WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN GENESIS CHAPTER 27:
- God’s will prevails despite what we do.
- God does not need our help.
- Always examine the motivations of your heart.
- What you do matters to others and can leave a lasting impact on them.
Rebekah sends Jacob off to live with her brother, Laban, in Haran once she hears that Esau is plotting to kill him. She tells Jacob to stay until she sends for him that it’s safe to return. She then complains to Isaac about Esau’s Hittite wives and says if Jacob takes a Hittite wife, her life will not be worth living.
13) He would then be the only one whom God’s original promise could go through. He’d in effect have the birthright and all the wealth that entails. No one knows the consequences of this action, but it could have been severe. God might have killed Esau as retribution. No one knows, but when you go against God, you should expect the utter worse in consequences.
14a) Hebrews 12:6-11 shows that discipline is for our good so that we can grow in righteousness with God. Jacob has to work to earn Rachel as his wife. He also was tricked into marrying Leah, Rachel’s sister. That causes much pain and rift in the family. Rebekah disappears after this incidence in the Bible, skipping over her death as well, except to mention her burial place Genesis 49:29-31. Suffice it to say, with Jacob gone and her relationship with Esau strained, she probably led a very lonely life at the end of her years.
b) Things work out as God had planned them despite our bumbles. Although there may be consequences for our actions, we are to learn from them and grow in Him despite of ourselves. We turn towards God in these situations, not away from Him.
15) I’m just gonna throw this out there, but since we are all sinners, God has no choice but to use us as part of His plan if He is using humans at all. You should look at this as God using us despite our sins and flaws, and we should be privileged that He does. God uses us to teach us lessons, to grow our faith, and to draw us closer to Him. Otherwise, He could do it all Himself without the messes.
Because of previous actions of manipulation, Jacob must flee, most likely to never see his mother again. All because of a scheme to receive Isaac’s earthly blessing. We need to strive for God’s heavenly blessing, not earth’s.
We must remember that travel during ancient times is rough and takes a long time with no real paved roads and all of it mostly on foot. Thus, when Jacob leaves to Haran, odds are, he wouldn’t be back soon.
Jacob ended up staying in Haran for 20 years, marrying Leah and Rachel, Laban’s daughters. Rebekah tells Isaac that Jacob is leaving to find a wife, not to save his life from Esau. The tragedy here is that she may have died without ever seeing Jacob again (her death is not recorded in the Bible).
It seems like such a waste of time, effort, and energy to go against God. So why do all of us do it?
Esau returns, saying the same words as Jacob, asking his father to sit up, eat, and bless him. Isaac realizes he had been tricked with Esau’s arrival. Esau wants his father’s blessing, but Isaac says it is too late.
Esau is angry how Jacob tricked him into taking his birthright and his blessing. Isaac tells Esau that Jacob will be lord over him and everything and then tells him the future that he will dwell away from the earth’s riches and the dew of the heavens. He will live by the sword and serve his brother. But he will throw off his yoke. Esau plans to murder Jacob once Isaac has passed.
10) Esau does not respect the birthright by giving it to Jacob for a bowl of stew (Genesis 25:31). He marries pagan women who were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 26:35). Esau is angry and keeps demanding Isaac’s blessing in Genesis 27, which truly only God can give.
11a) Regret means,”feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over (something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity).” You wish you had not done whatever you are regretting. Repentance means, “the action of repenting; sincere regret or remorse.” You look at your actions and feel regret for what you did wrong. According to Wikipedia, repetance means: Repentance is the activity of reviewing one’s actions and feeling contrition or regret for past wrongs, which is accompanied by commitment to and actual actions that show and prove a change for the better. In Judaism and Christianity it is often defined as an action, turning away from self-serving activities and turning to God, to walk in his ways.
b) Esau shows regret over selling his birthright and missing out on the blessing (Genesis 27:36). Isaac shows regret that he blessed Jacob instead of Esau (Genesis 27:33), but repentance when he realizes that God’s will is done (Genesis 27:37-40).
2 Corinthians 7:10 says, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”
12) Everything works together for my good (Romans 8:28). That God is in control. He has this; I don’t. It is as God has meant it to be.
Esau reacts out of anger and vows to kill Jacob instead of accepting God’s ulimate authority and will. Isaac realizes God’s will has been done, and he accepts it.
Isaac’s trembling could be because he realizes that God is in control no matter what he tries to do. He also realizes he was wrong in trying to circumvent God and does not try to retract his blessing. He knows God’s will has been done and tells Esau this as well.
Esau is angry (rightfully so). However, he knows God’s words from His revelation to Rebekah, yet he fights against them. Now that he’s older, he understands that the birthright brings material advantages as well. Here, he cares about it for the first time and wants it back, blaming Jacob when God had already chosen.
Esau wept not out of a sense of wrongdoing or repentance, but out of sense of what he had lost in material wealth and privilege. (Hebrews 12:15-17) shows how Esau was rejected despite his tears and plea here.
These comforting words from Isaac about Esau’s future were not bad and could be considered a blessing. Many Bible scholars believe that “your dwelling will be away from the earth’s presence” should read “from” without the away. This means he will be a nomad, he will have to fight to live, but he won’t be under Jacob his entire life.
We’ll see later that Esau was blessed, indeed. (Genesis 33:9)
Esau was jealous of Jacob and wanted to kill him when Isaac died. Little did he know this would be decades down the road.
Jacob went all out on the deception, putting on Esau’s clothes and goat skins on his hands and neck in order to appear hairy like Esau. He brought the food Rebekah had prepared to Isaac, who wondered how Jacob had gotten the food so quickly. Note the lie here: God had blessed him with success. Isaac does touch his hands and says how the voice is Jacob’s, but his hands are Esau’s. After eating the goat stew, Isaac kisses him and then smells the scent of Esau from the clothes. He then blesses Jacob with blessings, riches, and having nations serve him.
7a) Rebekah was showing that she’d do whatever it took to get her way (or God’s in this case), even lie and trick others. She was showing that she knew best over Jacob and was showing him no respect as the head of the household.
b) Jacob didn’t hesitate to lie at all to get the blessing. He went along with everything Rebekah told him to do. Isaac ignored God’s soverignty by trying to give Esau the blessing instead of Jacob. There was no respect. There was no seeking God. They simply did not care who they hurt in their actions.
8 ) It shows the dangers of favoritism amongst parents towards their children. Still, at the heart of man, it comes down to putting your will above God’s and doing anything to make that happen. Funny how God always wins.
9) Even though the methods were wrong, Jacbo still received the blessing that God intended. God always works things out as they are supposed to be despite our attempts to do it for God or for other reasons. God is good.
This story shows the heart of man perfectly. No matter how God-centered you are, you always have to be wary of letting your will and intentions usurp God’s.
Isaac probably knew it was Jacob in his heart of hearts, as we see with the repeated questions. However, Isaac believed Jacob instead. Jacob tells several lies to get what he wants, justifying it by how he’s doing God’s will. The means does not justify the end.
Isaac cannot see and his sense of touch was not good. Thus, he relied on his sense of smell. Back in the day when no one showered or did laundry, the distinct smell that every human has was pronounced, which is what Isaac smelled on Esau’s clothes.
Isaac passes on the blessing God had given Abraham.
The blessing itself is one of richness, bounty, and God’s presence.
In the end, God blesses who He wants to blesses and curses who He wants to curses; our actions here on earth are truly meaningless outside of God’s will.
Isaac tells Esau to go and bring him a stew of the tasty wild game meat that he likes so that he can give him his blessing before he dies. Rebekah overhears Jacob tell Esau this, so she tells Jacob to bring her two of the choicest young goats so she can prepare him a meal just as he likes it. Then take it to him so that Jacob can receive the blessing instead. Jacob says he is not hairy like Esau, but Rebekah says the curse will fall on her if Jacob realizes he has been tricked.
3) Isaac wanted some good game meat to satisfy his hunger. Jacob, Esau, and Rebekah all wanted the spiritual blessing of Isaac.
4) Rebekah made sure that Jacob did receive the blessing as God intended. Isaac wanted his son, Esau, to receive the blessing instead and fully intended to bless Esau and not Jacob as God has revealed.
5) I think most of the time Christians mean to do good, but end up using trickery to do so with good intentions. However, sin and selfishness drive us so people can mean good for them and not others.
6) I think they could have talked this through. Rebekah could have talked to Jacob’s about God’s prophetic words to her, and they arrange to give the blessing to Jacob as planned without trickery involved. Jacob did this on the sly, meaning he was hoping no one found out about it. I would think this would be a big ceremony back in that time. Communication was definitely lacking here as each tried to achieve their own desires. I can improve in that as well.
I had forgotten Rebekah’s involvement in the blessing. On one hand, you see the good intentions of a parent who only wants the best for her children. Yet, you see favoritism here as well. You see Rebekah though ensuring God’s words came true, too. You see Jacob driven by the physical need for food and his desire for Esau to have the blessing even though he knew God’s words. It’s interesting how we are constantly trying to help God out when He needs no help at all. We only end up making a muck of things.
Martin Luther calculated Isaac’s age to be 137 during this time. Isaac lived to be 180 (Genesis 35:28), so he was not as near to death at he thought.
Since Isaac was giving Esau the blessing in secret, he knew what he was doing was wrong. Usually, there would have been a celebration and a feast of the passing of the torch. Yet, Isaac tried to scheme against God anyways. He also asked for food first instead of just giving Esau the blessing in the first place. It’s as if Esau had to work to be blessed by God. Instead of giving the gift of his own free will, there’s a condition attached. Luckily, all mankind has to do is believe in Jesus. One and done.
Rebekah knew her food would taste the same to Isaac. Rebekah was wrong to help God out here. She did not trust God to do His will; she thought he needed help. She was also wrong to lead her son into sin.
Jacob willingly went along with Rebekah’s plan, living up to his name, which means trickster. He was concerned about getting caught, not if he was right or wrong.
Esau knew the blessing was not his because he had sold it to Jacob, so he was eager when Isaac offered it. Everyone in this scene is acting for their own interest. Yet, only God can bestow a blessing. In reality, all of this was meaningless.
Summary of passage: Abimelech makes a treaty with Abraham probably because he doesn’t trust him. Abraham said that some of Abimelech’s servants had seized a well. Abraham gifted sheep and cattle to Abimelech and set aside 7 ewe lambs to prove he dug the well. The place was called Beersheba. Abimelech returned to Philistine and Abraham planted a tree and called upon the name of the Lord. Abraham stayed here a long time.
12a) Personal Question. My answer: Outwardly, Abraham has accomplished things only God could. He rescued Lot and defeated the 4 kings. He has prospered materially with all his herds of sheep and cattle and other signs of wealth. He seems to have dealt with everyone with integrity, which we all admire in people.
And I’m sure when you looked at Abraham you could see a contentment, a peace, a security that only God can bring. I’m stopping short of saying the Holy Spirit because that was only after Jesus died did we receive the Holy Spirit but something similar I would wager.
b) Personal Question. My answer: Others see whether you live by God or by the world. Your actions show it. A God-centered life is abundant indeed. I learn to be cognizant of this and try to reflect God wherever I go.
13a) Abraham swore by God. Abraham offers up lambs as proof of his work so he backs up his words with action. Abraham planted a tree as a sign he called upon the Lord.
b) Personal Question. My answer: This is a hard one because I don’t trust other people so I’m sure I come off as untrustworthy myself. And part of me doesn’t care if others trust me or not or even if I am trustworthy because I don’t care what others think most of the time. But I can pray about it and be more like Jesus.
Conclusions: Easy lesson with no right or wrong answers since they are all opinion questions. Abraham got along with his neighbors and treated them fairly and rightly as Jesus would do. And others recognized this in him. Seems like something we should all strive for.
End Note: The Abimelech in Genesis 21 is NOT the same Abimelech in Genesis 20. Abimelech was a generic title for ruler amongst the Canaanites and is not a specific name.
Simple Map of Beersheba: http://www.keyway.ca/htm2002/beersheb.htm
Summary of passage: Isaac grew and Abraham held a great feast for him on the day he was weaned. Sarah saw Ishmael was mocking so she told Abraham to get rid of Hagar and Ishmael. Abraham was distressed by God told him to do as Sarah says for it is Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. He will also make Ishmael into a nation also.
So Abraham sent Hagar and Ishmael away. They wandered in the desert of Beersheba. They ran out of water and Hagar and Ishmael began to cry. An angel of the Lord appeared to Hagar and told her God had heard the boy crying. Take him by the hand for God will make him into a great nation.
God provided water and was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert of Paran and became an archer. His wife was Egyptian.
9a) Act haughty, despise their masters, be jealous of Isaac, be prideful and boastful of being Abraham’s son
b) Because Ishmael is a slave, meaning he does not share in the freedom Christ brings believers, and he persecutes Isaac or believers.
c) He provided them water in the desert and gave them assurance and peace about their path. God was with Ishmael as he grew up and blessed him with 12 kids, each who were tribal rulers. He gave them a place to settle and rule.
d) Personal Question. My answer: 1 Peter here doesn’t help me. We’ve read it before this year. It assures me in the fact that God cares for all of His children even those who are not liked by others and who bear a difficult life and who according to Galatians are not free and are of the flesh. Thus, He cares for me as well.
Besides this, I’m not assured because I am a believer; whereas, Ishmael was not so the comparison is hard to make.
10a) Ishmael wants to dominate and win over Isaac and receive God’s blessing. Same with sin which wants to dominate the Spirit. It’s the devil versus God and only you can decide who will win.
It is a conflict still raging today: following God in the flesh versus following God in faith through the promise.
b) The sinful nature has died in a believer so that the Spirit may rule. Here, Ishmael was removed so Isaac could win.
There is no reconciliation with the flesh. We must either trust in the Spirit or the flesh and the decision must be final.
11a) Personal Question. My answer: Struggles we all have: to do what is right versus what is wrong; to listen to God or to the world; to do the easy thing or the hard thing; to fight for our beliefs or let it slide; to do God’s work or to not even bother; to take up the sword and fight or to give in; to cut off others who are sapping our Spirit or to continue in a lackluster and drama-ridden relationship.
b) Personal Question. My answer: The Spirit and therefore I live and the sinful nature is put to death. The Spirit leads me to do what is right against sin and to overcome it. The Spirit wins. It’s not always easy. But my faith prevails.
Conclusions: Maybe I’m just being lazy today but I cringed every time I was sent to another passage today. I thought Ah, I don’t want to read anymore or look anything else up. Especially 1 Peter. I’m not for sure if this is a symptom of this year where it seems like we are constantly being sent elsewhere or what but today I was weary of it.
I liked how Ishmael is sin so he must be sent away in order for the Spirit (Isaac) to prosper. I had never thought of it like this before. A good lesson in how sin (the flesh) must be vanquished in order for us, the Spirit, to thrive. We must make difficult decisions at times so we can accomplish God’s purpose for us here on earth.
End Note: Here’s a map where people say the Desert of Paran is: http://bibleatlas.org/full/paran.htm
This makes sense to me because Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt through the wilderness of Paran in Numbers so it would be in the Sinai Peninsula.
However, some say Paran is in Saudia Arabia where Mecca was since Ishmael was an Arab it would make sense he would settle here where Islam began.
This could be true as well since no one knows how big the area called the Paran was. It could be a whole desert area that encompasses both the Sinai and Arabia.
You make the call.
Summary of passage: The Lord gave Sarah and Abraham a son whom Abraham names Isaac (which means he laughs). Isaac was circumcised at 8 days old. Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born. Sarah said God has brought her laughter and everyone who hears about Isaac will laugh with her.
7a) The Lord did for Sarah what He had promised at the very time God had promised.
b) Abraham in hope believed that God had the power to do what He had promised. He was strengthened in his faith and gave the glory to God.
c) Personal Question. My answer: “This week” I haven’t experienced any new spiritual awakening. However, I am trying to be more trusting and more faithful and maybe a spiritual awakening will occur. But if it doesn’t, I know at least I’m growing closer to God and that’s all that matters to me.
8 ) John 3:3-6: We must be born of water and the Spirit to enter the kingdom of heaven. We must have the Holy Spirit indwelt to enter the kingdom of heaven (believe in God and Jesus as the Son). Isaac was born of a woman but because of the Spirit.
Romans 4:17-25: Abraham had hope and faith that Isaac would be born just like we have faith and believe Jesus died for our sins so we could be reborn.
James 1:18: He gave us birth through the word of truth. Because of God’s words Isaac was born and so are we–through faith in God’s words.
1 Peter 1:23-25: We have been born again through the living and enduring word of God which is imperishable (eternal) as Isaac was born.
In general, Isaac’s birth was a miracle of God and came about because of the faith and belief Abraham and Sarah had in God to do the impossible. The same is for us. We have faith and believe Jesus died on the cross for us so thus we are declared righteous and justified in God’s eyes.
Conclusions: Basically, believe in the God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit and you will be born again like Isaac was born because of Abraham and Sarah’s belief and God’s miracle.
I absolutely cringe every time I read “this week” in a question as if a change is supposed to miraculously happen inside of me and there’s something wrong with me if it doesn’t. Like I’ve stated before, I just can’t see the changes or “awakenings” God does in me. I’m too close to myself and too selfish and blind probably to realize it. But I know He is working. How? Couldn’t tell you. When? Definitely not “this week” in my view. Why? Cause He loves me. And that’s all I need to know.
Overall, didn’t like this lesson. We read the passage and immediately got sent to other parts of the Bible. I was kind of just hoping to hold Isaac the baby for a bit after all this build-up and anticipation and revel in God’s goodness and greatness instead of being distracted with how a real birth compares to a spiritual birth. Couldn’t that have waited?
I’d take a study any day of God’s greatness over my spiritual birth (granted, a symptom of God’s greatness but nothing when compared to Him). But that’s my opinion, of course.
End Note: One commentary I read on this passage compared the birth of Isaac with the birth of Jesus with some rich scripture references. Now THAT would have been a great question for this passage.
Summary of passages: Genesis 20: Abraham had been staying near the great trees of Mamre (Genesis 18) and now has moved on to the Negev between Kadesh and Shur. He stayed in Gerar for a time and again lied about Sarah being his sister. So, of course, the king of Gerar, Abimelech, took her for his wife.
God rescued Sarah (again) when he came to Abimelech in a dream and told him he had taken a married woman unbeknownst and that is why God has kept him from touching her. God tells him to return Sarah and Abraham will pray for him so that he may live. Otherwise, he will die.
Abimelech called in Abraham and chastized him (like Pharaoh did) and asked him why he lied to him. Abraham again gave his lame excuse of how he was afraid and he wasn’t really lying because Sarah is his half-sister. Abraham as the head of the household told Sarah to lie for him on their travels.
So afraid of God was Abimelech that he gave Abraham sheep, cattle, slaves, and whatever piece of land he wanted. He gave silver to Sarah’s “brother” so she would be vindicated for the wrongs he did.
Abraham prayed and God healed Abimelech and his household so that they could have kids again.
Abram went to Egypt due to a famine. Abram told Sarai to tell the Egyptians she was his sister in order to protect himself because he was afraid the Egyptians would kill him. So Pharaoh married Sarai (thinking she wasn’t married) and treated Abram well because of it. He was given sheep, cattle, donkeys, servants, and camels.
The Lord was angry at this so he punished Pharaoh and Pharaoh asked Abram why he lied to him. Pharaoh sent them out of his land. They returned to the Negev much wealthier from his lie to Pharaoh.
3) Abraham uses the same fear and mistrust in God to tell Sarah to lie for him. Abraham was well rewarded both times when Sarah was taken. It was the Lord who saved Sarah both times by inflicting disease in Egypt and appearing to Abimelech in a dream and preventing child-bearing.
Both Pharaoh and Abimelech were innocent, not knowing Abraham had lied to them.
Abimelech and Pharaoh gave everything to Abraham to atone for their wrongs (shouldn’t it have been the other way around?). We are told Abraham prayed for Abimelech to be healed and we are not told in Pharaoh’s case but Abraham could have prayed for them as well.
In both instances, God leaves the healing, the repentance, up to Abraham.
4a) Personal Question. My answer: Abraham tells Abimelech he does this so he won’t be killed just like in Egypt. I think he truly doesn’t care about Sarah to do this twice. He seems to have some problems to me–selfishness, not trusting in God, egotistical even.
Why is Abraham moving to these places (Egypt and Negev) if he is fearful of the kings? What is his reasoning? Or is he that greedy for good land for his flocks and for his self-preservation that he just doesn’t care?
b) People do this all the time especially in terms of the work environment. They would rather stab you in the back to climb the corporate ladder than help you. They do this with land fights as well. Anytime man wants something he throws his comrades under the bus. We see it in war situations, politics, and power plays.
5a) He didn’t suffer just like in Egypt. In fact, he prospered even more by being given sheep, cattle, and slaves.
Here’s the guy who one minute is refusing bounty from the King of Sodom (Genesis 14:22:24), has God appear to him in Genesis 15 and say He is his great reward, and then the next selling his wife again to a king of a foreign land. Does Abraham expect to be rewarded like he was in Egypt? Is he using Sarah for material gain? It seems to me to be so. Or he is completely untrusting of God who appeared to him and turning his back on Him.
b) Others will get hurt due to our actions. God is receiving no glory for His work when we don’t trust. Relationships are broken (I’m sure Sarah didn’t appreciate or respect Abraham after all this as much).
6a) He did not treat Abraham as he deserved. He did not retaliate against Abraham. He forgave Abraham’s sin and redeemed him in others’ eyes. He gave Abraham good things out of it. Through grace and love, He did not get angry or accuse. He showed compassion on Abraham, knowing he is merely a man, formed out of dust, and inherently sinful. He loved Abraham and did not remove righteousness from him. Instead, God corrected.
b) Abraham gave Abimelech sheep and cattle. It seems Abraham brought peace for we are told Abimelech and Phicol, his commander of his forces, returned to Philistine without a fight. Abraham may have prevented war just by having his presence there and God protecting Abraham.
c) Personal Question. My answer: He has loved me despite my sins. He has humbled me with this nasty flu I caught. He has blessed me with my husband being home to take care of me. In His mercy, I have faith my husband will land a job this week so in that sense I am grateful.
Conclusions: Did Abraham NOT learn from Egypt? The whole “calling your wife your sister” thing didn’t have such a great ending so why would he do it again? God had to intervene (again) and rescue Sarah. What an idiot! Abraham’s explanation is flimsy to say the least! It’s like he’s floundering. He’s definitely indifferent that’s for sure!
AND did you pick up that Abraham is partly blaming GOD for his actions. Verse 13 “And when God had me wander from my father’s household…” SERIOUSLY? God, the One, True God has called you to greatness and now you are blaming Him for your lies, your fear, your lack of trust, and apparent incompetency to handle such a charge.
Hey, God! Call me! Like Isaiah saying, “Here am I! Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8) Use me. How many of us would jump at such a chance to be made the father of nations and then we blame God for the hardships along the way. Can you picture a little kid jumping up and down, waving their arms, waiting to be chosen??? Unbelievable! Definitely NOT Abraham here.
And then Abraham is rewarded for it! It’s like Abraham is taking advantage of God’s protection over his family to see what he can get out of the deal. Ridiculous in my opinion.
But we see God’s grace throughout it all and I’m assuming that’s why both of these passages are recorded. God loved Abraham despite his bad choices. Just as He loves us when we make bad choices. God redeemed Abraham just like He redeems us afterwards.
Even if our choices are idiotic, repetitive, fearful, and doesn’t make sense to anyone God loves us and offers us His grace. Always. God is good!
Maps: Map of Gerar and Beersheba where the treaty was made: http://www.keyway.ca/htm2001/20010115.htm
Another map of Gerar: http://www.biblicalzionist.com/gerar.htm
Another interesting map showing Negev and Zoar from Lesson 16: http://www.ibiblemaps.com/m002.html
This one I am just including so you can see Mamre (you do have to scroll down a bit): http://www.israel-a-history-of.com/sodom-and-gomorrah.html
End Note: The Abimelech in Genesis 21 is NOT the same Abimelech in Genesis 20. Abimelech was a generic title for ruler amongst the Canaanites and is not a specific name. Question 6b makes it seem like it’s the same guy when it’s not.