Isaac: A Life of Hard Knocks

This entry is part 11 of 15 in the series When the Heroes of Faith speak...

Read at beginning of service:

Psalm 25:1-10 (NIV)

1 To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; 2 in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. 3 No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse. 4 Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; 5 guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. 6 Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. 7 Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O LORD. 8 Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. 9 He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. 10 All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of his covenant.


Before my holidays I began a series entitled “When the Heroes of Faith Speak”. This series, based on chapter 11 of Hebrews is a look into the lives of people listed in God?s hall of faith and the biblical answers tot he question, “What words of wisdom/advice would these individuals speak to us today if the veil of heaven were parted?”

So far we?ve looked at the lives of Abel, Enoch, Noah and Abraham. This morning, for just a few minutes, we?re going to look at Abraham?s son Isaac, and see what hard won spiritual advice Isaac would give us if he stood in this pulpit today.

If there was ever a child who had a life of hard knocks, it was Isaac!

Isaac was a poster child for dysfunctional families.

His parents were over 100 when he was born?talk about a generation gap!

As a teenager, his father tried to kill him?and said that God told him to do it!

His half brother Ishmael hated him from the moment he was born.

His father picked his wife, and he was bound to marry her without even seeing her.

He was almost killed by King Abimelech when he repeated a stunt his Dad had formerly pulled and pass his wife off as his sister.

His son Esau married 2 Hittite women?some of the most hated people of his day.

His other son Jacob lied and tricked his own father in order to steal his brother?s birthright!

Isaac?s life was shall we say interesting?

Yet, in spite of all these things, there are some very poignant lessons we can learn from the man called Isaac.

There are dozens of important lessons that we could learn from the life of Isaac, but if he stood before us today, I believe that he?d feel it important to share these 3 truths with us.

1. Trust God with Your Life.

Genesis 22 tells us the horrible story of a man asked to sacrifice his own son to God.

We are told in verse 2 that God called out to Abraham and said,

Genesis 22:2 (NIV)

2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”

ASIDE ? Notice that the mountain God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son on was Mount Moriah?The significance of this is that it is on this mountain that the sight of the future temple would be found?

Abraham arose the next morning, saddled his donkey, took Isaac and 2 other men with him, and headed toward Mt. Moriah.

After traveling for 3 days, Abraham told the other 2 men to stay behind, and went on up the Mountain with Isaac.

Isaac carried the wood for the sacrifice up the mountain.

Up to this point, he had no clue that he was to be the offering.

Genesis 22:7 (NIV)

7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

Abraham?s reply to Isaac was that God would provide the sacrifice.

Now, here?s the amazing part?

Look with me at Verse 9

Genesis 22:9 (NIV)

9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.

Now, for the first time, Isaac knows the he is to be the offering.

I believe it is important that you understand something here?

Issac probably wasn?t a toddler, or a grade school child.

In Verse 12, the angel refers to Isaac as a “Lad”(KJV) which comes from the Hebrew word na?ar (nah?-ar ) This word can mean any age from infancy to adolescence, but most often is used to refer to an older child, maybe even a teenager.

“?Generally na’ar denotes a “young man” who is of marriageable age but is still a bachelor? ” (Vines)

Isaac was more than likely an older child because of the way he questioned his father about the sacrifice in verse 7.

Here?s my point?.It took just as much trust in God for Isaac to allow himself to be tied and placed upon an altar as it took for Abraham to lay him there.

All of his life, I?m sure that Isaac had been told that he was the fulfillment of God?s promise.

Since he was a toddler, Isaac had been told that a great nation would spring forth through him.

He knew that God had promised to do great things through him.

He knew that God had promised to use him to make a great nation.

Yet he quietly allowed his father to bind him and lay him upon a sacrificial altar.

Friends, the ultimate proof of our faith in God comes when we allow Him to take control of our future.

The ultimate test of how much we believe in God comes when we trust Him to bind us and lay us upon His altar, trusting in Him to use us however He sees fit.

I believe that Isaac would challenge you?plead with you, to trust God with your life.

Every breath you draw comes from God?s grace.

Every heartbeat pulses because God has allowed it.

If you belong to Jesus, God owns you lock, stock and barrel.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)

19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

We need to come to a place where we can trust God with our lives.

I don?t know what diseases may rack my body?but God does, and He?s in control.

I don?t know what emotional heartache may come my way?but God does, and He?s in control.

I don?t know what trials/difficulties I?ll face?but God does, and He?s in control.

If you?re here this morning, and you think that “God is your co-pilot”, you need to trust God with your life and make Him the pilot!

I?m not the pilot of my life?.I?m not even the copilot!

I?m sitting back in coach and God?s flying the plane!

If I try to fight him for control of the steering wheel, I?ll just crash the plane.

If Isaac were here this morning, I believe that he?d tell you to trust your future, your finances, your health, your happiness and your holiness to God?.

He knows what He?s doing

2nd, I believe that Isaac would beg you to:

2. Give Your blessings to Your children

Some of us are very familiar with the story in Genesis 27 telling about Isaac?s son Jacob stealing Esau?s blessing.

Isaac was old, and his senses were pretty far gone!

I bet Isaac was at the point where when he reached down to tie his shoes, he tried to think of what others things he could go ahead and take care of while he was down there!

Jacob slipped into his room, pretended to be Esau, made Isaac some soup, and stole the blessing that was to be given to his eldest son, Esau.

The blessing was a big thing in Isaac?s time.

The blessing was a will, a wish, and a prayer for God?s best all rolled into one. The blessing usually went to the eldest of the family.

Later, when Esau found out what had happened, he cried, “Bless me?me also, O my father!”

and “Have you only one blessing, my father? Bless me?me also, O my father!”

The custom of the time forbade Isaac from changing the “inheritance/will” portion of his blessing.

Once that was done, it could not be altered.

But in Genesis 27:39-40, Isaac prays a prayer of blessing upon his oldest son Esau.

If Isaac were here today, he?d beg you to give your blessings to your children.

Parents, you wanted your parent?s blessing upon your life.

Some of you worked yourself to death trying to gain your mother or father?s approval.

You spent long hours doing everything from practicing the piano to playing sports in order to hear words of blessing from you mom or dad.

Some of your parent?s went to their graves without ever saying those words you so desperately needed to hear.

Some of you hurt deep inside, even now, and you remember the missing blessing from those you sought to please.

Some of you can relate with Esau as he cried “”Bless me?me also, O my father!” and “Have you only one blessing, my father? Bless me?me also, O my father!”

Parents/grandparents?you can?t change that now.

You can?t bring back your mother/father and make them give you the words of blessing you long to hear.

But you can make sure another generation doesn?t miss the words of blessing we all so desperately need to hear.

Parents/grandparents?give words of blessing to your children.

Say these words to them:

I love you.

I?m proud of you.

I like the person you?ve become.

I?m proud to be your dad. I?m proud to be your mom. I?m glad you are my child?

Isaac would beg you to bless you children.

OK, If Isaac were here, I believe that he?d challenge us to Trust God with our lives.

I believe that he?d beg us to Give Our Blessings to our children.

And lastly?Isaac would warn us. He?d say?

3. Don?t Repeat the Sins of the Past

Why is it that we find ourselves too often repeating our parent?s stupidity?

In Genesis 26, we find Isaac making the same mistake that his father Abraham had made.

Isaac took Rebekah, a beautiful woman, to Gerar, a Philistine city.

He was afraid that King Abimelech would kill him and take his wife.

So, he did exactly what his father did with Sarah two other times as recorded in the Bible.

He convinced her to pretend that she was his sister.

He had repeated the sins of his father.

Dr. Kenneth Ridings tells about how his wife used to cook a ham.

For years, she?d cut 2 inches off the ham on either end before putting it in the roasting pan.

When he asked her about it, she just told him that that?s how her mother always did it.

20 years later, over Christmas dinner, Kenneth asked his mother in law about the strange custom of cutting 2 inches off either side of the ham.

“Oh, she replied, “I always did that because my roasting pan was too small to fit a whole ham in it.”

Parents, we need to remember that our children are watching every move we make.

If we want honest children, we need to be honest parents.

If we want children with good morals, we need to be moral parents.

If we want Godly children, we need to be Godly parents.

I?m reminded of the anti drug commercial I saw several years ago.

A father finds a box of marijuana in his son?s room.

Standing over the boy, the father screams, “Who taught you to do this?who?”

“You”, the boy screams back, “I learned it from watching you!”

Isaac would warn us to not repeat the sins of the past.

We need to also make sure that our children don?t repeat our sins.

If you don?t want drug addicts for children, don? use drugs.

If you don?t want alcoholics for children, don?t drink alcohol.

If you don?t want abusive children, don?t be an abusive parent.

We mimic what we saw in our parents?

They mimic what they see in us.

The Bible tells us that “The sins of the fathers are visited to the children unto the fourth generation.”

It?s time we broke the chain!

Isaac would warn us?He?d say Don?t repeat the sins of the past.

If Isaac were here, he?d give us at least 3 good pieces of advice:

He?d challenge us to Trust God with our lives.

He?d beg us to Give Our Blessings to our children.

He?d say?Don?t Repeat the Sins of the Past

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