Impress them on your children

“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates.” – Deuteronomy‬ ‭6:5-9‬ ‭NIVUK‬‬

Source: http://bible.com/113/deu.6.5-9.nivuk

God’s Word needs to permeate our existence.

Genesis 26

If you are a parent, this chapter might shake you up a bit. Usually parents like their children to follow their example, except perhaps when that example is morally wrong. I find it rather disturbing how some of Abraham’s less proud moments in his life find their way into Isaac’s life. One of my prayers for my children is that God would protect them against making the same mistakes I have made. It may be true that we learn more from our mistakes than doing the right thing all the time, but I am concerned about the presence of the consequences of our sin. These consequences often stay with us for a long time, and it can take a long time to undo them, especially when the sin is impacting a relationship. On a side note though: isn’t sin ALWAYS impacting a relationship?

God is faithful as always. When Isaac needs to make a decision about where to go during the famine, God gives him clear direction, and He reaffirms His promise to Abraham. What promises has God given you? Perhaps it is time to think about them again, and to remind yourself that He is faithful to bring about what He has said would happen. It might not be according to your planning but it will happen.

God takes care of Isaac, so much so that he has to move away from the Philistines because of the abundance of his possessions. The Philistines recognize that only God could bless a man in such a way, so Abimelech comes to him with Ahuzzath and Phicol to make a treaty with Isaac similar to the one they have made with Abraham. I think they must have feared that if they ever give Isaac and his family any trouble, they might not fare that well in the resulting confrontation with God on Isaac’s side. As Paul says in the New Testament, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” May we always remember this.

Genesis 25

This chapter records some interesting events.

First of all we are told that Abraham has taken another wife at some point. The narrative here is not necessarily chronological. Instead, like many other places in Genesis, all the loose ends of the story are being tied up to end the account of Abraham (NETBible, 2005 – 2009). We are told that Abraham leaves all that he owns to Isaac, and he sends his other sons away to make sure that there will be no conflict when he (Abraham) dies. What a sad state of affairs?! Although Abraham was within his rights in the time and culture that he lived to take another wife, the first chapters in Genesis suggested that marriage was defined as a relationship between one man and one woman. One can only wonder how Abraham’s other children must have felt: shunned, rejected? When human beings try to go against the created order or take matters in their own hands instead of doing things God’s way, we are often left with long-lasting consequences that are tough to deal with, e.g. Isaac’s descendants will live in hostility toward Isaac’s brothers’ descendants from that point forward. May God, through His grace, help us to be faithful to Him until our time on Earth has been concluded.

We learn in this chapter that Abraham must have seen the birth and the first few years of his grandsons, Esau and Jacob. He must have been excited to see God fulfill His promise to him.

We see that both Isaac and Rebekah have a practical faith at this point, including God in their day-to-day problems and challenges. This must have been a characteristic of Abraham’s household, because in the previous chapters we have seen the same practical walk with God in Abraham’s chief servant.

It is interesting to see how the weaknesses of the parents sometimes show up in the children in some way or another. Abraham chose Isaac above his other children, sending the other children away from his household. Granted, God has told Abraham that He would make only Isaac into a great nation, but the way Abraham almost seems to have dismissed Isaac’s brothers (and sisters?) might have had an impact on Isaac’s ability to love all of his children equally. So Isaac loves Esau more than Jacob, and, in what might be a reactionary move, Rebekah loves Jacob more than Esau. This lack of unity is unfortunate, and it will cause some sadness in the future.

The account of Jacob and Esau is written beautifully. There is a lot of wordplay in the original language that emphasizes the relationship between Esau and Jacob. Do yourself a favor and read some of the comments made in the NETBible, at http://net.bible.org/bible.php?book=Gen&chapter=25.

Again it is interesting (and worrying?) to see how the weaknesses of the forefathers are seen in the children. Rebekah is told before her two sons are born that the ‘older will serve the younger’. So it is safe to assume that somehow God would have worked out this prophecy to the benefit of all. Instead, just like Abraham and Sarah took matters in their own hands when they tried to work out God’s promise of children through Hagar, Jacob takes matters in his own hands by tricking his brother Esau into selling him his birthright. Again, taking matters out of God’s hands come at a price: Jacob’s sneaky move hurt the relationship between him and his brother. May the Lord grant us the grace not to repeat the mistakes of our forefathers.