the genealogy of Isaac,
Abraham's son. Abraham begot Isaac. Isaac was forty years old when he
took Rebekah as wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padan Aram,
the sister of Laban the Syrian. Now Isaac
pleaded with the LORD for his wife, because she was barren; and the
LORD granted his plea, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
But the children struggled together within her; and she said, 'If all
is well, why am I like this?' So she went to inquire of the LORD. And
the LORD said to her: 'Two nations are
in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body; One
people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger.'
So when her days were fulfilled for her to give birth, indeed there
were twins in her womb. And the first came out red. He was like a hairy
garment all over; so they called his name Esau. Afterward his brother came
out, and his hand took hold of Esau's heel; so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old
when she bore them. So the boys grew. And Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the
field; but Jacob was a mild man, dwelling in tents. And Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his
game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.
We come here to the story of the
births of Jacob and Esau. It's a story of a dysfunctional family where
both the mother and the father had their favorites, loving one child
above another. Isaac took to Esau but Rebekah took to Jacob. Esau was a
man's man, an outdoors man, a hunter and a man of the field. His father
adored him. Jacob, on the other hand, was a homebody and a bit of a
mama's boy. He very much enjoyed hanging out in the tent with his
mother and, most likely, help her with the cooking.
It is important to notice here, that the birth of these twins came
about through prayer.
Rebekah was barren and couldn’t have children. So, with great
earnestness, Isaac took the problem to the Lord. Our text says that he
… pleaded with
the Lord for his wife. Can you picture that? Have you ever pled
with the Lord about something? As a result, the Lord heard Isaac's cry
and granted his
plea. James 5:16b,
effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
I John 5:14, says,
this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he
hears us. And if we know that he hears us, whatever we ask, we know
that we have the petitions that we have asked of him.
When you and I pray to God, we
should really get down to business, like Isaac did. The question is, Do you and I really lay hold of our God?
It's a wonderful thing when a child of God comes before the Lord with
real confidence and, discerning his will in the matters they bring,
really lay hold of God. Far
too often, our requests are half hearted ... ho hum ... maybe he will, maybe he won't ...
kind of requests. Am I right? Effective prayer is born of faith … love
Savior … and a mature, discerning mind.
It wells up from the hearts of
those who believe their God and are certain he can and will do
anything, according to his will. Such was Isaac's prayer for his wife,
Rebekah. As a result, they got two bouncing baby boys from Rebekah’s
Esau was the first of the twins to
be born. And, when he came out, his little body was covered with red
hair. So, when they saw him, they called him Red. The name, Esau, means Red. I have run into quite a few Reds
down Texas way. My father used to tell us about a fellow he rode with
while punching cows on the huge, Coon
and Culbertson ranch that existed from 1915 to 1939. They had
the world’s largest registered Hereford herd. They also developed the Braford breed of cattle among other
accomplishments in the cattle industry. The
fellow's name, that my dad rode with was, Booger Red! What a handle, aye? I
know ... I didn't need to tell you that!
When Rebekah's the second baby came out, his
little hand was clutching onto his brother’s heel. It was
quite an amusing moment. Because of it, they named him, Jacob, which
(one who undercuts and undermines others). They joked that he was
trying to take his brother Esau's rightful place as the firstborn son.
And, as it turns out, Jacob would do just that. Furthermore, he would
live out a good deal of his life conniving and supplanting other people.
Our text goes on to say … Isaac loved Esau but
Rebekah loved Jacob.
Frankly, that was very sad. Partiality in a family is a recipe for
disaster. It sets everyone up for conflict. This grave lapse of
judgment would eventually splinter Isaac and Rebekah's home beyond
repair. Parents should take every precaution not to show partiality in
their relationships with their children. To do so can cause a lifetime
problems and sorrows for all concerned ... especially for any child who
receives less attention and love than another.
Now Jacob cooked a stew
and Esau came in from the field, and he was very weary and hungry. And
Esau said to Jacob, Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am
weary. Therefore, his name was called Edom.
But Jacob said, 'Sell me your
birthright as of this day.' And Esau said, 'Look, I am about to
die; so what is this birthright to me?' Then Jacob said, 'Swear to me
as of this day.' So he swore to him,
and sold his birthright to Jacob. And Jacob gave Esau bread and
stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.
In Isaac’s day, the right of the
firstborn meant that he would receive a double portion of his father's
things when it came time to divide the inheritance. Right off, Mr. Supplanter
(Jacob) set about to get that position away from Esau. And, Esau made
it easy for him, because he was a shortsighted and fleshy man. He
lived for the moment, you see. Immediate gratification was more
important to Esau than any other consideration. Jacob knew this. So, at
the appropriate moment, he offered to purchase Esau’s birthright for a
bowl of stew! And Esau, having just come in from the field … ravenously
hungry … sold it to him! Thus, we read here in the Word of God, Esau despised his
12:14-17, speaks of this,
Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will
see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of
God; lest any root of bitterness
springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there
be any fornicator or profane person
who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that
afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for
he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with
You know, you and I also are heirs
to a great and wonderful inheritance. And, we are warned here in God’s
Word, to be careful not to fall shortof the grace of God
that has been extended to us. All too often, this takes place when a
child of God turns away from who they are in Christ and begin to
embrace again who they once were without him. When that occurs, he or
Esau, are trading away their birthright
for a pot of porridge. So, we need to take real precautions not to
allow those gratifications of the moment to mar and distort who we
are in Christ. Don't be like Esau. I believe this is what the Hebrews
passage, above, is exhorting us to watch out for. Stand firm. Keep the
flesh down there under the foot of the Holy Spirit, beloved. We must
not sell out our greatest and most precious possessions (our future rewards) for empty and
Therefore gird up the
loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace
that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as
obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in
your ignorance; but as He who called
you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is
written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
1 Peter 1:13-16
was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days
of Abraham. And Isaac went to Abimelech
king of the Philistines, in Gerar. Then the LORD appeared to him and
said: 'Do not go down to Egypt; live
in the land of which I shall tell you. Dwell in this land, and I
will be with you and bless you; for to
you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the
oath which I swore to Abraham your father.
And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I
will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the
nations of the earth shall be blessed; because
Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my
statutes, and my laws.'
During a time of crisis (famine)
in Isaac’s life, God appeared to him and re-confirmed to him the
promises of the Covenant he had made with his father, Abraham. At the
same time, the Lord cautioned Isaac to stay out of Egypt and to live in the land of
which I shall tell you.
Further, he reminded Isaac that his father Abraham had been faithful to
obey him and keep his charge, commandments, statutes and laws. Isaac
needed to be reminded of these things. It was very important that he
obey and keep the things that had been committed to him, just as his
father Abraham had done. It is a good spiritual exercise for us all to
be reminded to stick to the basics and keep on walking humbly with our
God, is it not? As you have it in II Corinthians 13:5,
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in
the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that
Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.
And again, in II Peter
therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you
also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of
the wicked; but grow in the grace and
knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Isaac dwelt in Gerar. And the men of the place asked about his wife.
And he said, 'She is my sister';
for he was afraid to say, 'She is my wife,' because he thought, 'lest
the men of the place kill me for Rebekah, because she is beautiful to
behold.' Now it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines
looked through a window, and saw, and there was Isaac, showing
endearment to Rebekah his wife. Then Abimelech called Isaac and said,
'Quite obviously she is your wife; so how could you say, "She is my
sister"? And Isaac said to him, 'Because I said, "Lest I die on account
of her." And Abimelech said, 'What is this you have done to us? One of
the people might soon have lain with your wife, and you would have
brought guilt on us.' So Abimelech charged all his people, saying, 'He
who touches this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.'
Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
Like father, like son. Abraham’s boy was also walking in the negative
footsteps of his father. Ever notice how our kids copy us? There’s no
doubt where Isaac got this scheme. Wouldn’t it be nice if our kids only
picked up the godly stuff and not the ungodly stuff from us? But, alas,
that is not the way it works. Abimelech had also been down this road
before, and he feared the God of Abraham and Isaac. Now, history was
repeating itself. As a result, Isaac, like his father, Abraham, was
called on the carpet and embarrassed.
Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold;
and the LORD blessed him. The man began to prosper, and continued
prospering until he became very prosperous; for he had possessions of
flocks and possessions of herds and a great number of servants. So the
Philistines envied him. Now the
Philistines had stopped up all the wells which his father's servants
had dug in the days of Abraham his father, and they had filled
them with earth. And Abimelech said
to Isaac, 'Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we.'
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.' Then he went up from
there to Beersheba.
When God's people walk in obedience,
God blesses them in spite of themselves. Back in verse 3, God had said
to Isaac, Sojourn
in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee. And,
true to his word, he did just that. God blessed Isaac a hundredfold.
Jesus’ words come to mind here concerning what takes place when people
readily and truly receive the
Word of God.
he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and
understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a
hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Matthew 13:23
Isaac was a man of peace and, when
his Philistine neighbors abused him and stole his wells, he simply
moved on, leaving it up to God to deal with them. My own dad was a lot
like that. He wasn’t a fighter or a revenge taker. When someone did him
dirty, I can remember him saying, Well,
that’s a monkey on their back!
Boy, how we need that mindset today. I’m speaking about the biblical
principle of non-resistance to evil. Jesus outlined it for us in Matthew 5:40-45,
anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your
cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.
Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do
not turn away. You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your
neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies,
bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for
those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of
your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the
good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
In the book of Romans we read,
no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all
men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably
with all men. Beloved, do not
avenge yourselves, but rather give place
to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the
Lord’. Therefore ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty,
give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his
head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome
evil with good. Rom. 12:17-21
Jesus summed it up well in Matthew 5:9, when he
are the peacemakers, for they
shall be called sons of God.
Now, out in the desert, water is
one’s greatest possession. It can often determine life or death. So,
when they took Isaac's wells away, they were taking his livelihood as
well as threatening his life. The first well they took, Isaac named Esek … which
means accuse, because they
said it was theirs and accused Isaac of stealing it from them! The
second one they took, he named Sitnah … which
Interestingly, it is the same Hebrew word whose root is the word for
Satan. Isaac aptly named those wells. Abimelech’s men stole them from
him … and then accused him of being the wrongdoer! Satan has a long
history of accusing the people of God and stealing their things, does
he not? Under such circumstances, everything in a man or woman cries
out for justice and revenge. But, as Christians, we must not take
things into our own hands. So, like Isaac, it is usually best to just
walk away. Isaac set the record straight by naming the wells he had
lost but, beyond that, he left it all in the Lord’s hands. Romans 12:19, is worth
beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for
it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
And the LORD appeared to him the same night and
said, 'I am the God of your
father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you
and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham's sake.' So he
built an altar there and
called on the name of the LORD, and he pitched his tent there; and
there Isaac's servants dug a well.
Often, when God's people lose, or
are forced to give up their necessary possessions, it is very
frightening to them. At those times, they need to be reminded that the
Lord is their supply and he is the one who has promised to meet their
every need. The Lord did just that for Isaac. He said to him, do not fear, for I am
That just about says it all, does it not!? By the way, our great Lord
has said the same thing to you and me, beloved. As you have it in Romans 8: 31-32,
then shall we say to these things? If
God is for us, who can be against
us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for
how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
And again, in Hebrews 13:5-6,
your conduct be without covetousness;
be content with such things as
you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I
will never leave you nor forsake
you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The LORD is my helper; I will not
What can man do to me?’
No wonder Isaac built an altar and
worshiped! When God is on your side, nothing else matters.
Abimelech came to him from
Gerar with Ahuzzath, one of his
friends, and Phichol the
commander of his army. And Isaac said to them, 'Why have you
come to me, since you hate me and have sent me away from you?' But they
said, 'We have certainly seen that the
LORD is with you. So we said, "Let there now be an oath between
us, between you and us; and let us
make a covenant
with you, that you will do us no harm, since we have not touched you,
and since we have done nothing to you but good and have sent you away
in peace." You are now the blessed of the LORD. So he made them a
feast, and they ate and drank. Then they arose early in the morning and
swore an oath with one another; and Isaac sent them away, and they
departed from him in peace. It came to pass the same day that Isaac's
servants came and told him about the well which they had dug, and said
to him, 'We have found water.' So he called it Shebah. Therefore the name of the
city is Beersheba to this day.
After Abimelech confiscated Isaac’s
wells, that old heathen was nervous. And, where do you suppose his
troubled thoughts came from? I believe they were from the Lord. In
fact, I believe they were from the Lord in order to protect Jacob. So,
of all things, Abimelech, the aggressor and confiscator, hastened to go
to Isaac to make a non-aggression treaty with him. Can you believe it?
In Proverbs we read,
a man's ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace
with him. Proverbs 16:7
We certainly see that truth
demonstrated here. Abimelech, his friend, and the commander of his
... came to Isaac suing for peace although it was he who was the
aggressor. He told Isaac, I would
dearly love for you to make a
covenant with us never to harm us since we’ve never done anything to
you and have sent you away in peace. Of course, that rascal was
through his teeth. He certainly had done damage to Isaac. Damage, by
the way, that was legitimate grounds for war. But, did Isaac take this
opportunity to call him on it? No. He made the agreement with this
hypocritical antagonist and then fed him a meal! Who will ever
understand the mind of those peacemakers,
aye? Then, after Abimelech had gone, that very same day, Isaac's
servants came in with great news ... they had found water again. Right.
they should have said was, Our
faithful God has given us wateragain! Amen?
Esau was forty years old, he
took as wives Judith the
daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath
the daughter of Elon the Hittite. And they
were a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah.
Finally here, Esau set out to find
himself some wives from the heathen around about. He knew better than
that! He knew his parents’ story and that this was certainly not the
way his father had obtained his mother, Rebekah (Gen. 24). You will
remember that Abraham told his servant to be careful not to take a
bride for Isaac from the heathen women around where they lived. However, Esau
didn't live by Grandfather Abraham’s morals, nor by those of his
parents either. I wonder if he even told them when he got married! How sad it
is when a child dishonors their parents by not involving them in one of
the greatest choices they will ever make. Esau chose to ignore his own
parents and their story of how God had led them to find each other. His
two marriages to heathen women speak loud and clear of his underlying
character. No wonder God’s Word says, Jacob I loved. Esau I
Dear reader, if you are unmarried,
may I ask you a question? Do you care if your future mate loves God or
not? Are you praying for them … right now? Or, do you just daydream a
lot about him or her, hoping that they will be exceptionally good
looking and sexy? As long as they pass those tests, will just anybody
do? If so, then, one day you are just going to go Hollywood
and marry on the spur of the moment because you’re infatuated with
someone’s outward beauty. That’s the way Esau lived his life. Watch
out! Satan has deep-sixed more lives this way than you can throw a
stick at. It bears repeating that God’s Word says about this...
not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what
has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with
darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a
believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God
with idols? For you are the temple of
the living God.
As God has said: 'I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be
their God, and they shall be My people.' Therefore 'Come out from among
them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and
I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons
and daughters', says the LORD Almighty. II Corinthians 6:14-18
Esau brought great grief into Isaac
and Rebekah lives when he married two godless Canaanite women. And,
did so without so much as a “how do you do” to his father and mother.