Children’s Study – Isaac, Part 1

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Isaac – Part 1, Isaac waited on the Lord’s promise

In the last study, we saw Abraham giving all he had to Isaac before he died. We also saw Abraham giving his other sons gifts before sending them away to Babylon.

Gen 25:5 (ESV) Abraham gave all he had to Isaac.
Gen 25:6 But to the sons of his concubines Abraham gave gifts, and while he was still living he sent them away from his son Isaac, eastward to the east country.

To some, this may seem a very cruel thing for a father to do, but we must keep in mind that Abraham is just being obedient to what the Lord wants. Times will come in our lives that we will need to do things that are very difficult for us, because that’s what God wants us to do. Abraham is now given the faith to send his other sons away readily, unlike with Ishmael where Abraham pleaded to the Lord to not make him send Ishmael away.

We have seen this faith given to Isaac also, even when he was still very young. He trusted his father when he was about to get sacrificed on the altar.

Gen 22:6 (ERV) Abraham took the wood for the sacrifice and put it on his son’s shoulder. Abraham took the special knife and fire. Then both he and his son went together to the place for worship.
Gen 22:7 Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!” Abraham answered, “Yes, son?” Isaac said, “I see the wood and the fire. But where is the lamb we will burn as a sacrifice?”
Gen 22:8 Abraham answered, “God himself is providing the lamb for the sacrifice, my son.” So both Abraham and his son went together to that place.
Gen 22:9 When they came to the place where God told them to go, Abraham built an altar. He carefully laid the wood on the altar. Then he tied up his son Isaac and laid him on the altar on top of the wood.
Gen 22:10 Then Abraham reached for his knife to kill his son.

This is one of the most dramatic scenes in the Bible. Here we see Abraham trusting God will resurrect Isaac. But we also see Isaac trusting that his father knows what he’s doing and everything will work out for his good.

Rom 8:28 (MKJV) And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Children, do you trust your parents like this? Do you trust them when they tell you to work hard in everything you do, including your studies, because it is for your own good? Do you trust them when they tell you to give up certain TV shows or video games or music because they are not good for you? Do you trust them when they tell you that they discipline you because they love you?

The best example of trusting ones parents is our Lord Jesus Christ.

Luk 22:42 (GW) “Father, if it is your will, take this cup of suffering away from me. However, your will must be done, not mine.”
Luk 22:43 Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength.
Luk 22:44 So he prayed very hard in anguish. His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground.

Our Lord knew the great suffering that He was to go through, but still He trusted His Father and said, “Your will must be done, not mine”.

Notice two things from the verses above. First, the Father sent an angel to give Christ strength. This tells us that God will give us the strength to go through the trials that we have to go through. Secondly, our Lord prayed very hard; other translations says “He prayed more earnestly”. This is what we need to do when we are suffering or one of our loved ones is in pain. We need to pray to God to strengthen us and give us comfort so that we could go through these trials. These trials makes us strong. Without them, we will not mature and we will fold or throw a tantrum whenever we don’t get what we want.

Jas 1:2 (ERV) My brothers and sisters, you will have many kinds of trouble. But this gives you a reason to be very happy.
Jas 1:3 You know that when your faith is tested, you learn to be patient in suffering.
Jas 1:4 If you let that patience work in you, the end result will be good. You will be mature and complete. You will be all that God wants you to be.

Let’s continue the story:

Gen 25:12 (ESV) These are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s servant, bore to Abraham.

We are reminded again that Ishmael was raised by an Egyptian mother. Not only that, but his mother married him to an Egyptian wife.

Gen 21:21 (MKJV) And he lived in the wilderness of Paran, and his mother took a wife for him out of the land of Egypt.

Contrast this to Isaac who was raised by a godly father and mother and was also given a godly wife. Now you see the importance of being raised by godly parents and having godly people around you.

Gen 25:13 (ESV) These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, named in the order of their birth: Nebaioth, the firstborn of Ishmael; and Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam,
Gen 25:14 Mishma, Dumah, Massa,
Gen 25:15 Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah.
Gen 25:16 These are the sons of Ishmael and these are their names, by their villages and by their encampments, twelve princes according to their tribes.
Gen 25:17 (These are the years of the life of Ishmael: 137 years. He breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people.)
Gen 25:18 They settled from Havilah to Shur, which is opposite Egypt in the direction of Assyria. He settled over against all his kinsmen.

“He settled over against all his kinsmen” is also translated “they often attacked his brothers’ people.” Some people teach that Ishmael and his sons are the symbols of Muslims who hate the Christians. But this is not seeing the big picture. Ever since Cain and Abel, God has shown us that His elect will be hated by the whole world, especially by those who call themselves Christians. So Ishmael, like Cain, is a symbol of the whole world which belongs to the evil one.

1Jn 3:11 (ERV) This is the teaching you have heard from the beginning: We must love each other.
1Jn 3:12 Don’t be like Cain. He belonged to the Evil One. Cain killed his brother. But why did he kill him? Because what Cain did was evil, and what his brother did was good.
1Jn 3:13 Brothers and sisters, don’t be surprised when the people of this world hate you.

But when we are hated by the world, we must remind ourselves not to hate back. We must remember that they are just being used by God to try us. These people are also used by God to punish us when we rebel against God. Notice where the descendants of Ishmael live:

Gen 25:18 They settled from Havilah to Shur, which is opposite Egypt in the direction of Assyria. He settled over against all his kinsmen.

And here is how the Lord uses these people:

Isa 10:5 (ERV) The Lord says, “I will use Assyria like a stick. In my anger I will use Assyria to punish Israel.
Isa 10:6 I will send Assyria to fight against the people who do evil. I am angry with them, and I will command Assyria to fight against them. Assyria will defeat them and take their wealth. Israel will be like dirt for Assyria to walk on in the streets.

Do these people know that they are being used by God in such a way?

Isa 10:7 (ERV) “But Assyria does not understand that I will use him. He does not think of himself as my tool. He only wants to destroy other people. He only plans to destroy many nations.

Babylon is in Assyria, so Babylon and Assyria are the same. Babylon or the people of this world do not know that God uses them as a tool to punish those who rebel against Him. They do not understand that God is using them to be the enemy of His elect. The elect must understand this so that they don’t resent those who hate them and persecute them.

Now let’s look at Isaac’s generations or family:

Gen 25:19 (ESV) These are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham fathered Isaac,
Gen 25:20 and Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean, to be his wife.
Gen 25:21 And Isaac prayed to the LORD for his wife, because she was barren. And the LORD granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived.

Like his father Abraham, Isaac’s faith was also tried because his wife was also barren. If we don’t pay attention, Genesis 25:21 will look like Isaac’s prayer is answered immediately. But, let’s look at verses 20 and 26 together to see how long Isaac and Rebekah had to wait for a child:

Gen 25:20 and Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah…to be his wife.

Gen 25:26 Afterward his brother came out with his hand holding Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.

So Isaac and Rebekah had to wait for 20 years before they had children! Unlike their parents though, they waited on the Lord to fulfill His promise. They did not take matters into their own hands.

Remember how Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham so that they could have a child right away? Abraham and Sarah were impatient, and Abraham had already learned the lesson so he must have taught Isaac and Rebekah to wait for the Lord to fulfill this promise:

Gen 21:12 (ERV) But God said to Abraham, “Don’t worry about the boy and the slave woman. Do what Sarah wants. Your descendants will be those who come through Isaac.

And the Lord blessed not only Isaac and Rebekah with these children, but also Abraham who saw Jacob and Esau born when he was 160 years old (Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born (Gen 21:5), and Isaac was sixty years old when his sons were born).

Psa 27:13 (ERV) But I really believe that I will see the LORD’S goodness before I die.

Psa 27:14 (ESV) Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!

Let’s continue the story:

Gen 25:22 (GNB) She was going to have twins, and before they were born, they struggled against each other in her womb. She said, “Why should something like this happen to me?” So she went to ask the LORD for an answer.

Before they were born, Jacob and Esau are already struggling against each other! We are again seeing the same pattern with Cain and Abel, Ishmael and Isaac, the people of this world versus the elect of God. But this same struggle is also happening inside of us. It is the struggle of the old man and the new man. The struggle of evil and good inside us.

The apostle Paul described this struggle this way:

Rom 7:21 (ERV) So I have learned this rule: When I want to do good, evil is there with me.
Rom 7:22 In my mind I am happy with God’s law.
Rom 7:23 But I see another law working in my body. That law makes war against the law that my mind accepts. That other law working in my body is the law of sin, and that law makes me its prisoner.

In other words, these two babies fighting inside Rebekah is a symbol of our old man fighting against our new man. Our old man wants to do things that are against God’s law and our new man wants to obey God’s laws.

Gen 25:23 (GNB) The LORD said to her, “Two nations are within you; You will give birth to two rival peoples. One will be stronger than the other; The older will serve the younger.”

rival – opponent, enemy

Not a lot of people realize how big this statement is: “the older will serve the younger”. This is the Lord promising us that this struggle between good and evil inside us will someday end. It will end in the triumph of the good.

Gen 25:24 The time came for her to give birth, and she had twin sons.
Gen 25:25 The first one was reddish, and his skin was like a hairy robe, so he was named Esau.
Gen 25:26 The second one was born holding on tightly to the heel of Esau, so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when they were born.
Gen 25:27 The boys grew up, and Esau became a skilled hunter, a man who loved the outdoors, but Jacob was a quiet man who stayed at home.
Gen 25:28 Isaac preferred Esau, because he enjoyed eating the animals Esau killed, but Rebecca preferred Jacob.
Gen 25:29 One day while Jacob was cooking some bean soup, Esau came in from hunting. He was hungry
Gen 25:30 and said to Jacob, “I’m starving; give me some of that red stuff.” (That is why he was named Edom. )
Gen 25:31 Jacob answered, “I will give it to you if you give me your rights as the first-born son.”
Gen 25:32 Esau said, “All right! I am about to die; what good will my rights do me?”
Gen 25:33 Jacob answered, “First make a vow that you will give me your rights.” Esau made the vow and gave his rights to Jacob.
Gen 25:34 Then Jacob gave him some bread and some of the soup. He ate and drank and then got up and left. That was all Esau cared about his rights as the first-born son.

Next time, Lord willing, we will continue the story of Isaac and learn more golden lessons from God.

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