The LORD appeared to Isaac and said, "Do not go down to Egypt. Settle in the land where I tell you.
Charles Dickens, in those younger days which he spent in the town of Rochester, used sometimes, in his country walks, to pass a large house standing in its own grounds, called Cad's Hill Place. It was his boyish dream that some day he would be a rich man, and when he became so that he would buy that house and make it his home. Castles in the air of this kind are not uncommon, and nay readers have doubtless indulged in many of them. But what is uncommon is their fulfilment. In Dickens' case it actually came to pass. He not only grew rich, as many do, but he dwelt in his latter years, and at length died, at Cad's Hill Place. I refer to this well-known incident merely to illustrate the difference between the hope of possessing something and the actual possession of it. In Dickens' case, indeed, the feeling could scarcely be called a hope. It was but a wild dream. Nervy, in the Book of Genesis, we have before us the case of men whose eyes, day by day, beheld a domain which they hoped would one day be their home; who not merely beheld it, but actually dwelt in it — only not as owners, but merely as guests; and whose hopes were built, not on boyish imaginations, but on the promise of an almighty and faithful God. And yet they never came into possession l Of Abraham we are told, in Hebrews 11., that he "sojourned in the land of promise as in a strange country"; and of all the patriarchs, that they "died in faith " — still trusting — yet "not having received the promises." In what way, then, were the promises fulfilled? As the progenitors of a people, the patriarchs were to obtain the fulfilment in their descendants, hundreds of years after. As individuals, they obtained it, not on earth, but in heaven. They "desired a better country, that is, an heavenly"; and they got it — something far beyond their most exalted anticipations.
Thus Esau despised his birthright. Strange and sad that truths so important as those bearing on eternal life, even where believed, often exercise so slight influence. Yet so it is. How many like to hear the gospel in its fullness, and to be warned against neglecting it, yet in their lives show little of its power (Ezekiel 33:32
). How many live, content to know truth, forgetting that all our daily life tells for good or ill on our eternal life, and that opportunities are passing away. How many, believing that in every being there is a soul to be saved or lost, can yet see multitudes living in ungodliness without effort or even prayer for their recovery (cf. Luke 19:41
). Is not the spirit of Esau in these? He is called (Hebrews 12:16
) a "profane person." Yet no crime or great fault is laid to his charge. There is an attractiveness in his character. We see in him an impulsive, thoughtless man; not what would be called a bad son; his father's favorite; having some regard to his parent's wishes (Genesis 28:8, 9
); but swayed by passing things, and without self-denial. Hungry and weary with the chase, he craved the food he saw (cf. Matthew 4:3
). But the price? His birthright, the claim to a special benediction, the domestic priesthood (cf. Exodus 22:29
), were as nothing. He did not realize their value (cf. Hebrews 11:1
). The present was everything (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:32
). The pleasant, genial, headlong man is pronounced "profane." Observe -
I. THE GRADUAL EFFECT OF SELF-INDULGENCE (cf. Matthew 19:24). The birthright despised not through sudden temptation or any marked step of sin, but by worldly interests taking up the thoughts. Customs and maxims of the world tend to neglecting the birthright (cf. Matthew 6:83). This is no ideal danger. No sharp line to tell when danger begins. Things perfectly allowable, even laudable, may choke spiritual life. Even in good work the mind may be so engrossed in the work itself that communion with God fades. There is need of habitual self-denial (John 6:38); of keeping guard over the tendencies of daily life; of definite aims, not passing wishes; of making personal communion with God an essential part of each day's work.
II. THE DEADENING EFFECT IN RELATION TO REPENTANCE. "Time enough, is a fatal mistake (Acts 24:25; 2 Corinthians 6:2). So far as we know Esau never repented. Even when Jacob received the blessing he was sorry, but there was no real change, no confession of error. Self was still the ruling power.
III. THE CALL TO CONSIDER OUR BIRTHRIGHT (Romans 8:17; 1 John 3:2). Not merely a future blessing. Thinking of it thus leads to its being left out of view. Now there is reconciliation, peace, spirit of adoption, the Spirit's witness in our hearts, freedom of access in prayer, and promises to be realized in growing likeness to Christ and communion with him. Few would deliberately postpone to the end of life the claiming their birthright and making sure of it, the work of repentance and faith, and the casting away what has hindered. But many without set purpose do delay. Each time the call is put away is a victory for the tempter. - M.
Unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father. I.
IT WAS RENEWED TO HIM IN A TIME OF TRIAL. Divine help comes when all human efforts are exhausted.
II. IT WAS RENEWED TO HIM IN THE OLD TERMS, BUT RESTING ON NEW GROUNDS. Abraham was the beginning of the Church, and therefore God, in speaking to His servant whom He had called, rested upon His own Almightiness (Genesis 17:1). But the Church had already commenced a history in the time of Jacob. There was a past to fall back upon. There was an example to stimulate and encourage. There was some one in whom the power of God was manifested, and who had proved the truth of His Word. Therefore to Isaac God rests His promises on the ground of his father's obedience. Thus the Lord would teach Isaac that His attributes are on the side of the saints; that they possess Him only so far as they are obedient; that he must not regard the promised blessings as a matter of course, to be given irrespective of conduct, but rather as, by their very terms, demanding obedience; and that the greatness of his people could only arise from that piety and practical trust in God of which Abraham was such an illustrious example (ver. 5). But while obedience, as a general principle, was commended to Isaac, yet regard is had to duty as it is special and peculiar to the individual (ver. 2).
Two things are observable in this solemn renewal of the covenant with Isaac.
1. The good things promised. The sum of these blessings is the land of Canaan, a numerous progeny, and, what is greatest of all, the Messiah, in whom the nations should be blessed. On these precious promises Isaac is to live. God provided him with bread in the day of famine; but he "lived not on bread only, but on the words which proceeded from the mouth of God."
2. Their being given for Abraham's sake. We are expressly informed in what manner this patriarch was accepted of God, namely, as "believing on Him who justifieth the ungodly"; and this accounts for the acceptance of his works. The most "spiritual sacrifices" being offered by a sinful creature, can no otherwise be acceptable to God than by Jesus Christ; for, as President Edwards justly remarks, "It does not consist with the honour of the majesty of the king of heaven and earth to accept of any thing from a condemned malefactor, condemned by the justice of his own holy law, till that condemnation be removed." But a sinner being accepted as believing in Jesus, his works also are accepted for his sake, and become rewardable. It was in this way, and not of works, that Abraham's obedience was honoured with so great a reward. To this may be added that every degree of Divine respect to the obedience of the patriarchs was, in fact, no other than respect to the obedience of Christ, in whom they believed, and through whom their obedience, like ours, became acceptable. The light of the moon which is derived from its looking, as it were, on the face of the sun, is no other than the light of the sun itself reflected.
PeopleAbimelech, Ahuzzath, Bashemath, Basmath, Beeri, Elon, Esau, Isaac, Judith, Phichol, Rebekah
PlacesBeersheba, Egypt, Esek, Gerar, Rehoboth, Shibah, Sitnah, Valley of Gerar
TopicsAppeared, Appeareth, Dwell, Egypt, Isaac, Speak, Stay, Tabernacle, Towards, Vision
Outline1. Isaac, because of famine, sojourns in Gerar, and the Lord blesses him.
7. He is reproved by Abimelech for denying his wife.
12. He grows rich, and the Philistines envy his prosperity.
18. He digs wells.
23. God appears to him at Beersheba, and blesses him;
26. and Abimelech makes a covenant with him.
34. Esau's wives.
Dictionary of Bible ThemesGenesis 26:1-3
4823 famine, physical
5503 rich, the
8125 guidance, promise
1245 God of the fathers
2540 Christ, genealogy
7258 promised land, early history
LibraryThe First Apostle of Peace at any Price
'Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold, and the Lord blessed him. And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great: For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him. For all the wells which his father's servants had digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped them, and filled them with earth. And Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us; for …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
"Thou Art Now the Blessed of the Lord. "
"Thou art now the blessed of the Lord."--Genesis 26:29. THESE words truly describe the position of many whom I address at this time. There are hundreds here upon whom my eye can rest, and to any one of whom I might point with this finger, or rather, to whom I might extend this hand, to give a hearty shake, and say, "Thou art now the blessed of the Lord." I need not say it in the same spirit, nor for the same reason, that the Philistines did. They had behaved basely towards Isaac, and now that he …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 38: 1892
There are few subjects on which the Lord's own people are more astray than on the subject of giving. They profess to take the Bible as their own rule of faith and practice, and yet in the matter of Christian finance, the vast majority have utterly ignored its plain teachings and have tried every substitute the carnal mind could devise; therefore it is no wonder that the majority of Christian enterprises in the world today are handicapped and crippled through the lack of funds. Is our giving to be …
Arthur W. Pink—Tithing
Whether Every Lie is a Sin?
Objection 1: It seems that not every lie is a sin. For it is evident that the evangelists did not sin in the writing of the Gospel. Yet they seem to have told something false: since their accounts of the words of Christ and of others often differ from one another: wherefore seemingly one of them must have given an untrue account. Therefore not every lie is a sin. Objection 2: Further, no one is rewarded by God for sin. But the midwives of Egypt were rewarded by God for a lie, for it is stated that …
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica
The conduct of Father Abraham, although not approved of by Inspiration, but simply recorded (Gen. xxvi. 7), gave early Christians an opinion that the wicked may be justly foiled, by equivocation and deception, for the preservation of innocence or the life of the innocent. In such case the person deceived, they might argue, is not injured, but benefited (Gen. xxvi. 10), being saved from committing violence and murder. The Corinthian maiden was accustomed to be veiled (as Tertullian intimates), and …
Hippolytus—The Extant Works and Fragments of Hippolytus
An Obscured vision
(Preached at the opening of the Winona Lake Bible Conference.) TEXT: "Where there is no vision, the people perish."--Proverbs 29:18. It is not altogether an easy matter to secure a text for such an occasion as this; not because the texts are so few in number but rather because they are so many, for one has only to turn over the pages of the Bible in the most casual way to find them facing him at every reading. Feeling the need of advice for such a time as this, I asked a number of my friends who …
J. Wilbur Chapman—And Judas Iscariot
The Plan for the Coming of Jesus.
God's Darling, Psalms 8:5-8.--the plan for the new man--the Hebrew picture by itself--difference between God's plan and actual events--one purpose through breaking plans--the original plan--a starting point--getting inside. Fastening a Tether inside: the longest way around--the pedigree--the start. First Touches on the Canvas: the first touch, Genesis 3:15.--three groups of prediction--first group: to Abraham, Genesis 12:1-3; to Isaac, Genesis 26:1-5; to Jacob, Genesis 28:10-15; through Jacob, …
S. D. Gordon—Quiet Talks about Jesus
And to Holy David Indeed it Might More Justly be Said...
22. And to holy David indeed it might more justly be said, that he ought not to have been angry; no, not with one however ungrateful and rendering evil for good; yet if, as man, anger did steal over him, he ought not to have let it so prevail, that he should swear to do a thing which either by giving way to his rage he should do, or by breaking his oath leave undone. But to the other, set as he was amid the libidinous frenzy of the Sodomites, who would dare to say, "Although thy guests in thine own …
St. Augustine—Against Lying
Covenanting Performed in Former Ages with Approbation from Above.
That the Lord gave special token of his approbation of the exercise of Covenanting, it belongs to this place to show. His approval of the duty was seen when he unfolded the promises of the Everlasting Covenant to his people, while they endeavoured to perform it; and his approval thereof is continually seen in his fulfilment to them of these promises. The special manifestations of his regard, made to them while attending to the service before him, belonged to one or other, or both, of those exhibitions …
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting
Jesus Sets Out from Judæa for Galilee.
Subdivision B. At Jacob's Well, and at Sychar. ^D John IV. 5-42. ^d 5 So he cometh to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 and Jacob's well was there. [Commentators long made the mistake of supposing that Shechem, now called Nablous, was the town here called Sychar. Sheckem lies a mile and a half west of Jacob's well, while the real Sychar, now called 'Askar, lies scarcely half a mile north of the well. It was a small town, loosely called …
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel
Appendix ii. Philo of Alexandria and Rabbinic Theology.
(Ad. vol. i. p. 42, note 4.) In comparing the allegorical Canons of Philo with those of Jewish traditionalism, we think first of all of the seven exegetical canons which are ascribed to Hillel. These bear chiefly the character of logical deductions, and as such were largely applied in the Halakhah. These seven canons were next expanded by R. Ishmael (in the first century) into thirteen, by the analysis of one of them (the 5th) into six, and the addition of this sound exegetical rule, that where two …
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah
Sundry Sharp Reproofs
This doctrine draws up a charge against several sorts: 1 Those that think themselves good Christians, yet have not learned this art of holy mourning. Luther calls mourning a rare herb'. Men have tears to shed for other things, but have none to spare for their sins. There are many murmurers, but few mourners. Most are like the stony ground which lacked moisture' (Luke 8:6). We have many cry out of hard times, but they are not sensible of hard hearts. Hot and dry is the worst temper of the body. Sure …
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12
The Section Chap. I. -iii.
The question which here above all engages our attention, and requires to be answered, is this: Whether that which is reported in these chapters did, or did not, actually and outwardly take place. The history of the inquiries connected with this question is found most fully in Marckius's "Diatribe de uxore fornicationum," Leyden, 1696, reprinted in the Commentary on the Minor Prophets by the same author. The various views may be divided into three classes. 1. It is maintained by very many interpreters, …
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament
The Old Testament opens very impressively. In measured and dignified language it introduces the story of Israel's origin and settlement upon the land of Canaan (Gen.--Josh.) by the story of creation, i.-ii. 4a, and thus suggests, at the very beginning, the far-reaching purpose and the world-wide significance of the people and religion of Israel. The narrative has not travelled far till it becomes apparent that its dominant interests are to be religious and moral; for, after a pictorial sketch of …
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament
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