Isaac, the son of Abraham, was a central figure in the establishment of the Jewish people. Both him and his father had played tremendous roles in the bible. However, Isaac’s life reflected Abraham’s similarly when compared side by side to his father’s. There are many other things he did that his father had also done during his life. Isaac was a god-fearing man who loved his family and attempted to bring up his sons in the wisdom and nature of the Lord. Isaac was born as the son of promise to Abraham and Sarah. His mother Sarah had been barren and despite God’s promise that she and her husband Abraham would have a child, she decided to take matters into her own hands.
This was done by giving her Egyptian maid, Hagar, to Abraham in order to conceive a child. This resulted in a child, whose name was Ishmael, being born. As a consequence of their actions, God declared that this child would not be the heir to the blessing or the covenant God made with Abraham. The story of Isaac’s birth occurred when Abraham was a 100 years old and Sarah 90 years old. God made the promise of a child to them both. When Abraham heard God’s promise, he laughed, being such an old man (Genesis 17:17). The same happened later when Sarah heard the promise as well (Genesis 18:9-15). As a result of this, Isaac was born with the name that meant laughter as that was his parents’ reaction. This can only be understood once we have gained insight on it, if not, we would not have known what Isaac’s name meant. Continuing the story, Sarah, who was Isaac’s mother, passed away when he was only 28 years old (Genesis 23:1).
When it came to Abraham’s turn in approaching his death, it was said that he called his eldest servant, Eliezer, and made him promise that he would go find a wife for Isaac back in Abraham’s former homeland in Nahor. Eliezer packed up and left as he promised. When Eliezer arrived, he prayed to God that He would show him which woman should be the wife of Isaac. God then showed him by a sign that a woman named Rebekah, the granddaughter of Abraham’s brother, Nahor, was the one who would be the wife of Isaac. Eliezer revealed his intention to Rebekah’s brother Laban and her mother, Bethuel. They agreed to let her go and asked her if she agreed to this arrangement and she did. When they arrived at Isaac’s, it was not long after that until Rebekah and Isaac were married. Rebekah was barren like Isaac’s mother but Isaac prayed that God would intervene and God did. God told Isaac that she would conceive twin sons, which represented two nations. These boys, were born as Esau and Jacob. Later there was a famine in the land. Isaac looked for food in Gerar, the land of the Philistines, as his father Abraham had once done. However, like his father, he also pretended that his wife was his sister, so he would not be killed by someone who wanted her. It was soon unveiled and Isaac was then told to leave. As Isaac’s boys grew up, the younger son deceived Isaac into giving his brother’s blessing to him. This resulted in extreme conflict between the boys and Jacob escaped to go back to his mother’s homeland. On the other hand, Esau went on and married heathen women against his father’s wishes. Like his father Abraham, Isaac’s firstborn went away to marry heathen women and the promise continued through his second born, Jacob. Years later, Jacob came back and visited his father Isaac in Hebron. The end of Isaac’s life took place when he was 180 years old and was buried by his two sons, Esau and Jacob. To sum up the similarities between Isaac and his father Abraham, it can be seen in the following events.
Like Abraham, Isaac encountered many of the same trials and blessings. Regardless, there are many key lessons to take away and learn from the life of Isaac.
1. Isaac was faithful to trust his father when things did not make sense: Genesis 22:6-9
2. Isaac spent time meditating on God’s Word: Genesis 24:63
3. Isaac loved his mother greatly even years after her death: Genesis 24:67
4. Isaac did things like his father that were not God honouring: Genesis 26:1-17
5. Isaac had an encounter with God like his father had: Genesis 26:24-25
6. Isaac considered his blessing on his children to be important: Genesis 27:1-40; Hebrews 11:20
7. Like his father, Isaac had two sons that went in different directions in their relationship with the Lord: Genesis 27:41-46 – Genesis 28:9; Genesis 33
Isaac was not even the first son of Abraham but the second son. Despite that, he was the child that God had ordained to be part of His great plan to bring forth a Savior. Isaac grew up loving and trusting his mother and father. Despite the division caused by conflict in his home growing up, he became a man of faith thereafter. However, like his father, he still made wrong decisions at times and faced tremendous difficulties throughout his lifetime. Isaac thought it was important to raise his children right, yet despite his best efforts, they grew up to be totally different in who they were and their relationship with the Lord. Isaac’s story shows us that how we are raised can be detrimental but, it does not prevent us from having a right relationship with God and raising children a better way. However, it also shows us that though we may not be perfect, God still uses us for His purposes.
There were other parts of the scripture which we could not understand unlike the original audience who spoke the Hebrew language. One example of this was seen in Genesis 25:24-26 where it described the birth of Isaac’s sons. When Esau was born, he came out red and had hairy skin. Hence this is why he was named Esau as it sounded like “hairy” in Hebrew. Not only that, but others had also called him Edom which meant “red” in Hebrew. Also, in the excerpt where Jacob demanded that Esau sold him his birth right, the context behind it was that the firstborn was said to have special inheritance rights and to become the head of the family in the next generation. This was known to the original audience but not to us. Gaining insight into minor details such as these really adds to the whole impact and education received from reading scripture.