top of page

Sermon20 Gen24&26 Guide

Gen 24:62-67,26:1-6,12-25 recitation verse Gen 26:24

The praise and honor and glory be to our heavenly Father who seeks true worshipers who worship Him with the Spirit and truth.

Last time, through examining the life story of Abraham, spanning from Genesis 14 to 25, we saw how Abram, once an idol merchant, obeyed and followed God's call, leaving his homeland, kindred, and father's house behind to settle in Canaan. In this process, putting down his business skills, cunning strategies, and his dependence on Lot, ultimately, he grew into Abraham, the forefather of faith, through God's guidance and grace. This week, we wish to delve into the life of Isaac, born to Abraham at the age of 100. Even though Isaac was not like his father Abraham, the father of faith, his son Jacob, the ancestor of 12 tribes of Israel and his grandson, Joseph, the Prime minister of Egypt who saved Jacob’s family and the world from severe famine, he became one of the patriarchs and his name is called when we call God of Abraham, God of Isaac and God of Jacob. We would like to learn from his life story together.

1) Isaac was born to his father Abraham when Abraham was 100 years old, and his mother Sarah was 90 years old. He grew up being mocked by his half-brother, Ishmael. When Isaac was 15 years old (or 30 years old), he accompanied his father Abraham and, at Mount Moriah, experienced a significant event. When Abraham intended to offer Isaac as a sacrifice according to God's command, Isaac willingly allowed himself to be bound and placed on the altar. When he was about to be sacrificed, the messenger of God appeared and rescued him.

2) Afterward, at the age of 37, Isaac's mother Sarah passed away and was buried in the cave of Machpelah in Hebron. And then Isaac left his father's house in Hebron and resided in the Negev region. At the age of 40, one evening as he was meditating in the field, his father's servant Eliezer brought Rebekah, a granddaughter of his kindred Nahor from Paddan Aram and he married to her. When Rebekah did not conceive his children until he was 60 years old, Isaac prayed to God and through the grace of the LORD, Rebekah gave birth to twins, Esau and Jacob. And at the age of 75, after the death of his father Abraham, Isaac was buried him alongside his mother Sarah in the cave of Machpelah and then lived near Beer-lahai-roi.

3) However, when a famine struck the land, the LORD appeared to Isaac, instructing him not to go down to Egypt but to dwell in the land that God would direct him to, promising to be with him, to bless him, to fulfill the oath He swore to his father Abraham, to make his descendants numerous, and to bring blessings to all nations through his descendants. Therefore, in response, Isaac obeyed to go to Gerar and presented himself to King Abimelech of the Philistines and settled there. And when the people asked him about his wife, Rebekah, following in the footsteps of his father Abraham, he lied that she was his sister. But, as time passed, Abimelech saw Isaac's affectionate behavior toward Rebekah and then Abimelech warned his people not to touch Isaac or Rebekah, after rebuking Isaac.

4) And when he cultivated crops, the LORD blessed him with a hundredfold harvest in that year so that Isaac prospered greatly and became very wealthy. However, the Philistines became jealous to him and they had filled the wells that his father Abraham had dug and even King Abimelech told Isaac to leave the area. So, Isaac left Gerar and pitched his tents in the valley of Gerar. When he re-dug the wells that his father Abraham had dug but had been filled by the Philistines, people of Gerar came to him to claim a well, Isaac yielded them and moved again to other place where he dug new well, but still they came to quarreled with him so that he yielded again to name it Esek, meaning “contention” and then Isaac moved to new place and dug new well and this time also they came to quarreled so he called it Sitnah, meaning “enmity”. So Isaac moved again to new place and dug new well, but this time they did not come, so he called it Rehoboth, meaning “broad places” saying “For now the LORD has made room for us and we shall be fruitful in the land.” And then he moved to Beersheba and in the night, the LORD appeared to him, saying “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants.” So, Isaac built an altar there, called upon the name of the Lord, and pitched his tent. His servants also dug a well there.

5) And then King Abimelech came to Isaac and said, “We have clearly seen that the LORD is with you. So, let's make a covenant of peace.” So they made an agreement, and Abimelech departed. On that same day, Isaac's servants reported to him that they had found water while digging a well. Isaac named the well 'Sheba', meaning “seven” or 'oath,' because he had made an oath with Abimelech. This name was previously given by Abraham to a place in Beersheba where he had made a covenant with Abimelech, and Abraham had given Abimelech seven lambs as a witness. Therefore, it was called Beersheba, which means 'Well of the Oath' or 'Well of the Seven.' Isaac re-affirmed this name.

6) Through today's passage, I hope we can learn few things: Firstly, we would like to think about Isaac's obedience. I mean, we know how Abraham obediently took his beloved son Isaac to Mount Moriah in response to God's command to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac, even binding him and preparing to sacrifice him on the altar. Yet, there was another obedience there in that scene – Isaac himself. Alongside his father Abraham, Isaac, at the age of 15 (or 30), submitted willingly and was placed on the altar. This too was an act of obedience. As we contemplate God’s heart to sacrifice His Beloved Only Son, through Abraham's willingness to offer his beloved son as a sacrifice, we can also see in Isaac's obedience Jesus Christ's obedience, who offered himself on the cross as a substitutionary sacrifice for all. Secondly, we would like to know that this obedience comes from the heart of meekness. This meekness (Hebrew עָנָו, anaw / Greek πραΰς, praus) originally conveys being in a lowly, oppressed, or even enslaved state and then it evolves to the wholehearted obedience to God, recognizing oneself as a humble servant of God, acknowledging His will above ours, trusting in His plan and strength for our lives, by surrendering our desires, ambitions, and even our lives. Moreover, this meekness prioritizes the needs of others above oneself, refrains from harboring resentment or prideful thoughts towards others, and is demonstrated in the Isaac’s yielding of the wells when disputes arose. That’s why 1 Peter 2:12,19 says, “For this is a gracious thing, when mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly” so that “when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation” Thus, through Isaac's consistent meekness, King Abimelech of Gerar recognized the presence of God with him and sought to establish a covenant of peace. Finally, there’s one more point which we would like to reflect details on Isaac's experience. I mean, it is said that Isaac was around 15 or 30 years old when he was bound on the altar alongside his father Abraham, yet, if we consider the worst case, that it happened at 15, how did Isaac feel at that moment on the altar, seeing his father tried to kill him? I think that it must have been a traumatic experience to a boy of 15 years old. Thus, he might have lived separately in the Negev after his mother Sarah's death when he could no longer dwell with his father, Abraham. And that’s why his grieving time was long like 3 years, compared to the customary 30 or 70 days (Genesis 50:3; Numbers 20:29; Deuteronomy 34:8), while meditating on it in the Negev wilderness. And we can be sure that he could be comforted by Rebekah who resembled his mother. But, through this experience and all treatment and growth, his meekness could be extended even to the people of Gerer, beyond his relationship with God and his father. This teaches us that even in difficult times or deep wounds, by seeking solace and healing in God's Word, we can eventually become gentle individuals and inherit blessings. I pray that in times of adversity or even profound heartaches, we may find healing and restoration through our Lord, becoming vessels of gentleness."

Key Questions as Small Group Activity

Q1: In today's passage, we see that when Rebekah was unable to conceive, Isaac prayed to God and as a result of his prayer, God granted his request, and Rebekah gave birth to twins, Esau and Jacob. This part seems to be very different compared to Abraham. The Bible does not explicitly mention Abraham praying about Sarah's infertility. However, it could be inferred that prayer, seeking God's help, is the beginning of all prayer. In a sense, Isaac might have realized the need to pray when he encountered a situation beyond his control. Reflecting on our own lives, if we have experienced such times when we were surrounded by difficulties from all sides, feeling that all worldly solutions were exhausted, and turned to the open heavens in prayer to find resolution, then we might have understood that this is the essence of prayer. By sharing our experiences, thoughts, and insights with our team members, we can share grace together with others.

(Through this question, I hope that we can come to realize that a gentle person is also a person of prayer. The moment when our frailty meets God's omnipotence is in the place we can start prayer. As team members share their diverse experiences and thoughts, please listen and empathize with them, occasionally asking why they have such thoughts. I hope it will be a time of active listening and empathetic conversation with team members.)

Q2: When I contemplate Isaac's life journey, I thought about the life of our second or third generation of faith. I mean, In many cases, the first generation of faith is very similar to Abraham, who went through storms of surrender in their pursuit of God's calling, experiencing trials and hardships while becoming people of faith, holiness, patience, and obedience. On the other hand, the second or third generation often exhibits a different form of faith. Though they might not experience the same radical surrender and growth through life's storms as the first generation, their meekness resembles to that of Isaac, who can have their own unique faith color after facing their own challenges. If there are any second or third generation believers among you, I hope you'll consider how your family's faith journey compares and contrasts with the first generation's journey. Through this reflection, may you find opportunities to receive mutual grace.

(This question aims to help us realize that everyone has unique experiences, forms, and colors of faith. It's my hope that you'll recognize the value in each person's distinct experiences and be able to respect one another. As team members share their diverse experiences and thoughts, please listen and empathize with them, occasionally asking why they have such thoughts. I hope it will be a time of active listening and empathetic conversation with team members.)

Love you. Thank you. God bless you.

Prayer Note

Dear ( God’s attribute which you found Today ) God!

Thanks for ( something you received through the sermon or even during the week )

Praise, gratitude and glory be to You, Lord!

Today, I realized my sin (pains) that ( the sin God reminded through the sermon ),

please forgive (or heal) me and help me not to repeat ( the sins you recognized ).

I learned that ( something you learned through the sermon )

Please help me to live in that ( learned way of life )

I pray in ( Jesus’ attribute you find ) Jesus’ name. Amen.


bottom of page