Today’s readings are Genesis 26:1-33 & Luke 8:26-29.
Genesis chapter 26 and other such stories in the bible can make your head spin. The author of Genesis so far has been unravelling God’s plan for mankind.
The break in proceedings in chapter 26 and the story of Isaac and Abimelech feels like a break in the bigger picture of Jacob and Esau. When we left chapter 25 we had these words ringing in our ears, ” So Esau despised his birthright.” (v34).
The break allows us to put into perspective the attitudes and activities of the Jacob and Esau. I wonder if what has happened makes you thankful for your own family?
From here we see the Lord engages with Isaac directly. He instructs him very clearly, “Do not go down…stay in the land…I will be with you…I will give you the lands…I will make your descendants…”(vs2-6).
As you continue to read the wife-sister story you may be thinking, have I not read this before (see Gen 12 and 20)…yes is the answer. You may also be thinking how can men do this? As this would require several books written over many years, and even after that you may still be left wondering how the mind of a male works, we will focus on the more significant aspects of such a situation.
Accounts like this may have us even wonder why God perseveres and simply doesn’t just give up on us. Yet here, the fact that Isaac presents his wife as his sister, does not have the same consequences or create the same obstacles as before. Here it is simply a masquerade. God continues to bless, conflict is resolved and wells are dug. Later on in Genesis these themes will surface again.
What we learn from this episode is that God is still able to accomplish his plans, preserve his covenant and still bring blessings in spite of, jealousy, hostility, conflict and cover ups. Genesis 26 continues to point towards the ultimate truth that God’s covenant with man will work out even when it is in the hands of the likes of Jacob, Esau and Isaac.
What we also know this side of the cross of Jesus, is that God works in and through our weakness (see also 2 Cor. 12:7-10). The Lords remains with us as he did with Isaac in spite of ourselves (v28).
May we today give thanks for God’s willingness to continue to show his grace towards us as we seek to listen to him well. Yes, he still cares.