BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 20, Day 4: Genesis 26:12-35

Summary of passage:  Isaac planted crops in the land of the Philistines and the Lord blessed him.  He became rich and had so many flocks that the Philistines became jealous so they filled all his wells with dirt.  Finally, Abimelech told Isaac to move away because he had become too powerful.

So Isaac moved to the Valley of Gerar and re-opened the wells.  Isaac’s servants dug two new wells but the locals quarreled over them.  He dug another well that was undisputed, which showed Isaac the Lord would provide.

At Beersheba the Lord appeared to Isaac and told him He would bless him and increase his descendants. Isaac built an altar there and called on the Lord.  He also dug a well there.

Abimelech saw how Isaac continued to prosper because the Lord was with him and became afraid.  So he along with his  adviser and commander approached Isaac to make a treaty not to harm them.  This was done.  Another well was dug.

Esau married Judith and Basemath, Hittites, and they were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah.

Questions:

9a)  God multiplied Isaac’s crops by a hundredfold.

b)  The Philistines became jealous of Isaac’s success so they filled all of his wells.

c)  Abimelech kicked him out of the land

d)  He just moved and kept digging wells until he found one undisputed.

e)  God appeared to Isaac and told him He will bless him and have descendants.  Isaac responded by building an altar and calling on the name of the Lord.  He pitched his tent there and dug another well.

10a)  Proverbs says “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him”.  The Philistines sought a treaty with Isaac out of fear of the Lord.  God approved of Isaac, blessed him, and protected him by giving him peace.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  If you follow God’s ways, you will have peace with your enemies.  I’m unsure how to answer this one for I have no real enemies like Isaac did.  We live in a time of relative peace compared to ancient times so it’s hard for us to understand this.  Even if we have personal enemies we must love them and do what is right and trust God to bring the peace.

Conclusions:  Good lesson of overcoming adversity.  Most of us don’t have wells that are taken from us but we have other things (and if you’ve been through bankruptcy you know what I’m talking about here).

God gives and takes away and at some point most of us have had things taken from us (either jobs, finances, kids, dogs, family members, relatives, or personal items such as homes or cars).

It’s how we respond that God is seeking.  Like Jesus?  Or not like Jesus?

We will have peace if we do what Jesus would do.  That is God’s promise.

End Note:  Note the name of the wells.  Esek means dispute.  Sitnah means opposition. And Rehoboth means room.  God uses dispute and opposition to give us room.  Neat, huh?

Abraham is known for building altars.  Jacob will be known for tents.  Isaac is known for wells.  All different ways of God’s provision for His people.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 20, Day 3: Genesis 25:19-26:11

Summary of passage:  Isaac was forty when he married Rebekah.  Isaac prayed when he discovered Rebekah was barren and God granted her twins.  The Lord told her she carried two nations, one will be stronger and the older will serve the younger.  Esau was the first born (his name may mean hairy.  He was also called Edom which means red for he was red-headed).  The second born was Jacob who came out clasping Esau’s heel (his name means he grasps the heel or he deceives).  Isaac was 60 years old at their birth.

Esau became a hunter while Jacob stayed home.  Isaac loved Esau while Rebekah loved Jacob more.

Esau sold his birthright for a meal, implying he despised his birthright.

A famine came into the land and Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines in Gerar (different guy than Abraham’s Abimelech.  Remember, Abimelech is the name they give to rulers).  The Lord appeared to Isaac and told him to not go to Egypt but to stay here. He will bless him and give all this land to his descendants.  He repeats the oath He gave to Abraham.  He will bless all nations because Abraham was faithful and his descendants will be as numerous as the stars..

Isaac, however, lied who Rebekah was, saying she was his sister just like Abraham had done in Egypt out of fear of being killed.  But Isaac got caught in his lie and was chastised by Abimelech who orders no one to touch or molest Isaac or Rebekah.

Questions:

5)  He prayed

6)  Isaac loved Esau because he brought him wild game to eat.  It’s a shallow reason.  Yes, providing food is important in life but to love your son just because he does this is not loving the heart.  It’s loving for actions and not for who the person is.  You love the entire person and not because of what they can do for you.  Sad, really.

7)  God commanded Isaac not to go to Egypt during the famine.  He promised him He would be with him and He would bless him.  He confirmed the oath He gave to Abraham, saying He will give all his descendants all these lands.  He will make Isaac’s descendants as numerous as the stars and all the nations will be blessed because Abraham obeyed and kept God’s laws.

8a)  He lied about who his wife was.

b)  I don’t think he could have.  Abraham’s sin was committed before he was born so Isaac would only have heard stories told and he would have seen first-hand the pain that Hagar had brought to all.  Sin is a personal choice, an act of Free Will.  Parents can no more prevent their kids from sinning than they can prevent themselves if they so choose.  We have no control.  Abraham could have told Isaac not to lie, etc but Isaac chose to follow his way instead.

[Note:  Commentaries I read said Abraham could have set a better example and that the sins of the father are often found in the children because of the sinful environment in which they grew up in.  I, however, reject this.  Abraham sinned before Isaac was born and we all have our own choices to make.  I’m sure Abraham told his son the story and not to do what he did.  Personal responsibility and Free Will reign here.]

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Tell them honestly what you have done and implore them to make better choices.  Show them the consequences of your sin and do not hide it. Kids need to know there are consequences for sin.  Don’t sugar-coat anything and live an honest, repentant life.

Conclusions:  We don’t know what Isaac knew about Egypt but we do know the pain Hagar and Ishmael caused so we can assume Isaac knew this as well and he chose to follow in his father’s footsteps and let fear reign.  Like I said yesterday, fear is a motivating factor that often causes us to sin but God can help us trust Him and not let fear take over.

Sin is a personal choice, something we are all responsible for.  No one else is to blame. Isaac sinned just like his father.  For Isaac is human just like Abraham.  We can help our kids understand what sin is and what are the consequences and that they have a choice: to follow God or to follow themselves or the devil.

Sin is inevitable; but with Jesus sin is wiped away.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 20, Day 2: Genesis 22:6-10; 24:62-67

Summary of passages:  Genesis 22:6-10:  Abraham places the wood for the sacrifice of Isaac on Isaac while he carries the fire and knife.  They proceed together and Isaac asks his father where is the lamb for the burnt offering.  Abraham says God will provide the lamb.

When they reached the place for the sacrifice, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood.  He bound his son and laid him on the altar.  He took the knife to slay his son.

Genesis 24:62-67:  Isaac went out to the fields to pray when he saw camels approach. Rebekah saw Isaac and asked who he was.  When she found out it was her future husband, she covered herself with a veil.  The servant reported to Isaac all that had happened. Isaac and Rebekah were married.

Questions:

3)  He is God-centered.  He submits to God’s plan of being a sacrifice.  He believes his father that this is from the Lord.  He is praying when his future wife arrives and he marries her without question.  God is first in his life and he will sacrifice his life for God’s will.

4a)  According to Webster’s Dictionary, submissive means “submitting to others.”  Submit means “to yield to governance or authority; surrender.”

b)  Numbers 12:3:  “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.”

Psalm 25:9:  “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.”

Psalm 37:11:  “But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace.”

Psalm 149:4:  “For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation.”

Matthew 5:5:  “Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.”

Matthew 11:29:  “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

1 Peter 3:4-5:  “Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.  For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful.  They were submissive to their own husbands.”

Verse 6:  “Like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master.  You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.”

[Note:  I threw in verse 6 for 2 reasons:  1) It mentions Sarah whom we are studying  2)  I think fear is crucial in understanding why we do some of the things we do–out of fear. It’s one of the devil’s favorite weapons against us.  We are afraid to submit to our husband’s authority and on down the line.  We are afraid to give control of our lives (and our kids) to God.  We are afraid of _____ (fill in the blank).  Fear is a HUGE motivator in our lives–and we must recognize and acknowledge that in order to defeat it.

And in terms of beauty, we women are afraid to say we are beautiful if we don’t look like Gisele (and that’s 99.9 % of us).  But each and every one of us are.  Because God inhabits us.  And the world would be infinitely better if fear didn’t prevent us from shining our souls to others.]

4c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’d be happier.  Less stress.  Less worry.  Less heartache.  Less disappointment.  I take everything personally so I often am resentful of people.  And we all know I have no patience.  I’d have more friends cause I’d be more forgiving and a nicer person to be around.

Conclusions:  I found it odd we looked up the definition of submissive but then was asked about developing meekness.  So, I looked up the definition of meek.  It is “enduring injury with patience and without resentment; mild.  Deficient in spirit and courage; submissive.”

Deficient does mean lacking, not up to normal standards, or defective (yes, I looked this up too).  So being meek according to the second definition I believe is not what we want. We want the first definition.

I think both are the goals.  Enduring injury with patience and yielding to authority–things that go against the American norm and what most of us were raised to be (thanks in large part to feminism which I believe has done more harm than good to this country).

Despite the fact we went back in Genesis, I think this was an important lesson to underscore.  I think it’s something we all need to work on.  Submissive is a borderline bad word in America and we need to change that.  The second definition of meek is the predominant thought as well where one is cowering in a corner.  Humble is usually not the first word that comes to mind when asked to describe someone.

Lesson for the week:  Pray for humility, meekness, and submissiveness in our lives.