Isaac- Abraham’s and Sarah’s son
he story of Isaac and Rebekah starts with the long-waiting birth of Isaac. God promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations. And Abraham believed in that promise. Isaac is Abraham's biological son, but we are all his descendants by faith in Jesus Christ. God took that as Abraham’s justice. At that moment, he becomes a righteous man. After a few adventures with his wife Sarah, including the birth of Ishmael, they got a son. Abraham was a hundred years old while Sarah was ninety years old. In chapter twenty-one, the book of Genesis, God blessed Sarah, and she became pregnant.
By His word, she gave birth to a son, Isaac. Eight days after his birth, Abraham circumcised Isaac as the Lord commanded. Isaac was a very loved and long-expected child. In the story of Isaac and Rebekah, the first time Rebekah is mentioned in Genesis chapter 24 verse 15. The servant of Abraham waited for a girl to give him water. The name Rebekah or Ribqah in Hebrew means to tie, bind, trap, snare. She was Isaac’s cousin; she was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother.
How was Isaac born?
God is not impressed by the size of our good deeds. The world is the one who looks at the numbers and sizes and has a material point of view, while God looks for faith, trust in Him, and hope, no matter how small they might be. Isaac’s birth and life are full of symbols in Scripture. Isaac was born only by faith. So, when God takes us to the end of ourselves when He corners us from every side and brake every expectation, we should accept it gradually! Because then and only then, He prepared us for great things while He showed us that we couldn't do anything without Him.
When Abraham lost every hope in himself and Sarah (they were too old to be parents), God gave them a child. The same way He is preparing us for our own Isaacs. That is how Isaac was born.
The sacrifice of Isaac
The first sentence Isaac said in the Scripture was Genesis 22:7. He asked his father where is the animal for sacrificing. In the previous verse, we see Abraham showing his faith one more time. He commanded the servants to stay in the foot of the mountain while he and the boy went up, pray, and then together go down. As he went to sacrifice Isaac, there was faith in Abraham’s heart that God would somehow bring him back from the dead. The sacrifice of Isaac is the more important example than the greatest example of man’s consecration to be fully obedient to God. We confirm this in Hebrews 11: 17-21.
It is a picture of God’s eternal love, just as Abraham gave his only son as a sacrifice, the same way the Holy Father “does not spare his son” for the sake of this world. What can we learn from Isaac’s obedience? Isaac didn’t complain about being killed by his father. He trusted his father. Despite the situation he was in, he believed in his father with all of his heart. Would you be obedient if you are in Isaac’s place? How do you behave when God is testing your faith? Take some time to think about it. Read the full story of Isaac’s sacrifice here.
Search for a wife
In chapter 24, the book of Genesis, we see Abraham being old and well stricken in age. The Lord has blessed him in many things. The next blessing is a wife for Isaac and possible grandchildren. So he commanded the servant to go and find a suitable wife for Isaac. But, not just any wife, not take a wife from Canaanites' daughters because they worship statues. The servant will go to the land of Abraham a bring a girl who was their relative. The servant asked, what if the girl doesn't want to go out or her home, then should Isaac go there? And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again. (Genesis 24:6)
The story of Rebekah
Isaac was already forty years old. The servant swore and immediately set off. It was customary then for the bridegroom to give gifts to the parents for the bride. The richer the bride, the more expensive gifts should be. Abraham’s servant brought expensive gifts and ten camels and went to the center of Mesopotamia, where Nahor, Abraham’s brother, lived. Approaching the city, the old servant stopped at the well and prayed to God to show him the bride for Isaac. The servant prayed to the God of master Abraham to give him happiness today and have mercy on his master. He was standing by the well where the girls come to fetch water.
He prayed to God that the girl he told to bend his pitcher so that he could get drunk, and she said to him, drink, and I will water your camels, let it be the one that God intended for Isaac. As soon as he prayed, a beautiful girl came to the well with a jug on her shoulder. Abraham’s servant said to her, “Let me drink some water from your pitcher,” She answered, “I will pour your camels too, let them drink,” and began to pour water into the camel’s drinker.
The camels watered, then Abraham’s servant gave the girl a gold bracelet and two bracelets on her hands and asked her whose daughter she was. He asked, is there a place in her father’s house for them to spend the night? The girl answered that she was the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Nahor. They have plenty of straw and drink and a place to sleep. Abraham’s servant fell to his knees and thanked God for answering his prayer. Rebekah, the girl’s name, ran home and told her family about it.
The story of Isaac’s and Rebekah’s wedding
Laban, Rebekah's brother, ran to the well and told Abraham’s servant to come. He was blessed by the Lord. Why would he stand outside? Because Laban prepared the house so that there was room for camels. The servant entered the house there he saddled camels, gave them straw and drink, brought water to wash the feet of him and his men, and set them to eat. But Abraham’s servant said they would not eat until he tells why they had come. Then he told the long story of why he had come and how the Lord had shown him Isaac’s bride in Rebekah at his prayer.
He ended his presentation with the words “If you are going to do love and faith to my master, tell me: and if not, tell me; that I may turn to the right hand or the left?” Laban and Bethuel answered that this came from the Lord, so they cannot say good or not good. Behold, take Rebekah, and go, and be a wife to thy master’s son, as the Lord hath said. The servant took out the gold and silver things and gave the bride her brother and mother.
The next day the servant asked them to let them go. Rebekah’s brother and mother began to persuade him to stay for at least ten days, but he replied that they should not hold back when the Lord gave happiness to their journey. Then her parents called Rebekah and asked her if she was willing to go with this man, and when Rebekah agreed, they blessed her and let her go. And it came to pass, as the travelers approached on the camels of Abraham’s tent, that Isaac met them. And Rebekah became Isaac’s wife.
The first problems in the story of Isaac and Rebekah
After Abraham’s death, Isaac inherited a great fortune, a glorious name, and a promise that a great Descendant would come from him, who would bring God’s blessing to all people. Like Abraham, Isaac was faithful and obedient to God, so the God of Abraham was also the God of Isaac. But there was a sadness in his life, the same as in the life of Abraham. Twenty years have passed since his marriage, and he had no children. Still, he believed that God’s promise of his descendants would inevitably be fulfilled, and he patiently endured his misfortune.
In that way, the story of Isaac and Rebekah is similar to Abraham and Sarah. Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife because she was as barren as his mother, Sarah. And Isaac prayed unto the Lord, and Rebekah became pregnant. She was carrying twins. However, the children hit each other in her womb. Isaac asked the Lord why this was happening. The Lord told him that his two sons were two great nations and that the lesser would serve the greater. Isaac was 60 years old when his sons were born.
After the famine, Isaac went to Gerar with his family. The Lord appeared and told Isaac not to go to Egypt but to wait for God to tell them where to continue their journey. By the word of God, Isaac remained in Gerar, and the Lord renewed the commandment he gave to Abraham because Abraham listened to His voice and obeyed the commandments as well as the laws of God. In that place, people asked around about Rebekah because she was quite attractive. To protect himself, Isaac said Rebekah was his sister. That wasn’t technically a lie because she was his relative.
After some time, King Abimelech saw Isaac being intimate with his wife. King Abimelech immediately called Isaac and asked him why did he say she was his sister? If any of the people slept with her, the great sin would come unto them. The king said that no one should sleep with Rebekah because if someone does, it will die immediately. This part of the story of Isaac and Rebekah reminds Abraham’s and Sarah’s journey. Isaac was a hundred years old while his property progressed.
For that reason, king Abimelech sent him away, so Isaac and Rebekah had to move to the valley of Gerar. When he went up from thence to Beersheba, the Lord spoke to him and confirmed His promise. There he built an altar to invoke the Name of the Lord. After that, King Abimelech came to Isaac with a friend to make a covenant with him. That thou wilt does us no hurt, as we have not touched thee, and as we have done unto thee nothing but good, and have sent thee away in peace: thou art now the blessed of the Lord. (Genesis 26:29, KJV)
Esau didn’t care about his firstborn right, so he sold it to Jacob for only one meal. Their father, Isaac, was pretty old, so he wanted to bless his firstborn before he died. However, instead of Jacob, his father sends Esau on a hunt to prepare a meal for him, to honor him. The father ignored what God said the elder would serve the younger, and that Esau sold the primacy to Jacob.
After Esau was deceived, he openly says in front of his father that Jacob first took the primacy from him, and now the blessing (Genesis 27:36), which confirms that his father knew about the sale of the primacy. Their father’s unwillingness to obey God and to bless his younger son moved their mother Rebekah to persuade Jacob to cheat on the blessing that God said he would give him. She told Jacob to put on her brother’s clothes, to put the goatskin on his hands, and to introduce himself as Esau. Instead of waiting for God to do what he prophesied, the mother and son wanted to do it on their own, even on deception.
When Esau came for the blessing, Isaac says that he had already appointed Jacob to be his master. What God said at the beginning was confirmed – that the elder will serve the younger. After Esau was deceived, his anger grew so much that he wanted to kill his brother. So they sent Jacob to a distant land with his cousin Laban. The father also blessed Esau and gave him material things, but he did not allow him to be the spiritual leader of the family and the forerunner of the Messiah. At the end of the story of Isaac and Rebekah, we see that Isaac lived one hundred and eighty years. Both of his sons had barred him.