God is faithful even when we are not.
Now there was a famine in the land—besides the previous famine in Abraham’s time—and Isaac went to Abimelek king of the Philistines in Gerar. 2 The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. 3 Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. 4 I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed,5 because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.” 6 So Isaac stayed in Gerar.
7 When the men of that place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” because he was afraid to say, “She is my wife.” He thought, “The men of this place might kill me on account of Rebekah, because she is beautiful.”
8 When Isaac had been there a long time, Abimelek king of the Philistines looked down from a window and saw Isaac caressing his wife Rebekah. 9 So Abimelek summoned Isaac and said, “She is really your wife! Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’?”
Isaac answered him, “Because I thought I might lose my life on account of her.”
10 Then Abimelek said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the men might well have slept with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.”
11 So Abimelek gave orders to all the people: “Anyone who harms this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.”
12 Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the Lord blessed him. 13 The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy. 14 He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him. 15 So all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up, filling them with earth.
16 Then Abimelek said to Isaac, “Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us.”
17 So Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar, where he settled. (Genesis 26:1-17)
Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, (Matthew 1:2)
This story in Genesis tells us about Isaac, son of Abraham, father of Jacob, and ancestor of Jesus. It also tells about the continued story of God’s promises to Abraham.
The story of the Old Testament can be summarized as God’s repeated faithfulness to his promises and his people, even when his people are unfaithful and turn away, and stop trusting God.
This is what we see happening with Isaac. God has told him that he is going to keep the promises made to his father, Abraham. God had promised Abraham that he will bless him and bless the world through him, make his descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky, and give his people a land and a place to call their own.
But Isaac doesn’t trust God to keep him safe and to bless him. When faced with danger, he hides. He lies. He tells the men who ask that his wife, Rebekah, is his sister. He puts her in danger to keep himself safe, and he doesn’t trust God to care for them if he tells the truth. He messes up.
But God remains faithful. Even when we mess up, like Isaac did, God is faithful. God keeps his promises.
Again and again in the Old Testament, we see the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Israelites, mess up and stop trusting God. But along comes Jesus, the true descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who doesn’t mess up. He trusts God even when he is danger, and he trusts his God all the way to the cross.
At the cross, he fulfils all the promises God made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He brings blessing to the whole world by the forgiveness of sins. His followers take this message of forgiveness to the entire world until there are more followers of Jesus than stars in the sky. And one day, Jesus will return and remake the heavens and the earth, so all God’s people will live in a new land, a new place of their own, where there is no crying or sadness or fear.
So now, if we follow Jesus, we live with the hope of the time when everything will be put right. We live knowing that salvation is from God, and not dependant on us. We live trusting in God’s faithfulness.
Head: What examples from the Old Testament can you think of where God was faithful even when his people weren’t?
Heart: When you mess up or doubt, do you worry it will affect God’s love for you and his faithfulness?
Hands: What do you struggle to trust God with? How can you give him more control of that area of your life?
Prayer: Dear Father, thank you that you are faithful to your promises. Thank you that my salvation rests completely on you and what Jesus did at the cross. Help me to trust you, and to dwell in your promises of forgiveness and eternal life. In Jesus’ name, Amen
A song to listen to: O Come All Ye Faithful https://open.spotify.com/track/6o94nmp72lGvcFfaF6dsjZ
This Grow Daily was originally posted as part of a previous Christmas series in 2016. During the School Holidays we take the opportunity to look back at the best of Grow Dailys over the years.