HIS FAMILY AND LIFE
Isaac was the only son of Abraham and Sarah. The circumstance regarding his birth can be seen as a miracle from God. His father Abraham was 100 years old when he was born (Genesis 21:5) and his mother Sarah, who was barren and unable to conceiveGenesis 16:1, 17:17),was 90 years old at his birth.
However, God had a plan that involved Isaac and intervened to produce a miracle that caused Isaac to be born:
"Then God said, "Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish My Covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him." (Genesis 17:19)
One of Abraham’s tests of obedience to God occurred when he was asked to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice. Abraham did just as God had instructed and was willing to offer his son to God. However, God allowed no harm to come to Isaac and provided a sacrifice-a ram that was in the thicket of the bush. Abraham offered the Ram up to God as a sacrifice instead.
“The third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, "Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you." Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, "Father?" "Yes, my son?" Abraham replied. "The fire and wood are here," Isaac said, "but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." And the two of them went on together. When they reached the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son." Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided." (Genesis 22: 4- 14)
By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, Hebrew 11: 17
We see that Isaac was obedient and when his faith was put to the test, he allowed his father to bind him and place him on the altar as a sacrifice to God.
"Abraham said, "God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son." So they went both of them together."
"When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. Then Abraham put forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of The Lord called to him from heaven, and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" (Genesis 22: 8, 9)
Later, Isaac married Rebekah when he was 40 years old. They were married for 20 years before their twin sons, Esau and Jacob were born (Genesis 25:20; Genesis 25:23-26). Esau was the oldest, and according to tradition, should have received the promise of the birthright. However, he unwisely sold it for a bowl of stew and Jacob obtained the blessing as the single heir of the promise (Genesis 25:29-34). Jacob obtained the blessing by deceiving Isaac, who was then nearly blind (Genesis 27:1-40).
“By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.” Genesis 26:20
Another incidence that occurred in the life of Isaac ensued when a famine took place. Isaac went through Gerar where King Abimelek, king of the Philistines abided. Isaac and his family were passing through there on their way to Egypt to avoid the famine that had come upon the land. The Lord told Isaac not to go to Egypt, but remain in Gerar, and He would be with him and bless him. Isaac obeyed God and remained in Gerar.
While in Gerar, Isaac dug the wells of his Father Abraham and had to battle herdsmen over them. He was prosperous throughout the ordeal. The wells that were dug and named were Esek (strife); Sitnah (hatred); Rehoboth (room for all); and Shebah (oath). He dug the wells and was prosperous with his digging, however, the herdsmen quarreled with him. Instead of retaliating and fighting, Isaac journeyed farther back into the valley and dugged more until they left him alone.
“Then Isaac departed from there and pitched his tent in the Valley of Gerar, and dwelt there. And Isaac dug again the wells of water which they had dug in the days of Abraham his father, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham. He called them by the names which his father had called them. Also Isaac’s servants dug in the valley, and found a well of running water there. But the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen, saying, “The water is ours.” So he called the name of the well Esek, because they quarreled with him. Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over that one also. So he called its name Sitnah. And he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name Rehoboth, because he said, “For now the LORD has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.” Genesis 26:17-22
Isaac died when he was 180 years old at Hebron and was buried by Jacob and Esau in the burial place of Abraham, Sarah, Rebekah, Jacob and Leah (Genesis 35:28-29; 49:31).
GOD’S COVENANT WITH ISSAC
God established a covenant with Isaac because his father, Abraham, obeyed and followed Him.
Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you, and will bless you; for unto you, and unto you seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I swear unto Abraham your father; And I will make your seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto your seed all these countries; and in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.”- Gen. 26:3-5
There were three parts to this promise:
I will bless you and your seed and make it great upon the earth
I will give unto your seed all these countries
In your seed all nations shall be blessed
God also promised Isaac that his seed would be blessed because of Abraham.
“And the LORD appeared to him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham your father: fear not, for I am with you, and will bless you, and multiply your seed for my servant Abraham's sake.” - Gen. 26:24
WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM THE LIFE OF ISAAC
The story of Abraham's sacrifice teaches us that the way of salvation established by God is the way of the Perfect Sacrifice. God provided the lamb for the sacrifice and Abraham called the place where the lamb was slain “The Lord will provide”.
God provided for Abraham and He sacrificed and gave us His Son, Jesus Christ, as a sacrifice for our sins. Praise God that we have a redeemer who “will take away the sin of the world”
Isaac was a young man at the time and could possibly have been able to resist his father, or at least leave the area in order to be saved from death. He did not because he also had faith in God.
Because of his obedience, as well as the obedience of his father Abraham -and God’s Covenant with them - Isaac was a very wealthy and blessed man. He had to; however, deal with conflict just as we all do. He overcame the obstacles that led to the conflict by not retaliating. He knew that the Lord would provide for him, no matter what happened in his life, and chose to counter his opposition by being non-combative, but instead continued to dig more wells and bring more blessings into his life.