Genesis #10 – God Provides & Prevails

 

And Abraham called the name of the place, The Lord Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
—Genesis 22:14

Genesis So Far…

• “Milestones” covered so far:

You’ll recall that we introduced this study in Genesis by stating we were going to look at the major milestones of the book, rather than go chapter by chapter covering all of the content as we go.  Here are the milestones covered up to this point in our studies:

    • Creation, Gen.1-2 – Sessions 1-2
    • The Fall, Gen.3-5 – Sessions 3-4
    • Generations of Sin and the Flood, Gen.6-11 – Sessions 5-6
    • Abraham, Gen.12-25 – Sessions 7-12
    • Remember the re-occurring Hebrew word “teledoth”, translated generation” or “milestone”.  This word provides a basic outline of Genesis.
      • Most versions including the NAS translates this word “generations”, NKJV “genealogy”, CSB “family records”
      • Moses crafted his use of this word to mark the main segments of the book – 2:4; 5:1; 6:9; 10:1; 11:10; 11:27; 25:12; 25:19; 36:1; 36:9; 37:2
      • The word now occurs now in 25:19 as the narrative shifts to the “generations” of Isaac, the Seed Bearer.

• The Importance of the Abrahamic Covenant

  • This covenant is not just the basis for God’s blessings on the Jews, but for all  men of every nation, every time period.
    • In Rom. 2:28-29, note the “circumcision of the heart.”  Consider all of  Romans 9-11.  God has not set aside the Jews, He will deal with Israel just as faithfully as the individual Christian).  See also Rom. 4:1-17; Gal.3:15-16, 29.
  • Genesis 23-25
    • 23 – Sarah’s death & burial
    • 24 – Abraham sends his servant to get a wife for Isaac, Rebekah
    • 25 – Abraham marries Keturah, 6 sons, his burial, birth of Jacob & Esau, Esau sells birthright
    • 25:19ff is the biblical record of Isaac’s descendants

Genesis 26 – From Famine to Revelation

• Gen. 26-36

    • After Abraham, most of the narrative is the wanderings of his sons
    • Isaac’s misadventures covered in Gen.26-27
    • After Gen 28:1, Isaac isn’t mentioned again until his death in 35:27
    • Isaac’s history doesn’t require much space in the biblical account, his life seemingly quiet, uneventful, and unremarkable

Bible Study Journal
Review Gen. 26-36 and note how the Abrahamic Covenant is mentioned.  Where did Isaac travel to?  How did God speak to him?

• Gen. 26 – Isaac & Abimelech

    • Amazing that this encounter sounds so much like Isaac’s father Abraham
    • Note the foolish cycles of Famine & Revelation, Obedience & Deceit in these verses
    • Then Abimelech appears, just like the man Abraham dealt with in Gen. 20  – but wait! it’s the same title (not the guy’s actual name) but this is a different ruler of the same nation perhaps 50-100 years later
    • Philistines – although friendly to Abraham & Isaac, they later became fierce warrior enemies of Israel (see Saul & David)

• Gen. 26:2-5 – God’s First Revelation to Isaac – slow down!

    • Although it looks like he was headed for Egypt, probably to escape the famine, God made His first appearance to Isaac to tell him that’s too far, stay in the Promised Land – God anchors this revelation/command to the covenant made with Abraham

• Gen. 26:4 – Keeping the Law

    • “Keep the Law” = believing in God and the primacy of His Law (i.e., principles) as the basis of life
    • As Moses is writing this, is he taking an opportunity to emphasize his ultimate experience? Perhaps by God’s inspiration and Moses’ life experience and skills, he is crafting the Pentateuch as one complete narrative; by writing this , he confirms that what God revealed to him while leading Israel in the wilderness is truth that reaches back to God’s earliest dealings with man
    • Note that Gen 15:6 and 26:4 support and complete each other

Genesis 26 – Chasing Wells

• 26:9, Abimelech “quite obviously she is your wife!”

    • Too bad that men aren’t so rapidly confronted by the truth of God all the time, it would spare our families of much turmoil
      o  In 2 Sam. 12:7, compare the prophet Nathan’s confrontation of David after his sin with Bathsheba – “you are the man!” –take a few minutes to read this whole story in 11:1-12:25
    • Digging wells – 26:15, 18-25, 32; 27
      • Think about how the life of a nomad would be driven by having a well
      • Isaac’s history is notable for his stability and accomplishment of great wealth; he didn’t pioneer so much as he consolidated, strengthened the claim to the Promised Land
      • Rehoboth – a great word referring to having “enough room” to spread out – interesting that Isaac no sooner had this “room” that he was ready to move back up to the place he really belonged, Beersheba
  • 26:23-25 – Key Verses of this chapter
    • In Rehoboth, “room enough” – abundant water… check – no hostilities… check – ok, so let’s move…
    • So he moves to Beersheba – that’s where Abraham took Isaac after sacrifice
      • Isaac is seeking God’s leading, finally becoming sensitive to God’s leading, back to land of promise
      • Now God speaks… and he builds an altar
      • Then he has a new set of priorities: build altar, worship, pitch tent, dig well (physical provision comes last)
    • God appears a second time at Beersheba
      • 26:24 again references the Abrahamic Covenant
      • God sought to affirm Isaac’s faith and that his posterity would be fruitful
    • 26:26-31 – A “State Visit” by Abimelech and his buddies
      • Unusual, what’s up?
      • They seek a treaty
      • Ends up being an unintended acknowledgement of God’s blessing on Isaac
    • Trouble in the Air…
      • Trouble in the air – vv34-35 are important backdrop for ch 27
      • Esau is the firstborn, should have been the Seed Bearer, but makes a fatal life choice that puts him on a path of failure & loss
      • Marrying Canaanite women demonstrates “buy-in” into the world’s allure, willing to compromise or even abandon faith in the One True God

Genesis 27 – Outside Submission to God

• Gen. 27 – One Amazing Story!

      • This passage reads like a dramatic comedy – the foolishness of man, but it’s not really funny
      • Allowing personal agenda to prevail brings failure & loss
      • Conspiracy upon conspiracy – Esau barters, then Jacob deceives – who wins?

• Transfer of Birthright

    • The anxiety of the chapter is conspiracy between Jacob & Esau with Isaac & Rebekah creating a tangled web
    • Isaac aged, @ 147 yrs old, thought he was about to die – last laugh: he lived another 40 years! His brother Ishmael died at 137 – around time they buried Isaac
    • But Rebekah and the boys thought they needed to rush forward; the brothers were struggling with a selfish sense of urgency for patriarchal blessing

The Drama Unfolds – the Players:

  • Isaac
    • Foolish to ignore the realities of Esau’s wandering life and think that he could overrule the verdict of God; Seems somewhat pathetic as he is destined to fail
  • Rebekah
    • Foolish to think that she needed to manipulate events to assure God did what He said He would do
  • Esau
    • Just a fool
    • Look at the emotional sorrow when faced with deep loss, 27:30ff
    • There was no reversal of past wrong decisions
    • He showed his true colors by running off to Ishmael, 28:9
  • Jacob
    • He didn’t need to deceive (God had already declared that he would be the Seed Bearer)
    • He suffered a miserable life because he did deceive – note that he never saw his mother again – 28:5, sent away to Padan Aram
    • How bad was it after this? Esau wanted him dead – Laban deceived him – His family life was full of conflict – He was exiled for years from his family – Joseph sold into Egypt

Where did the drama come from?

  • Themes of Anxiety
  • Think of the emotional trauma as things go from bad to worse
    • Jacob plays the role too well and gets led down a path of deeper deception, finally claiming that God blessed the provision of the meal – the Lord “your” God, not his – cue the lightning…(!)
    • Esau later walking in to Isaac’s tent with a smug look on his face, thinking everything was under control, only to see the look of shock on Isaac’s face
    • Isaac with the look of horror as he realizes that he’s been “had”
  • God’s wisdom
      • The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps – Proverbs 16:9
      • Many as the plans in a man’s heart, but the counsel of the Lord, it will stand – Proverbs 19:21
      • For the wrath of man shall praise You. – Psalm 76:1
    • A key conclusion from this man-centered drama:
      o Man’s sin can never frustrate the will of God, but it can fulfill it. (Deffinbaugh, bible.org)