GENESIS 25:1 – 27:46 AND MATTHEW 7:1–29
Abraham is indeed the father of many nations. After fathering nations through Hagar, then the promised seed of Isaac through Sarah, he again marries after the death of Sarah. Keturah is his third wife (concubine) and she bore Abraham six more sons. Most notable would be Midian (4th son) who had 5 sons of his own. Many of them became kings and spread throughout Arabia; So. East of Canaan. (See Num 31:8) The first two kings mentioned in Num 31:18 can be traced to Abraham and Keturah. Though Abraham was the father of many nations he gave all that he had to Isaac (Gen 25:5). This would naturally stir animosity amongst others toward Isaac, the seed of promise. Is this fair? How do you answer Muslims today who say we have Abraham as our Father? You agree but then cite Gen 17:19 where God makes clear whom His covenant and seed of promise will be executed through. The promise is through Isaac, not Ishmael. He gave gifts to the others and sent them away from Isaac (Gen 25:6).
Abraham dies at the age of 175 and is buried at Hebron alongside Sarah. The generations of Ishmael are mentioned in verses 12-17. Notable here is his 2nd son, Kedar. It is widely believed that the prophet of Islam can be traced to Kedar. There are interesting end time speculations that can be made as a result of the above truth. Many postulate as to who the antichrist may be. There are many who look at some of the characters in the earth today and wonder if this person may be the man of sin. The spirit of antichrist is at work today however there is a verse in Revelation that often gets overlooked.
Rev 17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.”
It says of Jesus that he is the same today, yesterday and forever. The beast (antichrist) was someone who lived before John yet was dead at the time of his writing, yet shall arise again out of the bottomless pit in the last days. Sounds simple doesn’t it? The antichrist is someone who lived before John so this should put to flight much of the speculation seen today when attributing names to the future antichrist.
Rebekah is barren as seen in verse 21 however Isaac entreats on her behalf. Interestingly, she has an internal struggle within the womb which the Lord Himself identifies as two manner of people who will later become separated. The Lord also declares that the elder shall serve the younger. God in His foreknowledge knows all things. He predestines people according to His foreknowledge in what people will choose to do. Here we find that the second child will prevail in the blessing and in the obtaining of the birth right. One could say that this was achieved when Rebekah led Jacob in his deceit against his father. God is not an “end justifies the means” type of God. There are some factors to consider:
Why not Esau? Is it fair that he as the elder brother should be denied the blessing? Well, we see something in Esau that should serve as a warning to all of us. He had an out of balance appetite. Put another way, he had no appetite for the things of God. He took for granted his status and privilege and was willing to sell his birth right for a bowl of porridge. God knew this about Esau hence his declaration before birth that Jacob in the end would prevail. What about us? Do we take for granted our walk with God? Jeremiah in his day warned on several occasions about remembering what God did at Shiloh.
Jer 7:14 Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. (See also Jer 7:12, Jer 26:6, Jer 26:9)
What happened at Shiloh? Israel lost the Ark, the presence of God presuming upon God once too often. God delivered Israel from many battles through the reign of the Judges resulting in a false sense of security in their relationship with God. Israel lightly regarded God and His presence; they lost the battle against the Philistines and they also lost the Ark (1 Sam 4:1-10). It must be understood that God knew that Esau would have no appetite for him but he did not ordain for it to happen. God gives man a free will to choose. He knows the choices man will make and predestines them accordingly. (An explanation in the Book of Romans would better express these truths) Having said the above we also find that Jacob and Rebekah also had their problems as well. In fact there is an issue between Isaac and Rebekah that needs to be made. They favoured one child over the other which contributes greatly to the problems seen in chapter 27.
This chapter begins with a famine in the land. God faithfully speaks to Isaac telling him not to go to Egypt and Isaac obeyed. God reiterates the promises to Isaac that were made to Abraham (Gen 26:4-5). God makes it clear that He is doing this due to Abraham keeping the charge, the commandments and the law. I know I keep bringing up the priesthood but we see again these qualities being brought out concerning Abraham. This is the key to true multiplication that was seen in Abraham’s day as it will be for ours. For one moment let’s consider the exceptional priesthood of Zadok as seen in Eze 44. In verse 16 it says that they have kept the charge. In verses 23-24 it mentions that the sons of Zadok taught the difference between the holy and profane, they will judge righteously and that they will keep the laws and statutes (commandments).
In verses 7-10 we see Isaac pretty much doing the same thing that Abraham did regarding his wife. Once again God sovereignly intervenes by allowing the king to see Isaac and Rebekah together. Amazing how certain traits seem to pass down through the generations. It is also amazing to see the faithfulness of God at work in preventing a horrible scenario.
In verse 12 we see Isaac as a 100 fold reaper of that which he sowed. This is an extraordinary harvest, especially after going through a period of famine in Gerar. It lays the foundation in understanding the parable of the wheat and tares (Math 13:24-30). Isaac’s fruitfulness bred envy and resentment amongst the Philistines. It is a picture of the envy we see today in Israel. Few people realize that the disputed territories that Israel now possesses were at one time a barren and unwanted piece of ground. The Palestinians are in reality offshoots from various Arab tribes that nobody really cared about until Israel returned as a nation. What is seen in Genesis 26:12-14 is a picture and example of what Israel would be in the last days. Now you have the world lobbying on behalf of a people (Palestinians) that were given little regard prior to 1948. Out of envy and resentment the world is now making its demands upon Israel. It is all rooted back to Genesis. In verses 20-21 this picture is seen again. The well of Esek which was dug during the time of Abraham was contended for. Esek means strife and envy. Isaac did not contend but moved on to another well which went by the name of Sitnah. The word Sitnah means hatred or variance. Amazing, nothing really changes over the millennia of years. Have you noticed how events that are playing out today can be traced back to the Book of Genesis? How did Isaac manage this difficulty? He moved on to another well which was called Rehoboth. We should note that he did not contend and fight for these wells. He could have made a scene making mention that his father Abraham was instrumental in digging these wells. No, he simply moved on and God graciously provided. This is a very good lesson for us. It is important that we do not let envy, strife, hatred, and bitterness creep into our soul. Let the living waters in our inner well continually spring up to life through thanksgiving and praise; knowing that God will make a way where there seems to be no way.
In verses 1-4 we see that Isaac is old and limited in vision. This is not unusual as one gets older but one wonders if there is a spiritual component to this. We will find that he could not discern Esau from Isaac when the blessing was given. When Jacob is about to die we find a similar scenario about to be played out. Jacob asks for Joseph’s sons so that he can pray and bless them. He had dim vision and misplaced his right hand upon the younger son Ephraim. Joseph tried to correct him but Jacob was able to state that he knew this and that the younger (Ephraim) will be greater than the older (Manasseh). It clear that Isaac’s vision (spiritually) was not as keen as Jacob’s. Why is this so?
Perhaps we see a key in the way the sons of Esau and Jacob were raised. Rebekah and Isaac each had a favourite son. This suggests a problem in their marriage. Actually, it is not a suggestion it is a reality. We see in verses 5-10 the deceitfulness in Rebekah as she knows about her husband’s plan to bless Esau. We later find that Rebekah comes from a family of deceivers. Her influence can now be seen in Jacob as he goes along with the deceit. He lies to his father in order to obtain the blessing (Gen 27:19). The result is that Isaac blesses Jacob which is a fulfilment of what God spoke but clearly not in a way that God would approve. Soon thereafter Esau returns from his hunt anticipating his reward.
Here is a most valuable lesson. Esau, the son who lightly regarded his birth right and privilege is about to face the reality of an eternal regret. He lost out and now there is nothing that he can do to reverse it. Is this not the case with many so-called Christians? We cruise along in life thinking that we can serve God on our terms only to come to a similar place when it is over. Read verse 38 a few times and try to put yourself in the shoes of Esau. Can you imagine coming to the end of your life and realizing that you missed the reward that was offered to you? Oh to have one more chance, to go back and undo our careless past. We do have that opportunity and if for no other reason we need to learn from Esau’s example as it serves as a reminder to us to live our lives all out for God. Remember, Esau chose his lot in life due to his careless regard for the things of God. The Lord saw this and predestinated Jacob to be the receiver of the blessing.
There is still the nature of deceit that Jacob received from his mother that must be addressed. Rebekah thought that Esau’s anger would cease after a short period of time so she sent Jacob to her Uncle Laban for what she thought would be a matter of days (vs 43-44). Sin is not so easily dismissed. It was not days that Jacob spent at Uncle Laban’s it was more like 20 years. There are many lessons that will be gleaned from Jacob’s time with Uncle Laban. This will be picked up later. Chapter 27 should serve as a reminder concerning the horror of eternal regret to those who lightly regard the things of God. May the privileges we enjoy never be taken for granted.
One of the biggest problems in today’s church is when people cast judgment on others thinking they are somehow immune to problems in their own lives. A coinciding issue is the lack of judgment resulting in compromise and undealt sin (Math 7:1-5). An appropriate key is found in verse 5 where it says we are to allow judgment to first be exacted upon ourselves. Once done, we then are in a position to start ministering and judging in the lives of others. 1 Cor 6:3 makes clear that we will judge angels.
1 Cor 11:31 “For if we would judge ourselves, we shall not be judged”
Clearly, there is to be judgment in the Kingdom of God but it must first start within. To the extent we allow the sword to cut away issues in our own lives is to the extent we can be used of God in being priests to others. This links well with the account of Joshua as he was about to embark in his leadership role throughout Canaan. Before he could go forth conquering with the sword he first had to have the revelation of the Lord with the sword in hand (Josh 5:13-15). Joshua had to experience the circumcision of the sword within before he could wield the sword in battle.
This was brought up concerning Abraham in Genesis 17 when God established his covenant with him. He had the promise that his seed would have Canaan as a possession and it was here where the message of circumcision was instituted. Later on Joshua is the leader appointed to fulfil this promise being made to Abraham’s seed (Gen 17:7-12).
Remember, this is a priestly function; “Judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24). In verses 15-20 Jesus addresses the issue of people being known by their fruits. It is in this context where deception will be prevalent in the last day church. Every motive, every attitude will eventually bear some measure of fruit. The actual fruit will not be seen in the early stages; it can be disguised and veiled until the time of harvest. (See Math 13:25-30) These verses should propel us to weigh carefully our attitude and motive because one day they will manifest. What will be the fruit?