There are few stories in Scripture where Isaac is the main protagonist. Today we are going to look at one of them, and as we do, we will find that it sounds awfully familiar…
Please read Genesis 26:6-11.
Isaac is following directly in his father’s footsteps. Abraham of course lied about Sarah being his sister while in Egypt in Genesis 12, and then again in Genesis 20 to Abimelech, king of Gerar. “Abimelech” was a dynastic title, so Abraham and Isaac did not lie to the same person, but to different people who held the same office at different times.
Perhaps Isaac didn’t know about his father’s lie in Egypt. That was a long time ago in a faraway place, and maybe Abraham didn’t tell his son about it. After all, Moses didn’t write Genesis based on oral tradition that had been passed down through the generations. God Himself spoke to Moses on the Holy Mountain, telling him of events long past.
But Isaac was born within a year of Abraham lying to Abimelech, and perhaps had already been conceived by that time. He grew up around these people and under a treaty that his father had made with Abimelech. It’s hard to imagine that he never heard about what happened when his family first moved to the land.
What’s more, if Scripture records Abraham twice lying about his wife being his sister, then it is likely that the character traits of cowardice, conniving and lying that would lead to such lies would have revealed themselves in other aspects of Abraham’s daily life. Isaac grew up working closely with his father, and his father’s bad tendencies rubbed off on him. Isaac grew up to commit the very same sin that his father committed.
This is not to say that Abraham was a bad father. He is the Father of all Believers, and was chosen by God to be a vessel for the godly line of Israel, and eventually the Messiah, because he was so faithful. Abraham demonstrated his boldness on the battlefield, and his conflict resolution with the many peoples around whom he lived. Abraham cared deeply for his relatives and bargained with God to save an entire city. Abraham was a good man who, in many respects was worthy of emulation.
Yet, even the Father of the Faith committed sins that were then passed down to his son. Like all children, Isaac imitated both the good and the bad that he saw in his dad. What a warning for all of us! How we need to pray that God would have mercy on us! How we need to pray that God would grant us a spirit of repentance over our sin, so that our children will not grow up to follow in those sinful footsteps.
Think of your sinful nature. Think of the thoughts of your heart. Think of your rebellious attitude toward God. Think of the temptations that constantly catch you up in their snare. Is that how you want your children to live? If not, then commit to breaking the cycle today.
Today, I’m going to live in such a way that I would be proud if my children imitated me. It will be hard, and I don’t think I can keep it up forever, but I don’t have to. I just pray that God will give me the grace for today. Today, I’m going to live in such a way that I would be proud if my children imitated me. And tomorrow, when I wake up, I’m going to strive for the same thing. May God grant us His grace to live in such a way. And may God have mercy on our children, that they may grow up learning how a redeemed sinner should live.
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