Wednesday, July 11, 2018

2018.07.11 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 26:1-11

Questions for Littles: What was in the land in v1? What other famine does it mention (cf. Gen 12:10)? Where had Abraham gone? What had happened? Where does Isaac go? What does Yahweh appear in order to tell Isaac in v2? What hope does the Lord give Isaac for surviving the famine in v3? What will the Lord perform for him? What promise does the Lord make about Isaac’s seed in v4? What reason does the Lord give Isaac for the fact that He will take care of him? What does Isaac say about his wife in v7? Why? Where have we seen this before? Who notices that she is more than just his wife (v8)? Who rebukes whom in vv9-10? What action does Abimelech take in response to Isaac’s sin in v11?
In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, the Lord gives His people reason for both confidence and humility.

First, confidence. He is determined to keep His promises to Abraham (v3). He sustained Abraham in obedience and faithfulness, and He has given us also those same charges, commandments, statutes, and laws which may be kept by His grace alone.

Food is not as certain a guarantee of being fed as having the Lord with us to bless us (v3). Military and political strength is not as certain a guarantee of surviving in Philistine territory as having the Lord with us to bless us.

Just as the Lord was determined to bring into the world that seed of Isaac in which all of the nations of the earth would be blessed, so also the Lord is now determined to bring to Christ and to preserve in Christ all of those for whom Christ died. Now that is a cause for confidence indeed!

But there is also cause for humility here. It was hard enough that earlier in Genesis the Israelites had to suffer through seeing Pharaoh rebuke Abraham, and then Abimelech rebuke Abraham. But here is another Abimelech, another Philistine king, who is far outclassing Father Isaac morally.

Abimelech sees Isaac Isaacking (literally) his wife in v8. He does the right thing and confronts Isaac, whose response is basically an accusation that everyone know that Philistines are a bunch of immoral thugs.

Abimelech’s response to this is to explain to the poor, benighted covenantal patriarch that they actually care very much not to bring guilt upon themselves before God, which is exactly what Isaac himself could have ended up doing to them!

As if that isn’t humbling enough for God’s people to have to read in their history, he then turns around and, rather than exacting some form of revenge, or implementing some harsh penalty, he issues a proclamation of protection, treating Isaac as an honored guest of the nation!

How important it is that the Lord’s people remain humble, knowing that it is only the Lord’s purposes toward them and the Lord’s power in them that brings any good from them!
In what circumstances do you need confidence that the Lord will keep you? And against what people have you been tempted to be proud, though apart from grace you are worse?
Suggested songs: ARP130 “Lord, from the Depths” or TPH425 “How Sweet and Awesome Is the Place”

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