The Blessing Passes On (Genesis 26 v 1-11)

Introduction

•  I need to give your two bits of introductory information – first bit is covenant.

•  Many buildings, this one included have a master key – one key that opens all the doors.

•  Without that key doors remain closed and never quite to be able to understand the building.

•  The Bible is a bit like that – it is like a building with connected rooms and one key opens it all up so that we can see the wonder of God’s love in Jesus Christ.

•  That key to understanding the Bible is COVENANT.

•  Covenant is God’s big promise – I will be your God and the God of your descendants after you

•  And the details of that big promise were revealed bit by bit to mankind, at every stage a little more until all its fullness was seen in the Lord Jesus Christ.

•  God had told Abraham that the blessing of the covenant would be passed on through Isaac – Genesis 21:12 it is through Isaac that your offspring will be blessed .

•  And what we have here in 26 is God confirming His covenant with Isaac.

•  Now I need to give you a second piece of information. The Bible does not always write things in the order that they happened.

•  Chapter 26 jumps back in time earlier in Isaac’s life – no children around. Liberals say – botch up by some editor. Nonsense. God has a purpose for placing it here.

•  What did you think as we read it earlier? Did you think –I have heard this before?

•  It is very like what happened with Abraham – famine, Gerar, Abimelech, wife/sister story.

•  People who don’t believe the Bible say – this is a blunder – someone mixing the stories – It’s not.

•  We have just had Esau despising the birthright and in 27 there is Jacob getting the blessing – but what was the birthright, what was the blessing

•  This flashback chapter 26 shows that the birthright was the covenant promise that was made with Abraham and confirmed with Isaac. That is why the chapter is where it is

•  Now this isn’t simply interesting Bible teaching – it is life changing Bible teaching.

•  Seeing something vital – that the covenant promise is not just for one generation, but that the blessing is passed on.

•  Vital truths for us. Truths to put spring in our step, confidence in our hearts. Expectation.

•  Seeing how God works in the world. That He does not abandon His people.

1.  The Blessing Passes On Amidst Life’s Trials

•  Remember the key thing in the passage is God confirming to Isaac the covenant – v3 I will be with you and bless you…will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham ,

•  What a blessing this was for Isaac – to have the Lord speak with him personally to confirm what he knew was promised – his father had often told him.

•  And look at when Isaac has this marvellous truth confirmed to him v1 Now there was a famine in the land, besides the earlier famine of Abraham’s time .

•  Remember what Isaac does for a living – keeps sheep, goats, cattle – and a famine meant one thing – utter ruin. It was a disaster – like a dairy farmer heard going down with foot and mouth.

•  It seems again that the purposes of God are hanging by a thread. The smell of death is in the air.

•  He seems to have been prevented going to Egypt like his father did. God halts him in the borders near the Philistines – there he stays like Abraham in Gerar v6 see 20:1

•  Isaac is amidst ungodly people, under all sorts of pressures and trials and troubles.

•  The life of the heir of the covenant blessings is anything but easy. Stay in this land v3 – he is a gipsy.

•  And yet it is then and there that the Lord confirms personally to Isaac the details of the covenant.

•  The big promise of God – to be his God and the God of his descendants after him is not hindered by trouble or trial.

•  Now can you see how this message would have warmed the heart of the first readers as they went into the Promised Land – the trouble would escalate as never before, wickedness all around them, pressures unending.

•  But they have been told that no matter what the trouble, no matter how bleak it looks God’s covenant purposes will go on.

•  Doesn’t that help us. We think of the future and you don’t need a crystal ball to know the future – God has said it will get worse.

•  There is going to great famine in the future – famine of truth and righteousness.

•  Our children are going to be living and working in the godless Gerars of this world – with all sorts of pressures.

•  And none of these will hinder God confirming His covenant with a rising generation.

•  None of the troubles and trials of tomorrow’s world will hinder God’s grace in Christ Jesus our Lord.

2.  The Blessing Passes On Personally

•  Isaac already knows the details of the covenant that God made with his father Abraham.

•  He knows that it will be through him and his line that the nations of the earth will be blessed in the coming of the Messiah.

•  Godly Abraham has told his son these details.

•  But now in the first recorded speaking of God to Isaac the details are personally confirmed v3ff – I will be with you and bless you…to you and your descendants I will give all these lands…I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky…through your offspring all nations of the earth will be blessed .

•  God had used the godly teaching of Abraham to bring his son Isaac to saving faith – you will see that in v5 – come to that in a few moments.

•  So here is this man Isaac and God is calling him out from the shadow of his father and gives the promises directly to him.

•  Now we need to remember that this is a unique moment in redemptive history – never be another Isaac, there won’t be any audible voice from God for we have a completed Bible.

•  But there is a simple lesson – and it was a lesson that those going into the Promised Land needed to learn and we need to remember.

•  That the blessings of the covenant are to be received personally from one generation to another.

•  The children that are here tonight – this is for you – you are like Isaac.

•  You have had the blessing of being taught in your homes the Word of God, being told of the Saviour.

•  And you are to believe that not just because that is what mummy and daddy have taught you – but because those truths that we have been teaching you are God teaching you Himself.

•  And we trust and pray that you are like Isaac already – believers in the covenant promises – and those promises are given to you personally by God in His Word – He will be your God and the God of your descendants after.

•  And He calls you to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and repent of your sin.

•  I have told you often that you are the richest people in the land – and part of your wealth – is that God is speaking to you personally through His Word and demands your following.

3. The Blessing Passes on In spite of Failure

•  We do need to remember that though Isaac lives in the shadow of his father Abraham and his son Jacob- that he is a godly man.

•  As a teenager he had willingly gone with his father up Mt. Moriah and lay on the altar. Man of prayer.

•  Even here – when God directs him not to go to Egypt and stay in Gerar – he obeys.

•  Later in the chapter we will see that he is quiet man, doesn’t want a row with the Philistines.

•  But like any believer he is far from perfect. Even though God has made great promises to him the legs go from under him when faced with the king of the Philistines.

•  Like his father before him before another Abimelech Isaac is prepared to allow his beloved wife to become the prey of wicked men so that he can save his own neck.

•  In v4 part of the covenant is that he would be a blessing to the nations of the earth – but he is not – he lets God down.

•  For those of us who are parents there is a very clear challenge here – the godly Isaac follows the folly of his godly father.

•  Like father like son. In a tight spot Isaac reacts in the sinful pattern of his father.

•  It is a serious thought that our children so often copy our sins – seen that in my own life and in the lives of many families – we are to be on our guard.

•  Check yourself parents. Seek his grace to be consistent in our walk, seek grace to confess our sins

•  Children – we are not perfect Christians – follow us where we follow Christ and don’t follow us where we have failed Christ.

•  But as we look at Isaac receiving confirmation of the covenant – there is encouragement – God’s grace is not hindered by the failure of His people.

•  Abraham was not a perfect father – and the Lord worked in spite of his failings.

•  Isaac was the one through whom the blessing of God would be revealed to the world.

•  What help for the people entering the Promised Land. They too were imperfect people.

•  And yet God would watch over them, bless them, discipline them – because that is how God works – grace to unworthy sinners.

•  God works by grace – and the hope of a future generation rising up to serve God is rooted in God’s grace.

•  God works in spite of our failures.

•  Because we are not perfect doesn’t mean that we are not Christians.

•  We are not perfect people and our children will not be perfect people God works in spite of our failures. What a comfort that is to know.

4. The Blessing Passes on with Responsibilities

•  Great balance here in this passage – and we need that in our lives. All of grace.

•  But why is God able to confirm His covenant with Isaac?

•  Look at v5 because Abraham obeyed me and kept my commandments .

•  The blessings are coming to Isaac because Abraham obeyed God.

•  Now we need to read this with our whole Bible understanding switched on.

•  Isaac is a saved man because God in His great grace has saved him – he has been saved by grace.

•  But God has always use means in saving people. And he had a means in the saving of Isaac.

•  That means was the obedience of his father Abraham.

•  God had not only given him a great promise – to be his God and the God of his descendants but God had also given him covenant responsibilities.

•  18:19 I have chosen him so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord and by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what He has promised him .

•  By grace Abraham had sought to keep the promises that he had made, and by grace God had used what Abraham had taught his son to bring him to faith. Isaac was a saved man because of God’s grace; he was a saved man because Abraham fulfilled his covenant obligations and that he had done by grace.

•  And what God was doing here in our chapter was saying to Isaac – this is your challenge amidst the promises – to be like your father and live a life that will tell of what God does in his grace.

•  And the challenge that God gave Abraham and Isaac is our challenge too – to teach a rising generation the ways of God, to proclaim to them the gospel.

•  Many of us have vowed before Almighty God to pray that our children will be brought to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

•  We have promised to seek that they will know the Holy Scriptures and to know the duty of committing themselves to God.

•  We have promised to rule well our households, to set an example of a holy and persistent life.

•  We have promised to attend with regularity to personal, family and public worship.

•  And if as a parent you are not seeking by God’s grace to do those things – then please, please repent and do that, repent every day and seek grace to fulfil your covenant responsibilities.

•  To neglect those vows is saying to God – I am not going to read with them, pray with and for them, we are not going to have family worship, we are not going to seek that they are at public worship is to say – we want to break out of God’s covenant.

•  And you must not be surprised if your children rise up to despise the blessings of the covenant of grace.

•  So can you see the wonderful balance of the Word here – God’s faithfulness to His covenant – God’s grace – but that His grace and faithfulness is not an excuse for our carelessness.

•  So parents if you and I long to see the blessings of the covenant at work in the generation that follows we must like Isaac face up to the challenge given to Abraham and to raise our children for God.

•  For God often works in the lives of a rising generation though the teaching and example of parents.

Conclusion

•  At the start I said that when God gave to the OT church more and more details of the covenant – the next instalment the next upgrade – was an upgrade – like getting new computer programme.

•  It involved all that was told before and added further blessings.

•  And that is how it is for Isaac v3 I will be with you – it had been implied before and now it is stated clearly.

•  Previously God had a general promise re the land – now told all the lands.

•  And although this was a unique moment – there is an important principle to remember – when we are faithful to God a future generation won’t be poor, but richer – not richer in things of world but in the things that matter.

•  If you are a growing Christian – your children will be blessed in knowing things you will not have known at that stage of life.

•  If you are a growing Christian you ought to expect that your children will be even more fruitful and useful for you will be feeding and teaching them in a way that perhaps you were not.

•  For our church family we ought to look for the blessing of God increasing.

•  We have seen a growing church – why should our children not see 5 growing churches – with a growing church with believers being built a future generation is being built for greater usefulness.

•  We have seen some lives changed by grace – why should the next generation not see many lives changed.

•  With the covenant of grace the future is never bleak but bright and as we trust in Jesus Christ – God is with us. His blood has dealt with our sin and His Spirit gives us grace to live for Him.