Tag Archives: Isaac

Not for Lack

When you look at the relationship between Leah and Rachel, on the surface you may feel bad for Leah because you read of Jacob’s great love for Rachel. Read Genesis 29. Rachel was younger, “had a lovely figure and was beautiful,” while Leah “had weak eyes” (v. 17 NIV). Plainly put, “Jacob was in love with Rachel” (v. 18 NIV).

Despite her love of Jacob, Rachel sacrificially remains silent so that Jacob would marry her sister Leah first. It was not a custom to have the younger child marry off before the eldest. Though Leah was “not loved” by Jacob as she desired, God soon blesses her with Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah. Note, Judah is the line that leads to Jesus.

These two sisters certainly had their moments, and more children followed to form the twelve tribes of Israel; Leah bore six of the twelve. Though Leah lacked the love of Jacob that she desired, God provided her a huge family and wealth. She is mentioned in Ruth 4, along with her sister, as building the house of Israel. Eventually she would be buried beside the man she adored, in the cave with Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah (see Genesis 49:29-33). God was with her and her children. She was loved by Him. She was not for lack. God loves you too. Today, rest in His love. You, too, are not for lack.

“When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved, He enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless.” Genesis 29:31 [NIV]

“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” – Psalm 127:3 [NASB]

 

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The Hitch

When I woke up, the day didn’t start out well. I allowed myself to get in a bad mood. A broken down system at work. Getting parked in by landscapers. Having my privacy invaded. The list of issues that rained down on me that morning brought the perfect storm. If you must know, yes, it was a Monday! I don’t have problems with Mondays though. Everything just seemed to fall upon me though on this particular Monday.

Keeping one’s attitude in check is hard, but it’s even more difficult when multiple things go wrong. We may brush off a few things, but as the bullets keep flying, we often lose it. We are in control of our attitude. We are responsible for our reactions. That day, since the system was down, I left work early to head home. I desired the opportunity to just lay on the sofa with the pups and read my Bible. I needed to just hide under the covers with Him and get away from this heaping mess. I needed to rest with Him and fix my attitude.

On the way home, it was raining. There was a slick spot where there must have been oil on the ground. When some fellow jumped into our lane without following proper driving rules, we all had to stop. The space was there. The time was there. But the oil was also there. My van slid right into the truck in front of me. I closed my eyes. Not something else. I didn’t even want to get out and look, but when I did, I praised the Lord. No injuries, and little damage. Why? Because of the hitch. The man had a hitch on his truck. It kept our vehicles separated. Despite all the craziness of the day, despite being pelted with many things that day, the hitch was there—just like the ram in the bush. God provided a hedge around me and reminded me things would be just fine. Look around today. Perhaps there’s a hitch in your path—something to help to refocus your eyes on God.

“Abraham answered, ‘God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.’ Then the two of them walked on together.” – Genesis 22:8 [HCSB]

Just the Time

Waiting is hard. We are not patient people. I know I am the kind of person that wants to get things done right away. When I see something that needs done, I do it. When I see a problem, I dive in to try to fix it. I don’t like to dilly dally around.

The Lord is showing me that waiting is crucial in life. God created the earth with rhythm and balance. We cannot do everything. We shouldn’t try everything. We need to instead rest in Him and trust that at just the time, He will move and things will come to be just as He has planned and promised. Never in the Bible do you see Jesus rushing around like a chicken with His head cut off. Yet, when we closely examine our own lives, we often note we are too much action and not enough wait. We are too much noise, not enough silent moments with Him.

With Abraham and Sarah, they were promised a child but they didn’t wait. Sound like anyone you know? Then God revealed more of His plan to them, letting the two know that the promised line would come through their soon-to-be child Isaac who would soon make an appearance. Sarah laughed, but “this happened at just the time God had said it would.” Patience allows us to experience the peace God always meant for us to enjoy. Patience stretches our faith. Patience allows us to see God move in awesome ways. Today, remind yourself that God’s Word tells us there is a time for everything. Trust His timing.

“She became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. This happened at just the time God had said it would.” – Genesis 21:2 [NLT]

She Went to God

Rebekah was barren; Isaac prayed hard. God answered his prayer. Isaac’s wife Rebekah became pregnant. Genesis 25 says that the children were inside her tumbling and kicking. The children were so active within that she questioned why go on living. She went to God. She went to God, the Bible says, to find out what was going on.

God let her know what was happening within her. He told her that there were two nations in her womb and they were butting heads with each other within. He even let her know that the older child would serve the younger, the opposite of the normal position in society.

So often we have things happen in life, but we turn elsewhere instead of first turning to God. Today, may Rebekah’s example remind you of the importance of going to God first. He knows all. He sees all. He created you—He knit you together. He knows what is for your best. Only He can show you your purpose in life. Only He can give you wisdom. Only He can provide you with a peace beyond understanding. Only He is always ready to listen when we turn and speak. Take it to God my friend.

God Sees to It

In Genesis 22, we read in verse 14 the term GOD-Yireh. The Message translates this to “God sees to it.” To see to something, one makes sure it will happen, that whatever is needed is provided. In this case, Abraham was asked by God to sacrifice his treasured son Isaac on the altar. Abraham did exactly what was commanded, taking Isaac and binding him to prepare for the sacrifice.

As Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac, God stepped in and we read of an angel calling out to stop the sacrifice. This attempted sacrifice showed Abraham feared God. After the angel interruption, then God provided another sacrifice—a ram that got caught in the thicket by his horns. God saw to it that there was something to sacrifice. In the same way, He sees to it that all our needs are provided.

Today realize that not only does God sees all, but He also sees things through to completion. When you think that there is no other way, there is a ram in the thicket. When you think that you cannot take anything more, there is a ram in the thicket. When you are struggling, in need, tired, or not well, there is often a ram in the thicket. If God called you to it, He will see you through it—with His strength to achieve His plan and finish the race focused on His purpose and for His glory.

She Went to God

When there is a problem, who do you go to first? When you do not understand something, to whom do you turn? When Rebekah became pregnant, it was a great answer to the prayers of Isaac. However, there was a fight going on in her womb. Jacob and Esau were getting ready for what would continue throughout their life.

Rebekah was so upset by this situation that she questioned living any further. It was too much to endure. I could not imagine the pain of two babies fighting from within the womb. A normal kick alone could be painful but this was a war from inside.

Immediately “she went to God to find out what was going on.” She didn’t seek help elsewhere. She didn’t go to a friend or neighbor. She didn’t go to a midwife. She went to God. It’s the same action we should take when we face a situation, whether it is a war from within, a loss of employment, an illness, or anything and everything else you may face. The bottom line is go to God. Today. Tomorrow. Always.

“Isaac prayed hard to God for his wife because she was barren. God answered his prayer and Rebekah became pregnant. But the children tumbled and kicked inside her so much that she said, ‘If this is the way it’s going to be, why go on living?’ She went to God to find out what was going on. God told her,

Two nations are in your womb,
two peoples butting heads while still in your body.
One people will overpower the other,
and the older will serve the younger.”

– Genesis 25:21-23 [MSG]

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Children’s Ministry Lesson: Abraham Abundance and Blessing

Getting Started: Discussion of Count the Stars Simile

First tell children about some similes – brave as a lion, crazy like a fox, slow as molasses. Visual illustration: molasses poured out slowly.
Genesis 15 says “look up at the sky and count the stars… so shall your offspring be.” – As many people as stars.
Can you count the stars? Do you know how many stars there are in the sky? What does this mean? (You can also show your favorite constellation to intro to these questions).

Craft / Activity

Watered down glue / glitter / black or dark blue construction paper / brown or beige construction paper

Cut the brown / beige construction paper as a small land mass before class.

Spread the watered down glue on the papers. Put the land mass at the bottom of the paper. Sprinkle glitter on the paper. Be sure to have a small box to catch the glitter that falls from the paper.

On the land mass, write “Count the Stars” – Genesis 15:5

After doing the activity, begin digging deeper into the lesson (this allows for the papers to dry and for children to have another visual learning experience).

Genesis 12:1-5 – God’s promise to Abram

I will make you into a GREAT NATION

I will make your NAME GREAT

You will be A BLESSING

… ALL PEOPLES ON EARTH WILL BE BLESSED THROUGH YOU.

(New Home – Great Name – Family)

Abram (75 years old)  – left Haran with Sarai and Lot.

Genesis 15:2-6 – Count the Stars

Abram asked what the Lord could give. He had no children. The Lord said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars –if indeed you can count them. So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

Genesis 18:10-14 – Sarah Laughs

Three men visit Abraham and food is prepared. They explain that Sarah would have a son. Sarah laughed. Is anything too hard for the LORD?

Genesis 21:1-7 –Isaac born

The Lord did as He promised. Abraham and Sarah had a son, Isaac, God has brought me laughter. Abraham was 100 years old.

Discuss what this means to us. Discuss blessing. Discuss abundance.

Closing Verse: 2 Corinthians 9:8

“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

What does this mean? What are we promised?

Download this Lesson (Dropbox Link to .doc file)

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Ram in the Bush

We do not always know where God is leading us and we certainly cannot predict the future. We are to walk in faith, trusting that God is faithful. When Abraham was tested, he was told to sacrifice his son Isaac, and Abraham went forward guided by his faith. God had promised Abraham many descendents. God had promised Abraham blessing. Abraham trusted God and pressed forward.

When it was time to sacrifice Isaac, an angel of the Lord called out to Abraham, telling him not to go forward with the sacrifice. When Abraham looked up, he saw a ram in the bush. God had provided the sacrifice that Abraham needed. In verse 8, Abraham had told Isaac: “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son” (NIV). God surely provided with this ram.

If you are going through something right now and you are wondering if things will be okay—remember that God always has a ram in the bush. You might be expecting something different. You might not know what to expect. You might be too exhausted to even look—but the ram is there. God always provides what we need to get done with what we are called to do for Him. Live expecting that ram.

“Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son.” – Genesis 22:13 [NLT]

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Great Patience

In Genesis 26, we read about how the servants of Isaac dug wells not once, but three times, all because of disputes regarding wells. The action of filling in a well was considered an act of war. Water was very scarce in the area so water was precious to people.

As we read that this happened not once but three times, we can see great patience demonstrated by Isaac in a time when most would have attacked. He did not go after the herders of Gerar regarding the wells, but continued onward until there was a well dug with no dispute. After the many attempts, this well, Rehoboth, “Now the LORD has given us room and we will flourish in the land,” was a reward of patience.

There are moments when we have people pushing our buttons and it would seem fitting to attack. God wants us to be patient and respond with love.

“Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper—it only leads to harm. For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the Lord will possess the land.” – Psalm 37:7-9 [NLT]

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Fifty Miles of Faith

We all have issues with understanding the sacrifice of Isaac that was asked of God. We cannot imagine what was going through Abraham’s mind or how we would react in such a situation. Many of us cannot fathom the command.

I never realized the length that Abraham had to go to comply with the command of God to sacrifice his son. There is much focus on the command itself and the end result; however, there are about fifty miles equal probably to about 3 days of travel that separated the area where the command was given and the actual place of sacrifice. This means that Abraham continued to press forward on a journey that lasted miles and miles—days of travel time.

Do you have fifty miles of faith? God doesn’t always call us to simply do something right where we are at, something that is simply said and done. Sometimes we are called to journey fifty miles to trust that He will provide and that He has a great plan. Are you ready for the fifty miles?

“These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold–though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” – 1 Peter 1:7 [NLT]

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