GREAT PEOPLE OF THE BIBLE SERIES

Study 3

ISAAC

Isaac was a miracle baby. He grew up in an environment of faith. Yet when his birth was announced it was anything but a response of faith.

1. Note Genesis 17:15-19 and describe Abrahamís response to Godís promise of Isaacís birth-

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2. Note Genesis 18:10-13 and describe Sarahís response to Godís promise of a son-

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Interestingly, the name Isaac means laughter which was the response of both his parents. Their response came after Abraham had already had a son with Hagar.

3. Why did Abraham and Hagar have a son (Ishmael), and whose idea was it?

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Ishmael was the result of human scheming to bring about divine promises. He stands in contrast to Isaac who was the divine plan corresponding to the divine promise. Ishmael stands as a warning to us that we must be patient when it comes to receiving Godís promises.

4. What does Hebrews 6:12 say we need in order to receive Godís promises?

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How was Isaac parented? He was probably moddle-coddled by Abraham and Sarah. We have no record of his parents ever disciplining him, or of him actually needing major discipline. We could therefore surmise that Isaac was a very compliant child.

5. Because Abraham dearly loved Isaac, and that Isaac appears to have been so obedient, how would they each have felt during the episode of Genesis 22:1-12?

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Abraham was also probably very protective Isaac. He probably fought hard to ensure that Isaac never had to fight for anything. Abraham was a man accustomed to war and fighting, but Isaac never fought a battle.

6. In fact when Isaac was in a confrontational situations, he had a consistent way of reacting. What was it? Note Genesis 26:19-21

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This was clearly Isaacís failing. He had such a compliant and non-assertive nature, that he never fought for anything. This failing was no mere extreme passivism. It actually bordered on laziness. By the time Isaac was an older man he probably had advanced diabetes through his obesity. He was blind. He was sickly.

7. How does Genesis 27:1-4 confirm this?

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Some scholars believe that Isaac bonded to Rebekah as a mother figure rather than as his wife. This too points to Isaac being a very submissive, non-assertive, compliant, door mat.

8. How does Genesis 25:67 support this theory that Rebekah was more of a mother than a wife to Isaac?

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Isaac lived under the shadow of his father, Abraham, and was then seemingly dominated by his wife. Eventually he had twin children himself. Perhaps this was the result of the only battle Isaac ever waged.

9. How intensely did Isaac fight this battle though according to Genesis 25:21?

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I wonder whether this was prompted at Isaacís own initiative(?). Interestingly, he only fathered Esau and Jacob, whereas his passionate, assertive father (Abraham) had eight children in all (refer to Gen. 25:2). Like his father, Isaac went down to Egypt when food was scarce. Like his father, he told Pharaoh that his wife was his sister. But unlike his father, he has to lie to do it.

HIS OFFSPRING

What kind of father was Isaac? He had two very different sons. While he adored Esau, he was less favourable to Jacob. Curiously though, Esau bore no physical or personality resemblance to Isaac.

10. Then why do you think he felt so warm toward Esau, and so cold toward Jacob?

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Although Isaac was supposedly sickly and near death when he summoned his two sons to his "death-bed". During this episode we are given a glimpse of the power of blessing.

11. Note Genesis 27:28-29 and comment on the blessing that Jacob received and how it changed his life. Why couldnít he give a similar blessing to Esau? (Genesis 27:33-34)

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Isaac is no-where commended in the New Testament. There is much we can learn from his life although unfortunately it is generally negative (that is, what not to do). May God give us the grace to learn these lessons.

Amen.

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© 2001 Andrew Corbett, Legana, Tasmania