Now we move on to Isaac’s public confirmation of the blessing of Jacob and we need to consider two things: its importance and its content. a. It’s Importance. First, what was done in secret needs to be brought to light. Remember, that the blessing of Jacob was done through deception and against the will of Isaac. This second pronouncement of the blessing establishes what has been done. Everyone in the family would be expecting Esau to be the one to receive the blessing but this announcement would set everyone straight. There could be no debate or delegitimizing later on after Isaac’s death. Though Jacob received the blessing through underhanded means Isaac has placed the legal stamp upon it. The second thing that this public blessing accomplishes is that it warns Esau to stand down. Jacob is now the blessed and the owner of the birthright. To go against Jacob would invite the wrath of God. Thirdly, this blessing is an encouragement to Jacob. He is leaving his home, his mother, his inheritance, everything to go live with his uncle. Jacob needs to hear the blessing that this journey will not end in destruction away from the land but in all that God has promised. Even though Jacob, up until this point, had been trusting in his skills as a con man he now must trust in God. b. It’s Content. Let’s take a brief look at the content of the blessing from Isaac. Isaac says that God Almighty bless you. This ought to remind Jacob that the blessing is not ultimately from Isaac and not because he cheated his brother but because God is El-Shaddai, the all-powerful one. The omnipotent one has chosen to bless him. God does not have to bless him because he is El-Shaddai and is constrained by no one. This blessing is coming despite Jacob’s actions not because of his treachery. The blessing contains the three main blessings we have seen repeatedly through the stories of Abraham and Isaac: people, land, and blessing to the nations. But as we have learned God continually lifts the veil on how momentous this blessing is. Look at the phrase “you may become a company of peoples.” We haven’t seen this before. The expansiveness of this blessing is growing. Now we are seeing another side of this blessing to the nations. Jacob will become an assembly of nations. Paul in the book of Romans tells us that Jacob is like the root of a tree. Some of his descendants will trespass God’s law and will be cut off but God will ingraft the Gentile nations like a wild olive shoot into Jacob’s tree. Isaac is saying that the blessing of God, the blessing to the nations is the assembly of nations or the church. Paul explains this in Galatians 3:8 when he says, “and the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” If you are a Christian, then by faith, you have become one of those people in Jacob’s assembly of nations. Let us also consider what Isaac says about the land. “That you may take possession of the land of your sojournings that God gave to Abraham.” Isn’t it interesting that the land was given to Abraham but here, his grandson, is sojourning? If it’s Abraham’s land why is Jacob a sojourner? Why does Isaac speak of taking possession of it when it belongs to the family already? The writer of Hebrews tells us that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob lived in the land of promise as in a foreign land. They knew that they were “strangers and exiles on earth,” not just in the promised land. These three men were waiting for a “city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.” They were seeking a homeland, but they weren’t “thinking of the land from which they had gone out, they would have had an opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.” Because they felt this way God is not ashamed to be called the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And because of their faith in a heavenly homeland God has prepared a city for them.
a. The Lord Appears 23-24. Some time passes and Isaac moves on from Rehoboth back to Beersheba. On the night that they arrived and set up camp, the Lord appears to him. God knows what we need when we need it. After all this trouble with the Philistines, God has some encouragement for Isaac. First, God says that he is “the God of Abraham your father.” Look at how close God is to Isaac. He does not say, I am El-Shaddai but your father Abraham’s God. The God of the Old Testament is not some far-off vengeful deity. He is our father’s God. Then the Lord says, fear not. Why? Because he was with Isaac too. He was Isaac’s God just like he was Abraham’s. Then God goes back to the covenant promises, his stated word. I will bless you and multiply you. And then God reminds Isaac of his place in all this, “for my servant Abraham’s sake.” Not because of who Isaac is or what he has done, but because of his deceased father. That’s grace again. That’s undeserved or unearned favor. b. Isaac Worships 25. After the Lord leaves Isaac, his response is to build an altar, hold a worship service, and make plans to stay there for a while. The encouragement of God, the reminder of the blessing and promise and the statement of the certainty of the blessing and promise invoke worship. Honoring God and giving thanks, according to Romans 1, are the correct response to God.
a. ANOTHER WIFE. As we begin the text we see that Abraham took another wife named Keturah. There are many speculations and stories that have been created around Keturah. Since not much is told people like to try and fill in the details. Since the mention of Keturah comes at the end of Abraham’s life we can probably safely assume that he did not take her to be his wife until after the death of Sarah. In verse six it mentions the concubines of Abraham which many assume to be a reference to Hagar and Keturah. They were both the concubines of Abraham and were never given the status of Sarah as a full wife. If you read 1 Chronicles 1:32 it calls Keturah a concubine. What we know for sure is that Keturah gave Abraham six more sons. Though far from being a numerous as the sand on the seashore, God is fulfilling the promise to Abraham that he would be the father of multitudes. Most of these descendants we don’t know exactly what happened to them. They were probably enveloped into the local people and became the ancestors of the Arab people. But the Bible does talk about one son and his family. b. THE HALF BROTHER MIDIAN. Midian is a name that becomes familiar as you read the Bible. If you continue past Genesis into Exodus you read about Moses who kills an Egyptian. To avoid the vengeful Pharaoh, Moses flees to the land of the Midianites. It is there in the area named after Midian that Moses hears from God through the burning bush. Moses takes a wife from there named Zipporah. This half-brother of Isaac doesn’t stray too far from the chosen son. Yet their presence was usually not a good one. Often, we see the Midianites harassing the children of Isaac. Many of you know the story of Gideon in Judges 6. It is the Midianites who are the enemy of the story. These families were both the children of Abraham and yet had two divergent paths.
Hope for the Lost: Conclusion
Part 4 of 4
And so we have come back to the promises of God. Do you see how important it is to know them in relation to prayer? James told us that, “you do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” Your prayer life is ineffective if you are praying something other than what God has promised. We are to ask for what we know we will receive. If we want to be friends with God then the world must be our enemy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
Do you have a hope for the lost like Abraham? If you want a greater passion for the lost, if you really want to see people saved, then you need to get to know the Judge better. Only by knowing who he is and what he has promised to do will you ever find a desire in your heart to see the lost come to faith. You must submit yourself and your desires to God. Draw near to him.
Did you also see the picture of Christ in this passage? Did you see the foreshadowing? Jesus on the night that he would die stood before the Lord and interceded on behalf of his apostles and all those who would believe because of the message that they shared. Did you see the beginnings of the great doctrines of substitution and representation? In the cities, 10 righteous would spare the city. In Christ, the one righteous would secure the salvation of the multitudes.
In this chapter, we have seen the glory of God’s promise, his mercy, his electing love, and grace. But lest we forget, these qualities necessitate that God is just and wrathful against sin, which we will see displayed in the next chapter as his judgment is displayed.
The call to us today is to be a friend of God.
Part 5 of 6. As mind-blowing as the promise was, Abraham was called to belief displayed by action. If he did believe in God then it would be shown by his obedience in circumcising the men of his household. That is exactly what we see.
Part 3 of 4. After the last question God gave him a sign, the stars, as a reminder of the promise. Now, with the land God gives Abram another visible sign.
Part 4 of 6. The problem is that Abram has traded the promise of God for, in his eyes, what is more of a sure thing. God promised that he would be a great nation but Abram’s actions have placed that promise in danger. Though Abram has done this, God is faithful.
Part 5 of 6. Why didn’t Abram build a home in the land that God promised? The writer of Hebrews explains it to us this way, “For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.”
Part 2 of 5. Noah and his family walked out of the ark just as God had said. The promise that Noah would survive the worldwide judgment had been kept. God always does what he says he will.
Part 5 of 5. God made an everlasting covenant with Noah, his descendants, and the animals that he would never again flood the entire earth. This promise is as true as the day he first put the rainbow in the sky. God has given us signs for a reason.