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Genesis 26:12-17

12Now Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. And the LORD blessed him, 13and the man became rich, and continued to grow richer until he became very wealthy; 14for he had possessions of flocks and herds and a great household, so that the Philistines envied him. 15Now all the wells which his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines stopped up by filling them with earth. 16Then Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are too powerful for us.” 17And Isaac departed from there and camped in the valley of Gerar, and settled there.

Things were going great for Isaac, so great that his neighbors became jealous. That would have been alright, but they were so jealous that they stopped up all his wells. In that day and age (and that area), stopping up someone’s well was a big deal. They were trying to kill his livestock, his crops, and maybe even some of his servants. That’s just how the enemy of our souls works too. When things are going great, watch out. Adversity is coming, and it won’t be some little pansy attack. He goes for the throat. He doesn’t want to see us succeeding in the Kingdom of Heaven. But hold on, weather the storms, and you’ll be better for it in the end. We haven’t seen the end of adversity for Isaac yet. Stay tuned…

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Genesis 26:7-11

7When the men of the place asked about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” for he was afraid to say, “my wife,” thinking, “the men of the place might kill me on account of Rebekah, for she is beautiful.” 8It came about, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out through a window, and saw, and behold, Isaac was caressing his wife Rebekah. 9Then Abimelech called Isaac and said, “Behold, certainly she is your wife! How then did you say, ‘She is my sister’?” And Isaac said to him, “Because I said, ‘I might die on account of her.'” 10Abimelech said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.” 11So Abimelech charged all the people, saying, “He who touches this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.”

So far, Isaac has done pretty well in learning from the mistakes of his father. But here he goes for the classic Abraham move. The problem is that Isaac couldn’t even claim that she was his half-sister like Abraham could. He just plain lied to Abimelech and everyone else to try and save his own skin. We all know already, though, that Abimelech was an honorable man. When he finds out the situation, he makes sure Isaac knows it too, and makes sure to keep all his own people safe by not letting them even think about harming God’s chosen family. Same lesson, different story. God will take care of you, and there’s still no good reason to lie, about anything.

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Genesis 26:1-6

1Now there was a famine in the land, besides the previous famine that had occurred in the days of Abraham So Isaac went to Gerar, to Abimelech king of the Philistines. 2The LORD appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of which I shall tell you. 3“Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham. 4“I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; 5because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My laws.” 6So Isaac lived in Gerar.

With a famine, the typical course of action was to try and move elsewhere to a place where there was no famine. Especially since Isaac’s family was still relatively small, it would have been very tempting to leave the land where he was living. But God had other plans, and wanted Isaac to stay put right where he was. Even in the midst of a famine, Isaac trusted God, and he stayed in Gerar.

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Genesis 25:27-34

27 When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the field, but Jacob was a peaceful man, living in tents. 28 Now Isaac loved Esau, because he had a taste for game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. 29 When Jacob had cooked stew, Esau came in from the field and he was famished; 30 and Esau said to Jacob, “Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished.” Therefore his name was called 2Edom. 31 But Jacob said, “First sell me your birthright.” 32 Esau said, “Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?” 33 And Jacob said, “First swear to me”; so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

This one is a classic story I’ve heard since I was young in Sunday School. We’ve likely all heard it several times. Jacob is making a lentil stew, and his brother, Esau, has been out hunting game. Apparently, Esau had caught nothing this day and was famished. We always say that he traded his birthright for a bowl of stew, which seems stupid enough when we are looking back at it. That isn’t quite accurate though. Esau only asked for a swallow of stew. One bite was enough for Esau to trade his inheritance. We often hear it said that, “every man has his price.” That shouldn’t be the case. We should always strive to be people of integrity, regardless of what we are offered in return. Don’t be an Esau. Don’t despise your integrity for any price.

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Genesis 25:19-26

19 Now these are the records of the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham became the father of Isaac;20 and Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean, to be his wife. 21 Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD answered him and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 But the children struggled together within her; and she said, “If it is so, why then am I this way?” So she went to inquire of the LORD. 23 The LORD said to her,

“Two nations are in your womb;
And two peoples will be separated from your body;
And one people shall be stronger than the other;
And the older shall serve the younger.”

24 When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25 Now the first came forth red, all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau. 26 Afterward his brother came forth with his hand holding on to Esau’s heel, so his name was called 1Jacob; and Isaac was sixty years old when she gave birth to them.

Again, the promise of God to Abraham was in jeopardy. Rebekah was barren, just as her mother-in-law had been. But Isaac knew what God was capable of. He was the son of a woman barren until she was ninety years old. So he prayed to God that his wife might have children, and God answered him. Often, we forget what God has done, and when we see someone in need of prayer, we just look at them and say, “oh, that’s too bad.” We ought to remember what God is capable of (everything), and never forget to pray for someone in need. You never know what God may do.

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Genesis 25:12-18

12 Now these are the records of the generations of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s maid, bore to Abraham; 13 and these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, in the order of their birth: Nebaioth, the firstborn of Ishmael, and Kedar and Adbeel and Mibsam 14 and Mishma and Dumah and Massa, 15 Hadad and Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah. 16 These are the sons of Ishmael and these are their names, by their villages, and by their camps; twelve princes according to their tribes. 17 These are the years of the life of Ishmael, one hundred and thirty-seven years; and he breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people. 18 They settled from Havilah to Shur which is east of Egypt as one goes toward Assyria; he settled in defiance of all his relatives.

Seems like pretty standard stuff, until the very end. Did you see it there? “…he settled in defiance of all his relatives.” Now the main one we would normally focus on would be Isaac, but it says ‘all his relatives’, instead of ‘his brother’, so we need to include the sons of Keturah in this also. So we see that Ishmael, and his descendants, we’re some rebellious folk, and not very nice to live around. In fact, it could probably be taken that they settled close to their relatives and annoyed/aggravated them on purpose, to gain prime territory for themselves. What happens a few hundred years later? The Israelites come back and have their way with everyone in their path, even some of the Ishmaelites. That’s not the end of the story, as we see the Arabs (many of whom are descendants of Ishmael and Keturah) still fighting for land with Israel. So don’t try and bully God’s anointed ones, and as Paul said, “live peaceably with all men.”

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Genesis 25:1-11

1 Now Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah. 2 She bore to him Zimran and Jokshan and Medan and Midian and Ishbak and Shuah. 3 Jokshan became the father of Sheba and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim and Letushim and Leummim. 4 The sons of Midian were Ephah and Epher and Hanoch and Abida and Eldaah. All these were the sons of Keturah. 5 Now Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac; 6 but to the sons of his concubines, Abraham gave gifts while he was still living, and sent them away from his son Isaac eastward, to the land of the east.

7 These are all the years of Abraham’s life that he lived, one hundred and seventy-five years. 8 Abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life; and he was gathered to his people. 9 Then his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, facing Mamre, 10 the field which Abraham purchased from the sons of Heth; there Abraham was buried with Sarah his wife. 11 It came about after the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac; and Isaac lived by Beer-lahai-roi.

God indeed blessed Abraham, and now that Abraham had proven himself to be trustworthy, he had even more children by his second wife. He knew better than to let them contend with Isaac though, and sent them all to the east, so that there would not be contention (hopefully) between their descendants.

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Genesis 24:62-67

62 Now Isaac had come from going to Beer-lahai-roi; for he was living in the Negev. 63 Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, camels were coming. 64 Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac she dismounted from the camel. 65 She said to the servant, “Who is that man walking in the field to meet us?” And the servant said, “He is my master.” Then she took her veil and covered herself. 66 The servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. 67 Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and he took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her; thus Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

This one is for all the married folk out there. Appreciate your spouse, and all they provide for you. One of the things I appreciate about my wife is her comforting spirit. When I’ve had a hard day, she can certainly be a comfort and bring calm to the whirlwind.

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Genesis 24:52-61

52 When Abraham’s servant heard their words, he bowed himself to the ground before the LORD. 53 The servant brought out articles of silver and articles of gold, and garments, and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave precious things to her brother and to her mother. 54 Then he and the men who were with him ate and drank and spent the night. When they arose in the morning, he said, “Send me away to my master.” 55 But her brother and her mother said, “Let the girl stay with us a few days, say ten; afterward she may go.” 56 He said to them, “Do not delay me, since the LORD has prospered my way. Send me away that I may go to my master.” 57 And they said, “We will call the girl and consult her wishes.” 58 Then they called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” And she said, “I will go.” 59 Thus they sent away their sister Rebekah and her nurse with Abraham’s servant and his men. 60 They blessed Rebekah and said to her,

“May you, our sister,
Become thousands of ten thousands,
And may your descendants possess
The gate of those who hate them.”

61 Then Rebekah arose with her maids, and they mounted the camels and followed the man. So the servant took Rebekah and departed.

We all know about the faith of Abraham, and we’ve seen the faith that his servant had in God, but here someone else shows the abundance of their faith and trust in God. Rebekah had never met Abraham’s servant, she may have never even met Abraham. She has certainly never met Isaac. Yet she trusted God more than her brother and mother. Naturally, they are concerned for her, and reluctant to see her go also. But she has no such qualms about leaving with a stranger, to marry a stranger, the son of her uncle, who was likely also a stranger to her. She trusted God to take care of her when she would be beyond the reach of her family. Should things go horribly wrong, and this whole proposal be a terrible sham, she would have nothing left but God to turn to. And she was OK with that.

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Genesis 24:42-51

42 “So I came today to the spring, and said, `O LORD, the God of my master Abraham, if now You will make my journey on which I go successful; 43 behold, I am standing by the spring, and may it be that the maiden who comes out to draw, and to whom I say, “Please let me drink a little water from your jar”; 44 and she will say to me, “You drink, and I will draw for your camels also”; let her be the woman whom the LORD has appointed for my master’s son.’

45 “Before I had finished speaking in my heart, behold, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder, and went down to the spring and drew, and I said to her, `Please let me drink.’ 46 “She quickly lowered her jar from hershoulder, and said, `Drink, and I will water your camels also’; so I drank, and she watered the camels also. 47“Then I asked her, and said, `Whose daughter are you?’ And she said, `The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bore to him’; and I put the ring on her nose, and the bracelets on her wrists. 48 “And I bowed low and worshiped the LORD, and blessed the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who had guided me in the right way to take the daughter of my master’s kinsman for his son. 49 “So now if you are going to 1deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me; and if not, let me know, that I may turn to the right hand or the left.”

50 Then Laban and Bethuel replied, “The matter comes from the LORD; so we cannot speak to you bad or good.51 “Here is Rebekah before you, take her and go, and let her be the wife of your master’s son, as the LORD has spoken.”

Here’s another amazing part about God’s answer to the servants prayer. “Before I had finished speaking in my heart…” That may have been an exaggeration, but it shows how quickly God answered his prayer. It doesn’t always happen that way, but when you have placed yourself in God’s will, and are praying accordingly, things happen, and quickly.