sinners. Christ would also be born into circumstances which would seem strange and unlikely from a human perspective.

Upon Isaac’s birth, Ishmael was jealous, and mocked him. Sarah requests that Hagar and Ishmael leave, and God agrees. God, however, did not abandon Hagar and her child. They were stranded in the desert of Beersheba, dying from thirst. An angel of the Lord came to Hagar, showed her a well, and they were saved. Hagar later found an Egyptian wife for Ishmael and he fathered 12 sons, just as Isaac’s son Jacob would. Two generations later, God used the descendants of Ishmael to save the Jewish nation. Isaac’s grandsons sold their brother Joseph into slavery to Ishmaelite traders. They took Joseph to Egypt and sold him again. Joseph eventually rose to become second in command of the entire country and saved his father and brothers during a great famine. This is a great example of how God can use anyone, and can save anyone. There is no one out of the reach of the Lord. Isaiah 59:1 confirms this truth: Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. We need to keep praying for those in our lives who are lost. If God saved you, He can save them.

Genesis 22 is a demonstration of how much Abraham had matured in his faith. God requests that he sacrifice Isaac, and Abraham obeys. The Lord is testing him to see if he really trusts Him. In Genesis 22:8, Abraham says, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” God does provide the sacrifice, and Isaac is spared. This is also a foreshadowing of God’s love for us. He was willing to give up His own Son, whom He loved, and sacrificed Him for our sake.

Sarah dies in Genesis 23. The longest life must shortly come to a close. How loose then should we hold on to all earthly attachments? Let us seek rather to store up treasures in heaven.

Matthew 6:19-21
19 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.