God’s promises continue through the next generations who have to learn the lessons for themselves. Find out how Isaac and Jacob stumble their way through life teaching us how to live a life redeemed.
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The first five books of the Old Testament constitute God’s book of instructions for his redeemed people. It reveals the character of God and his good design for life. It bears witness to the beginning of his work of redemption. It equips the believer to live in God’s world, God’s way, as God’s image for God’s glory. What sin and death have broken, God’s people can rebuild by keeping to his instructions by the power of his presence with us.
Well, hi everyone. And welcome to episode number eight. I’m Dan, your host, and I’m here with my dad, David Jackson. And in this episode, we’ll be looking at the lives of Isaac and Jacob from Genesis chapter 24, verse one, right through to chapter 37. Now this is of course, episode eight. So if you’d like to get the show notes or the study for this episode, head over to trainingforliferedeemed.com/8
Now Dad when I read the stories of Isaac and Jacob and compare them to each other and even to Abraham, it’s great repetitive , isn’t it.
It’s certainly is. I mean, it just got to look at the fact that Abraham tells his wife to be say, she’s his sister. He does that in Egypt. He does that in a, with Abimelech and then Isaac turns around and does the same thing. So you’re just looking at repetition of the same, basically the same lessons. so when I, when I look at all of this, I think God works in patterns. And as he reveals the gospel and he’s explaining God really is just he’s, he’s a teacher. He’s not just bringing his plan of salvation to the next stage or the next generation. He’s not sort of breeding up this massive number of Israelites. And we’re just going through the motions of making that happen. Along the way. he’s, he’s training his people as to what a life redeemed looks like. Now, I don’t know about you, but I learned to teach.
I didn’t really learn to teach until I was in the army reserve and in the army reserve, when you get up to be an instructor to train people in military things and they get it wrong, people get dead. So the training there is incredibly precise and the standards, it’s a hundred percent. It’s like training for, to be a doctor or a surgeon. You know, there’s no 50% pass rate. If you pass they’re alive, if you don’t they’re dead. So we were taught to teach for mastery. The little saying is EDIP, explain, demonstrate imitate practice. So you watch God sit down here like a master teacher and trainer. And he explains to his people, his government, he explains the promises. He repeats them to Abraham, then to Isaac then to Jacob. Then he demonstrates what a life of faith looks like. He demonstrates what it looks like to be redeemed.
you see God doing things that we cannot do to save ourselves. And then he says, go out there. I’m going to be with you and let’s have you practise what I just showed you how to do. And I’m going to stand here and watch. I’ll do step one. You do step one. I’ll do step two. You do step two. You got it. Okay. Off you go. Let me see you do it by yourself. Explain, demonstrate, imitate, practice, and practise until you don’t have to think about it. Isaac’s the next generation he had some of the experience shared with his father Abraham, and he had some memories there of God explaining and demonstrating with his dad. But now he’s on his, he’s got to do it on his own two legs.
He certainly doesn’t get much of it right?
He certainly doesn’t get much of a right. In fact, if I really, if I look at Isaac, he strikes me as a very frightened little man sitting in his tent, making a lot of money, but really not launching out to try anything new very much. He’ll go down to Egypt. If he has to he’ll dig a few Wells, he’ll hang around the same sort of area Abraham did, but he’s really not. he’s not out there. he’s a much quieter fellow.
Well through these stories with Isaac and Jacob. Yeah. Some of the case stories in here, I guess, are the stories of how they find their wives. So they seem to be quite important. A fair bit of time gets given to them. Why are they so important? What’s the fuss about?
Oh, look, I think God’s got a wicked sense of humor here. I don’t know if you read the whole Bible through, how many guys find a wife at a well,
And that’s kind of cute. You know, you, you’re on a journey. You land at a well, drawing water is women’s work so that women come out, you’re looking for a wife and God just magically happens to bring on that day, the right woman and away you go. So Isaac, when Abraham sends somebody to get Isaac, a wife, they meet Rebecca at a well, now this is a cousin. We’re not marrying into the Canaanites. The Hittites were not going to see the line of promise assimilate into all of the different nationalities roundabout. God is keeping these people separate so that he can develop a different culture. And what you don’t want to have happen is you intermarry with the local girls, they own land, you don’t. So you end up being a guest in your wife’s, on your wife’s father’s property. And the next thing you know, your children just get absorbed into your wife’s family and adopt their language and their culture and the whole thing’s gone out the door, the door. So it’s very important that the line of promise be maintained. So we’ve got to get a wife back from Abraham’s family. We get Rebecca, she looks like a bit of a winner, and then we’ve got the next problem. We’ve got to deal with our boys.
Yeah, well definitely Esau marries a Canaanite woman, doesn’t he? The ones around him. And so definitely not separate anymore.
Oh, look. I mean, what What a mess of a family. I mean, you think back to Abraham, Abraham has waited 65 years to have a son and he’s handed this slave girl. She produces Ishmael He’s got his boy. He’s the ultimate excited. Couldn’t believe you’d ever be a dad, dad. And then God says, no, that’s not the right one. And you go, I can’t let go of him. What are you asking? And he said, no, no, there’s this other little fellow he’s going to be, he’s going to be the one. And that would have been just such a struggle to see that God is at work down through his chosen line. And you’ve put all of your investment in the first one to turn up. For Isaac, it’s slightly different. Here are two boys twins in the womb. One of them’s a man’s man and the other one’s a mummy’s boy, the way the story paints the picture, particularly if you’re thinking in the terms of the ancient near East, you know, here’s our mighty man, our Hunter, Hairy ruddy, handsome.
He’s out there doing all the man’s stuff. And Jacob’s hanging around the kitchen with mum cooking dinner, and he’s a smooth skin. Dad. Dad’s got his boy. He’s got his man’s man. He’s out there doing man stuff. And Jacob is mummy’s favourite. And you can already see this rivalry. And along the way we discover that God chooses the runt of the litter. He doesn’t choose the big powerful person who might be able to save himself in his own strength. He chooses somebody who wouldn’t ever hope of winning a fight with a wet paper bag. Jacob’s only way of surviving is to do what his name means. He’s a cheat, he’s a heel grabber, good term for a soccer player, right? He’s the guy that comes behind you as you’re about to kick the goal and sweeps your ankle out from under yet. This is what the word Jacob means. And he’s the kid everybody’s going to bully at school. And Esau’s that head bully. So you look at what God’s doing. He’s taking a kid who has really not a lot going for him. And God says, I’m going to work through you to show you that it’s me that’s doing the job that you’re not doing this yourself.
It definitely shows a fair bit of that too when Jacob heads off to Laban to find his wife. And he ends up coming back very wealthy.
Oh, that’s just you know, like I say, God’s got a sense of humour. You name the kid Cheat. I mean, in what culture do you give kids names like, you know, your oldest son is called red and the youngest son is called cheat. Um, all I can think of is high school boys, high school nicknames for people. And they were pretty insulting, as you can imagine. So here he is and he goes up, this would be a little homeless kid is runaway from home at the age of 40, that already tells you something. And you know, mummy’s packed his lunch and sent him away. So he’s big brother. Doesn’t beat him up and he’s cheated. his brother is cheated his father is got the inheritance, but there’s no land to own is he’s a homeless own nothing runaway. He goes to his uncle’s place and his uncle’s as big a cheat as he is.
And you just got to, it blows your mind. Doesn’t it I’ll work for you for seven years for this amazing lady I met at the well, who’s your daughter, your younger daughter. And seven years later, the wedding day comes and he’s all excited. And how on God’s green earth does he wake up the next morning? Having made love to the other sister? Was he drunk? Did she have a bag over her head? What on earth was going on? But he comes out of the tent or the house having made love to the … where’s Rachel, in all of this, what did Laban do with his other daughter lock her up somewhere. This is the way of the middle East. This is the, what were the ancient near East. This is the way of their culture. And he just says to Jacob, well, that’s our culture.
You’ve got to take the older one before you can have the other one. Oh yeah. that’ll cost you another seven years. I forgot to tell you that you just feature Leah. Leah is the woman through whom God is going to bring the line of redemption. Rachel isn’t. Rachel is Jacob’s choice. Leah is God’s, she’s the one with the, without all the good looks, but he blesses her and he it’s obvious God loves her. Rachel is probably an amazing lady. She was, God’s got his plan and Jacob’s got different plans. And we’re now going to learn in our training for life that we need to learn to go with God’s plans. And so, you know, he’s spent a week with Leah. I don’t think that would have been a very happy week for either of them. And then the following week Laban gives him Rachel, but he’s still got to pay it off with another seven years work.
So everybody’s feeling totally messed up in this whole arrangement. And then Laban tries to cheat him. After seven years, he should have been given a share of the flock and the profits and everything else and Laban arranges for his boys to take all of the herds and the flocks that he promised him run off into the Bush somewhere where he can’t find him. And so Jacob says, okay, well I’ll just hang around for a wall. And he starts crossbreeding up his own herd. And then he runs away. It’s, it’s a lost world. And these are God’s people. And they’re, they’re really running away all the time from the hostility and the dishonesty of an, an enemy world. And we’ve now reached the point where Abraham’s family has gone so far. It’s now part of that enemy world. Laban is not somebody we’re ever going to go back to. We’ve left that world. And now, Abraham Isaac, Jacob, and their line of kids is going to be God’s people homeless in God’s world with God as their protector and guide bringing his plan of salvation to be
Thanks, dad. The Bible, certainly doesn’t paint a rosy picture of life for God’s people, but as his way though, throughout everything, it’s a tough process getting out from under the rule of Satan. And we have all of the Scriptures. We have the support of God’s people, the church, and we have God, the Holy spirit with us every step of the way that is a lot more than Isaac and Jacob had to work with that’s for sure. It will still be a daily challenge, but God is the one who always takes us forward. Well, thank you everyone for listening. This was episode eight. So come and grab the full study at trainingforliferedeem.com/8. We hope that you will join us for our next episode where we’ll be looking at how God took Jacob and his sons through the next stage of his plans to bring us home.