I is for Isaac

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This week for ABC Wednesday, I is for that long-awaited, much-anticipated son of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac.

Although his name means Laughter in Hebrew, there was much about Isaac’s life that wasn’t very funny. Sandwiched between Abraham, the patriarch of the three major world religions, and his son, Jacob, the father of the 12 tribes of Israel, Isaac was overshadowed on both ends. How does a man make a name for himself surrounded by acts like that?

Isaac is the son that found out first hand how much his father trusted God’s providence. For, you see, it is on the way up Mount Moriah that Isaac realizes they aren’t bringing along anything for the sacrifice. Wait. A. Minute……What’s wrong with this picture? He probably put two and two together long before they stopped. But he doesn’t resist when his father prepares to sacrifice his only son on the altar. Of course, God wasn’t going to let that happen; it is a test for Abraham. And just as he is about to pass, God intervenes. It was a test of Isaac’s faith as well. After all, how many young men would submit to their father binding them in preparation for a sacrifice? Yeah, I don’t know any either.

After all, Isaac is the son brought about by miraculous intervention. By waiting until his parents were long past child bearing years, his birth solidified that you just can’t stop God when he wants to do something with your life. It is through Isaac the covenant was made that all nations would be blessed.

But before you think Isaac is just a stepping stone to the next great patriarch, Jacob, let’s take a closer look.

It would be easy to say Issac lacks initiative. It might also be said Isaac lets people walk all over him. When dealing with enemies while sojourning through the Philistine town of Gerar (modern day south central Israel), he chooses flight instead of fight. And that kind of thinking just doesn’t fly in our society today. You’d think with a father as famous as Abraham, a little name dropping might get him out of a few jams. Then, there’s that whole God’s covenant trump card that could be played.

But no…Isaac takes an unconventional, different approach. He is gentle and humble with the playground bullies. Now, we have a name for men like this in our culture. Yes, you do know what it is. But Isaac’s strength is in his gentleness…and a little insider trading knowledge.

It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.” ~Deuteronomy 32:35

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. ~Romans 12:17-19 (after his time, but still consistent with the message)

Great men feel strength not in themselves, but through themselves. There is no need for testosterone moments at that point. Isaac is truly a man of God, even though others may see his strength as weakness. He trusts in something higher, rather than what he can see with his eyes.

Love is our response to God’s love for us. We do it in spite of how we feel about them.

Do you have faith to obey without question?
How do you respond to enemies?
How do you respond when others think poorly of you?

Sub­mitted for ABC Wednesday


21 thoughts on “I is for Isaac

  1. You certainly chose a colorful character! I find Isaac’s story disconcerting in many ways. The whole idea of fooling a parent with the help of the other parent…for a blessing. In truth, I am grateful for that blessing, but the story bothers me. The good news is that there is a lot to be learned from it!


  2. What a fascinating, 21st-century look at an old, old story. I enjoyed this very much. Do we continue next week with that other only son, John the Baptist?
    — K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel


  3. Well done Lisa.

    I think my response to each question would be the same–it is a work in progress. Though I want to forgive, trust, and respond in a Christian way, it does not always go as planned. It is a good thing that I am forgiven.


  4. Very interesting and thought provoking post on Isaac. Having been a Bible teacher for about 40 years, I could hardly restrain myself from popping in an explanation or two here and there but I think that would interfere with the thought and intent of the piece. Good provocative questions at the end — ones that take a life-time of work for a Christian intent on submitting to God. (I’m teaching in James 4 tomorrow, so submission to God is foremost in my thoughts.)


  5. I like Isaac! He is a true ancestor of Jesus, a man of peace. Don’t harbour hatred and don’t take revenge. It’s difficult but it is what Jesus said. “Forgive seventy times seven!”
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts!


  6. This is a wonderful post Lisa, and there is so much here to think about.
    As for me?
    Obeying without question…probably not.
    Respond to enemies…I don’t think I have any real enemies, but combining this with the third question…
    I feel really bad if I think/know someone does not like me. I always try to figure out what I may have done wrong, and continue to do so even if I can not come up with an answer. 😦


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