At least 10% of couples deal with the heartbreaking reality of infertility. We desire children, we long for children, we pray for children. We seek the help and guidance of doctors and other medical professionals when we aren’t able to easily conceive or carry children. We try hormone injections and surgeries, IUI and IVF, donor embryos and adoption. For many of us, motherhood has come at a great price – financially, physically, emotionally, and even spiritually.
This was true for one such matriarch of faith, Sarah. God had promised Abraham and Sarah, who had spent their entire married life longing for a child, a son. Barren Sarah was to become a mother of nations (Genesis 17:16) and God miraculously accomplished his promise when Sarah, at the age of 90 years old, conceived and gave birth (Genesis 21) to her long awaited baby boy… Isaac.
Isaac was special, raised to know and love God through his parents. He was the first in a long line of generational faith. If you haven’t had a chance to check out last week’s post on Abraham, I would encourage you to do that now in order to have a deeper understanding of Isaac’s history.
We learn about Isaac’s birth in Genesis 21:1-3, about his death in Genesis 35:27-29, and a whole lot about his life in the chapters between. We know that Isaac was obedient (Genesis 22) in honoring his parents and patient (Genesis 24) in waiting for his wife. Wise (Genesis 25) with his inheritance and humble (Genesis 26) in dealing with the Philistines. He believed and trusted in the God of his father, Abraham, and was a man of faith himself.
One of my favorite things about Isaac is that, in a time where having multiple wives and/or concubines was a common practice, he was committed to one woman. The story of Isaac and Rebekah is a beautiful love story. (Genesis 24) Not because of romance or passion, but because they both stepped back and allowed God to bring them together. As a result, they experienced a deep love and friendship and companionship. (Genesis 24:67)
As Isaac and Rebekah tried to grow their family the couple discovered that Rebekah was barren just as Isaac’s mother, Sarah, had been. However, believing in the promise God had given Abraham years before his own birth, Isaac knew he was destined for fatherhood and, in bold faith, prayed that his wife would become pregnant. God answered by not giving Rebekah just one baby, but by filling her empty womb with twin boys – Jacob and Esau. (Genesis 25:19-26)
Your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise.– Andy Stanley
Isaac had his faults and both Isaac and Rebekah made the mistake of playing favorites. Esau, the first born twin, was strong and enjoyed living off the land – Isaac was drawn to Esau. Jacob, the second born twin, was a quiet homebody – Rebekah dearly loved Jacob. (Genesis 25:27-28) As parents, we know that playing favorites is always a dangerous game and, as we see in Genesis chapters 25-33, there were tensions between these twin brothers as a result.
But God redeems us even in our worst moments and that is exactly what He did for Isaac. Through the lineage of his son Jacob, God creates a path for the arrival of Jesus. The God of Abraham became the God of Isaac who became the God of Jacob… and the rest is history. Their generational faith transformed the future of humanity.
I am a product of generational faith. One of the lucky few to have been raised in a full-time ministry home. My dad is now a retired pastor and my mom has always served by his side. My grandparents raised my parents in the knowledge of who God is, my parents raised my sisters and me in that same understanding, and now I have the responsibility of raising my own children to know and love God.
But, regardless of if you were born into a Christain home or if you started following Jesus later in life – we, through Christ, are the children of God’s promise. We are contributors to the Kingdom of God. Let’s make it count.
Abundantly More – Knowing God and Making God Known.
Being descendants of Abraham doesn’t make them truly Abraham’s children. For the Scriptures say, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted,” though Abraham had other children, too. This means that Abraham’s physical descendants are not necessarily children of God. Only the children of the promise are considered to be Abraham’s children. – Romans 9:7-8 NLT