Isaac - Son of the Freewoman
Isaac, the son of Abraham,
the son promised of God,
the son in whom the covenant was established,
the father of Jacob whom God called Israel
and now we are, as Isaac was, the children of promise.
Isaac had to marry within the extended family and not marry any of the Canaanites. He is one in whom his seed is called of God. After Sarah died Abraham instructed a servant to go unto Mesopotamia to obtain a wife for Isaac (Gen. 24)*. He traveled north and then east through the fertile crescent to the area between the Euphrates and Tigres Rivers unto the city of Nahor to Abraham's kin. The servant obeyed Abraham and God and God showed the servant Rebekah, the daughter of Abraham's brother's son (the kinfolk). OK, here is the explanation: Abraham's brother was Nahor who had a son Bethuel who had Rebekah.
:19 And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham's son:
Abraham begat Isaac:
:20 And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife,
the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram,
the sister to Laban the Syrian.
:21 And Isaac intreated the Lord for his wife,
because she was barren: [20 years after they were married, see vs. 26]
and the Lord was intreated of him,
and Rebekah his wife conceived.
:22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said,
If it be so, why am I thus?
And she went to enquire of the Lord.
:23 And the Lord said unto her,
Two nations are in thy womb,
and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels;
and the one people shall be stronger than the other people;
and the elder shall serve the younger.
:24 And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled,
behold, there were twins in her womb.
:25 And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment;
and they called his name Esau.
:26 And after that came his brother out,
and his hand took hold on Esau's heel;
and his name was called Jacob: [supplanter]
and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.
:27 And the boys grew:
and Esau was a cunning hunter,
a man of the field;
and Jacob was a plain man,
dwelling in tents.
:28 And Isaac loved Esau,
because he did eat of his venison:
but Rebekah loved Jacob.
Later on we see that after the kids have grown there was a situation between Esau the firstborn and Jacob. Esau didn't care for the things of God. And he sold his birthright to Jacob. He sold his right to the privileges of being born first even though being the firstborn was greatly appreciated. The firstborn received God's blessing first, they received the priesthood of the family, they received twice as much inheritance as the rest of the sons, and they were next in charge after the Father. It was possible to shift that status to other sons (usually the firstborn of the highly favored wife) if the firstborn misbehaved.
E.W. Bullinger also brings up the point that there was a famine in the land (Gen 26:1) and Esau was despairing of life. Think of it-a famine-here we are in the land of plenty, always food around, sometimes we don't have the money for it but it is there. In a famine there just isn't any food. Famines are usually caused by drought in the land, animals die, herds dwindle and Esau was a hunter not a farmer so he could have been quite desperate. He also did not care for the things of God and being in his desperate state he sold his birthright to Jacob.
:1 And there was a famine in the land,
beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham.
And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar.
[Gerar is speculated to be be near the coast, west of the southern end of the Dead Sea, on the way to Egypt]
:2 And the Lord appeared unto him, and said,
Go not down into Egypt;
dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:
:3 Sojourn in this land,
and I will be with thee,
and will bless thee;
for unto thee,
and unto thy seed,
I will give all these countries,
and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;
:4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven,
and will give unto thy seed all these countries;
and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
:5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice,
and kept my charge,
and my laws.
This is the third time God has encouraged his people to get out or stay out of Egypt. We will see later (with Moses) that the idolatrous influences ruined the faith of God's people and it took an entire generation wandering in the wilderness to rid itself of the unbelief and idolatrous traditions.
:6 And Isaac dwelt in Gerar:
:7 And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said,
She is my sister:
for he feared to say, She is my wife;
lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah;
because she was fair to look upon. [that sounds familiar]
Who is Rebekah? She is the daughter of Abraham's brother's son-Isaac's cousin's daughter (not really a sister). Well, it works out alright. No one touched Rebekah. King Abimelech saw Isaac 'sporting with his wife' and called Isaac on the carpet. Isaac explains that he was afraid for his life because Rebekah is so beautiful, he would have been killed and Rebekah taken if everyone knew that she was his wife. Abimelech must have realized that the Lord God is a mighty God because he charged all of his people to leave Isaac and Rebekah alone, if anyone touched them they would be put to death.
God keeps His word with Isaac and prospers him in Gerar. So much so that what Isaac sowed in one year God increased to him "an hundredfold: and the Lord blessed him" (Gen 26:12). Isaac's holdings became very great-consequently Abimelech feels threatened and sends them away. Isaac & Co. doesn't go very far, just the Valley of Gerar. He proceeds to open the wells that Abraham dug and the Philistines had filled in. There were contentions over the wells forcing them to move north east to Beersheba. God is still with Isaac and once again God reaffirms His promise to Isaac:
:24 And the Lord appeared unto him the same night, and said,
I am the God of Abraham thy father:
fear not, for I am with thee,
and will bless thee,
and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham's sake.
:25 And he builded an altar there,
and called upon the name of the Lord,
and pitched his tent there:
and there Isaac's servants digged a well.
Isaac is an example of a man who walks with God. Even the unbelievers can recognize that God is with him.
:26 Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar,
and Ahuzzath one of his friends, and Phichol the chief captain of his army.
:27 And Isaac said unto them,
Wherefore come ye to me, seeing ye hate me,
and have sent me away from you?
:28 And they said,
We saw certainly that the Lord was with thee:
and we said, Let there be now an oath betwixt us,
even betwixt us and thee,
and let us make a covenant with thee;
:29 That thou wilt do us no hurt,
as we have not touched thee,
and as we have done unto thee nothing but good,
and have sent thee away in peace: [really? Isaac said they hated him in vs. 27]
thou art now the blessed of the Lord.
:30 And he made them a feast,
and they did eat and drink. [the peace treaty is sealed]
:31 And they rose up betimes in the morning,
and sware one to another:
and Isaac sent them away,
and they departed from him in peace.
God's Word is true:
:29 Seest thou a man diligent in his business?
he shall stand before kings;
he shall not stand before mean men.
What can we learn from Isaac? He was a faithful man who listened to God and God took great care of him. Sure, he is of the Christline but he still had to obey God and worship Him. He is the child of promise, not of works like Ishmael.
:7 Neither, because they [Israel, God's chosen] are the seed of Abraham,
are they all children:
but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.
God's chosen were the result of the promise, not every child of Abraham was included.
:21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?
:22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons,
the one by a bondmaid,
the other by a freewoman.
:23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh;
but he of the freewoman was by promise.
:28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was,
are the children of promise.
:29 But as then he that was born after the flesh
persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.
:30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture?
Cast out the bondwoman and her son:
for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.
:31 So then, brethren,
we are not children of the bondwoman ,
but of the free.
We are the children of promise also. God has let us in. When Christ died and rose again the veil in temple was torn by God and that let us into the Holy of Holies, we can stand before God without any sense of sin, guilt or condemnation. He has cleansed us from all unrighteousness. Now we can walk in the grace and power of God. Now we can do the works that Jesus Christ did and greater works because Christ is now seated in the heavenlies with God. Let us walk with the calling that has been given us through Abraham and Isaac.