Each week we webcast Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, morning public worship at 11a, and p.m. singing and sermon at 2:30p (sermon at 3:30)

Saturday, May 30, 2020

2020.05.30 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 26:23–25

Questions from the Scripture text: Where does Isaac go in Genesis 26:23? Who appears to him (Genesis 26:24)? When? What does He call Himself? What does He tell Isaac not to do? Why? What does He say that He will do? How does Isaac respond now (Genesis 26:25)? Upon what does he call? What else does he do there? 
This is an interesting appearance of the Lord. It’s really the last bit of the narrative about digging of wells, as we can see by the conclusion of Genesis 26:25. This turns out to be the only well named in this chapter that keeps its name from Abraham.

Yahweh last appeared to Isaac in Genesis 26:2, and made promises to him (Genesis 26:3-5). Things did not go so well with Isaac spiritually after that, at first (Genesis 26:6-11). But then, the Lord grew him beyond all human expectation (Genesis 26:12-22). Now, the promise in Genesis 26:24 seems to be a good summary of the previous promise, with a little more emphasis on Abraham.

Isaac has been doing well now, and we might think that the Lord would appear with some commendation to him like what was given to Abraham after his test in Genesis 22:16–18, while Abraham was living in this exact same spot. But the Lord continues to turn Isaac’s attention away from himself and back to the Lord.

Here, God actually calls Himself, “the God of your father Abraham.” And, His covenant to bless future generations comes from this identity: “I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham’s sake.”

God reminds Isaac that His covenant relationship with him begins from before Isaac and continues to after Isaac. Sometimes, we want God’s relationship with us to emphasize our moment, our life, our walking with Him. But, there is actually something wonderfully enduring to know that we are in a covenantal line that begins from long before us and belongs “to a thousand generations.” Regular doses of humility are like vitamins that maintain spiritual health.

It is this God of enduring grace across generations, this God of faithfulness to His promises, this God who has successfully preserved other sinners (Abraham) through faith… it is this God who meets Isaac in the moment of his life: “I will be with you.” And it is this same God who is with us.

Isaac has had experience now of disobeying the instruction not to fear (Genesis 26:6-11), and also of responding in faith (Genesis 26:12-22). But Yahweh is appearing to him again. The new appearance reminds us that our growth in Christ is not continually and linearly upward. Isaac still needs to be reminded. He has other things ahead of him, in which he must heed the instruction, “Do not fear; only believe.”

Last time, we have no reference to Isaac responding with worship. This time, the response in Genesis 26:25 reminds us much of his father, whom we frequently saw building altars to call upon the name of the Lord who had appeared to him. We even remember him calling upon “the name of Yahweh, the Everlasting God” right here, at Beersheba (Genesis 21:33).

This worship is not only a most appropriate response to God, as Abraham himself previously had done; it is also a faith-building exercise. Here is a man who has been growing, but is not done yet. Here is a man who must continue not in fear but in faith. And, here he is strengthening that faith through worship. Let us, to whom promises have also been made, and who similarly have more of our life in this world before us, respond with worship to our God and His promises. And may God use that worship to strengthen our faith!
What promises has God made to you? How will you respond in a way that honors Him and builds faith?
Suggested songs: ARP44A “O God, We Have Heard of Your Works” or TPH243 “How Firm a Foundation”

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