BIBLE STORIES (29): ISAAC’S BLESSINGS

Here’s a very short recap from where we were, in this series. Simply that Esau sold his birthright to Jacob over a helping of pottage, and I remember saying that the consequences of that singular action, though remained unapparent for much of the life of Esau, will return to haunt him when it mattered most. However, like the Bible accounts of the events of the time, it is pertinent that the background for that future event be set, to put everything in its proper perspective. Remember that in Genesis 25:11 we are told that Isaac after the death of Abraham went to “… dwell by the well Lahairoi”, but in Genesis 26:1 the account stated that the land was soon beset with famine, necessitating a move by Isaac and his family to Gerar, unto Abimelech King of the Philistines.

Remember again, how I’d earlier told you that though Isaac was the “Child of Promise” the “Chosen One” and “The Seed”, it didn’t necessarily translate to him inheriting the promise made to Abraham by Fiat, without him earning it, for which I quoted Genesis 25:11 where it’s stated “…. that YAHWEH blessed his (Abraham’s) son Isaac;” the knowledge of which I suggested must have encouraged Jacob to scheme to usurp the blessing that should pass from father to the son (he loves most), which in this case should be Esau, seeing that YAHWEH would also have to bless the subject to affirm the blessing in the person or son’s life. So, just like on more than one occasion Abraham was blessed by YAHWEH, Isaac’s case couldn’t have been different.

Just like with his father, Isaac’s path in life continued to be directed by YAHWEH himself, even in matters such as where to reside, as famine was a valid reason to move places or migrate (as it is to this day), even for landowners, talk more a nomad like Isaac. As regards the situation Isaac found himself following the famine therefore, YAHWEH appeared to him saying “… go not down into Egypt (something that you’d repeatedly find in YAHWEH’s relationship with Israel, as you go along in this scriptural journey -except in the case of Jacob relating to Joseph- as an admonition from the time the children of Israel were in the wilderness from Egypt, to the time of Jeremiah the prophet when Judah faced imminent sacking at the hand of the Babylonians); dwell in the land I shall tell thee of” (Genesis 26:2).

I take this to be the beginning of YAHWEH’s relationship with Isaac, if not then the beginning of a “deeper” relationship, the type we all ought to personally have with him devoid of so called mediators like pastors, prophets and the likes, of those who for pecuniary benefits stand between man and his creator. Furthermore, HE goes on to tell Isaac what his plans for HIM are, just like HE did with Abraham, because unlike others, including blood relatives of these set apart people HE has great plans not just for them but for their descendants (who will also carry the torch) in their line. So Isaac is told to “Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee…” (v. 3), in spite of the fact that, if you had read between the lines, it would appear that at that time of famine, Egypt was faring better (probably because of the Nile and advanced irrigation technology of and at the time) than surrounding nations, and it must’ve come to Isaac’s mind to migrate there, just as it comes to many Nigerians to emigrate to other countries because of worsening economic conditions and recession currently bedeviling us.

The only argument YAHWEH presented to Isaac to support HIS decision to have Isaac remain in Gerar of the Philistines, was that “HE will be with him(Isaac)”. Nothing more! Isaac was to decide between trusting YAHWEH to remain in a place enduring a famine, or distrust him for that lush green land (the way his uncle Lot did back in the day, but ended up leaving the Sodom and Gomorrah he choose because of its lushness, with nothing, in a haste with his daughters and ultimately without his wife, as it was pummeled with fire and brimstone). This aspect of life is so synonymous with the life many of us in Africa, and indeed elsewhere pass through, and though many have left our shores to greener pastures abroad to much success, the majority have only exchanged suffering for more calamitous endings. Just last week, news broke of two Ghanaians who lost fingers to frostbite while attempting to cross from the United States into Canada because of President Donald Trump’s executive order on migration. Others have faced worse fates attempting to cross the Mediterranean into Europe, even from Libya where their existence is almost at par if not worse than those of vermins, just because of what they consider difficulties in making ends meet in their home African countries.

Hear more justifications for having Isaac remain where he is – “… and I will bless thee” (v. 3). With YAHWEH once again reiterating his blessing for Isaac, let’s move on – “… for unto thee and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries…”, a clear departure from the preaching I overheard near my abode one Sunday morning, where the pastor/evangelist warned congregants from visiting their villages as they are filled with witches and wizards (though he conveniently forgot to inform them, that it will be in his favour that members of his church remain in the city of Lagos, where they can pay their tithe and offering to him, to fund his lifestyle), which he thereafter encouraged them to cast and bind into hell. These have missed the point, as you cannot own the land you don’t make your physical presence felt in one way or the other on, sometimes even while dead (remember how Abraham purchased choice real estate as burial place for his wife, Sarah, himself and family, and they remain to this day?), like the Igbo of Nigeria who bury patriarchs and matriarchs on family land, though many times not necessarily for the reason of staking a claim on land.

“… and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father” (v. 3), which before now had clearly not been mentioned by YAHWEH, so we can rightly say that this is where Isaac earned his promise, indeed Abraham’s promise, as “The Seed”, not Ishmael, nor any of the sons of Abraham by Keturah. In verse 4, the account continues thus, “And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven (just like HE promised Abraham), and will give unto thy seed all these countries (the same on which he was standing and beyond, again like HE promised Abraham); and in thy SEED shall all the nations of the earth be blessed (if you cannot associate that spiritually to Yahshua Ha’mashiach, as HIS blessing and gift to mankind, in dying for the remission of our sins, then consider how physically Jews have impacted our civilization bountifully, as evidenced in the number of Nobel Prizes they’ve won in every field since the prestigious award was instituted)”. Notice how “Seed” was again used, as with Abraham to signify that this blessing was to pass, as with Abraham to just one son and not all his sons, and as well in the case of Isaac; hence scheduled to pass either to Esau (the elder of the twin, beloved of Isaac) or Jacob (beloved of his mother, Rebekah).

"AND I WILL MAKE THY SEED TO MULTIPLY AS THE STARS OF HEAVEN, AND I WILL GIVE UNTO THY SEED ALL THESE COUNTRIES; AND IN THY SEED SHALL ALL THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED"  - GENESIS 26 : 4
“AND I WILL MAKE THY SEED TO MULTIPLY AS THE STARS OF HEAVEN, AND I WILL GIVE UNTO THY SEED ALL THESE COUNTRIES; AND IN THY SEED SHALL ALL THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED”
– GENESIS 26 : 4

In ending, YAHWEH reminded Isaac of the conditions by which Abraham was made eligible of THE PROMISE, stating “Because that Abraham obeyed my voice (a key ingredient if we also must be partakers of HIS promise, contrary to the theology of today which places little or no responsibility on those who claim to worship the creator, thinking they must be on the right path because no calamity has befallen them, and besides considering being prosperous to mean being in good stead with YAHWEH, that’s consistent with the faulty prosperity gospel of our day), and kept my charge, my commandments (which some today claim has been nailed to the ‘cross’ by the saviour, who in reference to the commandments said ‘Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill’ {Matthew 5:17} or ‘establish it’ as rendered in other translations, and if you go further, it will mean that observance of the law hitherto considered a physical task was to now include thoughts as well), my statutes, and my laws”. In mentioning this therefore, Isaac was been put on notice by YAHWEH that only by following in the footsteps of his father, Abraham could the promise follow him, and his offsprings. To sum up Isaac’s response to all that YAHWEH told him, verse 6 of Genesis chapter 26, reads “And Isaac dwelt in Gerar”, thereby opting for faith (and starting his own walk/relationship with YAHWEH through obedience, just like his father, Abraham) over the physical, which definitely wasn’t in favour of remaining in Gerar, at the time. Till next time then!

‘kovich

REFERENCE:
– Genesis Chapter 26 Verses 1 – 6, THE WORD OF YAHWEH, © 2000

PICTURE CREDIT:
http://cimort.jl.serv.net.mx

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