Where’s Jesus? – Isaac and Abimelech (Genesis 26)

Isaac’s story parallels Abraham’s story in many respects in this chapter.  Just as Abraham and Abimelech have a discussion concerning the lie told about Sarah, so Isaac has one about he lie he tells of Rebekah.  But this story is very different from Abraham’s.  In Genesis 20:2,

Abimelech, king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her.

But in Isaac’s life, Abimelech

looks down from a window and sees Isaac caressing his wife Rebekah.  So he summons Isaac and says, “She is really your wife!…” (Genesis 26:8-9)

Likewise, in Genesis 21:22-33 this same king and his army commander make a treaty with Abraham, which they repeat again with Isaac in order to ensure their safety amidst the overwhelming blessing is pouring out upon his chosen people.  But unlike the prior treaty where Abraham is forced to buy back his wells, Isaac is re-digging old wells as well as new ones but the same fate is occurring, the life-giving water of the wells is contended over until the people of God are far enough away from the cultural centers to be able to establish their presence in peace.  Thus they name the final well,

Rehoboth saying, Now the Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land. (Genesis 26:22)

What does all this have to do with Jesus?  Well, i omitted to make not of the opening words of God spoken to Isaac in chapter 26.  These opening words of God are a promise to continue the blessings of Abraham to his son Isaac.  They are a promise to be numerous, to spread across the nations,  and to have a home.  But each of these promises seems imperiled at some point in the story:  How can Isaac be numerous if his wife is taken?  How can he spread across the nations if he has to live in fear for his life?  How can he have a home if there is no water?

But each of these dilemmas is answered in a surprising way by God: the safety and security of he and his wife and progeny are guaranteed by the king and plenty of water is found.  So it is with the Christian, when we fear for our lives or wonder how the promises of God can be true for us all we need to do is look to Jesus and see that in him safety and security abound along with all the nourishment we need for a wonderful life.  He is the bread of life and the water of life and the shepherd who gently leads us.   Praise be to God.  Isaac saw a foretaste of Christ, we experience the full monty.

About Scott Roberts

pastor of Hope in Christ Church, Bellingham, WA
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