And the story moves from Abraham to Isaac… | selections from Genesis 26

Now there was a famine in the land, besides the former famine that had occurred in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Gerar, to King Abimelech of the Philistines.
Genesis 26:1

This reads like a later interpolation because of confusion between the two drought accounts.

The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; settle in the land that I shall show you.
Genesis 26:2

God’s first word to Abraham: “Go”. God’s first word to his son: “Do not go”. I love that. Not sure why, but I do.

Abimelech said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.” So Abimelech warned all the people, saying, “Whoever touches this man or his wife shall be put to death.”
Genesis 26:10-11

Oh the mercy of God, and how he protects the vulnerable here. But how do we understand when he doesn’t act in protection like this?

See other Marginalia here. Read more about the series here.

Abraham’s son Ishmael was part of Covenant! | Genesis 17.23-27

This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised… and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you…. Both the slave born in your house and the one bought with your money must be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”… As for Ishmael, I have heard you; I will bless him and make him fruitful and exceedingly numerous; he shall be the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this season next year.”…. Then Abraham took his son Ishmael and all the slaves born in his house or bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house, and he circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very day, as God had said to him…. And his son Ishmael was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. That very day Abraham and his son Ishmael were circumcised; and all the men of his house, slaves born in the house and those bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.
Genesis 17.23-27

Yes, God said that Ishmael would not be the primary bearer and “administrator” of the covenant, but he still bears its marks. Reminds me of a reading from Lesslie Newbigin where he talks about how through our election and Covenantal relationship with God, Salvation is extended to all the nations. “Election” isn’t about blessing; it’s about responsibility to extend the Blessing to others.

Other peoples (even those not in the elect people of God) participate in and receive the full benefits of being part of the Covenant. To be elect is to extend these Covenantal blessings to all nations (as we see here with Abraham). To be marked as God’s is to be placed on mission.

Ishmael was still joined to the covenant! Praise God for his gratuitous grace!

See other Marginalia here. Read more about the series here.

Abraham almost loses his son & he worships?! | Genesis 22.13-14

 And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”
Genesis 22.13-14

This is right after the whole “sacrifice Isaac” thing. To me, this such an odd response. Not only does Abraham worship God after this, which is crazy enough as it is, but he also sets up a memorial to remember this by! If I were him, I’d need some space from this God for a bit and I’d want to forget this incident as soon as possible.

I’ve always thought it odd that the book of Hebrews puts such an emphasis on Abraham and calling him the “father of faith” and extols his faith so much. Whenever I read that I think about how he had Ishmael with Hagar, due to a lack faith, and (twice) gave his wife up to be the wife of someone else because he was scared they’d kill him–another example of a lack of faith!

But then I read things like this and I think to myself, “Oh yeah, now I get it.”

See other Marginalia here. Read more about the series here.