Posts Tagged ‘Isaac’

Jacob, Esau, and the short comings of biblical parents.

January 12, 2010

Question:

Isaac favored Esau.  Rebekah favored Jacob.  Isaac and Rebekah didn’t love both of their sons equally?  Rebekah told Jacob to put on Esau’s clothes so that he can receive Esau’s blessings from his father.  Why didn’t God stop Jacob?

Answer:

It is fairly obvious that Isaac and Rebekah did not love their sons equally.  This is nothing new though, Noah clearly showed favor to Japheth and Shem over Ham, Abraham showed favor to Isaac over Ishmael, and Jacob infamously showed favor to Joseph over all his other brothers.  Remember that these men and women were not perfect people, they were sinful humans who had wills of their own.

Isaac Blessing Jacob Gioachino Assereto, 1640

Rebekah even stooped so low as to deceive her husband so to advance her own will and see that Jacob would get the blessing from Isaac.  God did not stop Jacob for a couple reasons.  First of all, we are not puppets and God is not a puppet master, God allows us to make decisions that are deceitful and evil, but he also allows us to make decisions that are righteous and ultimately glorifying to him (learn more about God’s will and our will here).  Secondly, God can accomplish his will despite our deception and evil.  Esau may have deserved the blessing by birth right, but he was also an impulsive glutton who had already traded away his birth right to Jacob for some soup (see Genesis 25:29-34).  God had his reasons for allowing this deceit to take place, and ultimately God’s will would be done even in the midst of it.  As you continue to read the story, you see the way that God establishes his people through the line of Jacob.  And as Jacob’s son Joseph says to his brothers at the end of Genesis, “what you meant for evil God meant for good,” this is also the case with Jacob and many others in scripture.

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Why does the bible refer to Abraham instead of Noah as “the father of all nations.”

January 4, 2010

Question:

Since God gave Noah the responsibility of saving his family as well as the animals and to also then be fruitful and multiply, after He decided that the people He created were ‘evil’, then why does the bible refer to Abraham instead of Noah to be the ‘father of all nations’?

Answer:

In Genesis chapter 17 God Covenants with Abraham that he will be the father of many nations.  There is an important distinction that should be made though.  The promise was a genealogical promise it was a spiritual promise, a promise of salvation. Genealogically, Abraham was the father of three distinct people groups through his two sons Ishmael and Isaac.  Ishamael was his first born but he was the son of his wife’s servant Hagar, Ishmael’s descendants were the Ismaelites. Isaac was the son of his wife Sarah.  From Isaac’s first born son Esau would come the Edomites, and from his other son Jacob (later named Israel) would come the nation of Israel from whom would come Jesus the savior.  It is the later that is most significant when considering the Covenant with Abraham.

While all people are descended from Noah by blood, the significance of God’s Covenant with Abraham (that he would be Father of Many Nations) is not a promise of blood relation, it is a promise that all people would be blessed through him (Genesis 12).  Ultimately that blessing would come through his descendent, Jesus Christ.  Abraham is the father of many nations because all nations have access to Jesus, and can be heirs of Abraham’s blessing.   This is a huge part of the Apostle Paul’s teaching in letters like Galatians and Romans.

God chose Abraham not Noah to be the line through whom the blessing would come.  Why?  All we know is that Abraham believed God when God promised him that he would be a Father of Many Nations.  That’s no small thing, especially considering that Abraham and his wife Sarah could not bear children.  In Genesis 15 it says, “Abraham believed God, and God credited to him as righteousness.”  Like anyone else, Abraham wasn’t perfect, he made big mistakes, but he put his faith in God and His promise.