Genesis 26:1-11

 |  April 9, 2018

Gen. 26:1-11

  1. Locate the passage

Genesis 26 seems to be an interruption of the flow of thought between Genesis 25 and 27. In this chapter, the focus is on Isaac and not on Jacob. Like Genesis 34 (which also interrupts the Jacob Cycle) and 38 (which interrupts the Joseph cycle), this chapter seems to awkwardly impede the narrative flow. Yet, the significance of this chapter is that God has promised Isaac that the Covenant flows through him and that God’s presence will be with him (26:3; 24). This divine promise of the “with-ness” of God is the one distinguishing component of God’s promise to Isaac that was not a part of God’s promise to Abraham.

  1. Genre

This passage is narrative. It records the instructions from the Lord to Isaac, the conversations between the men of Gerar and Isaac, and Abimelech’s rebuke of Isaac.

  1. Determine the structure of the passage

26:1-6 – God promises Isaac his faithfulness

26:7-11 – Isaac responds to God’s promise with fear instead of faith

  1. Exegete the passage

Genesis 26 contains a number of striking parallels between Abraham and Isaac.

Gen. 26:1-11 resembles both incidents in which Abraham lied about Sarah (Gen. 12:10-20 and 20:1-18). However, three differences stand out. First, Sarah actually was Abraham’s sister; Rebekah was not Isaac’s sister. Second, Sarah was actually taken to the king of Gerar’s house; Rebekah was not taken. Third, the king of Gerar financially blessed Abraham after the Patriarch lied about Sarah (Gen. 20:14); the text does not record that Isaac received any financial recompense from the king of Gerar (because Rebekah was not taken).

Genesis 25 describes how Jacob obtained the birthright from his brother and Genesis 27 details his deception in order to obtain the blessing. This chapter reveals that the real blessing of the land which Jacob seems to desire, would not come ultimately from his father, but from the Lord. It is his blessing that matters.

26:2 – A theophany

26:2 – Do not go

26:3-5 – The Lord’s Covenant Promise to Isaac

26:6 – Isaac was obedient to the direction of the Lord and

26:7 – Isaac lies to the “men of the place” rather than asking his wife to lie for him. He lies out of fear for safety because he knows Rebekah is “beautiful.”

26:8-10 – the king of Gerar witnessed Isaac showing affection to his wife. He rebukes Isaac, because although she was not taken as another man’s wife, it could have happened.

26:10 – “What have you done?”

26:11 – Like Pharaoh did after Abraham lied to him (Gen. 12:20) and Abimelech seems to have done after Abraham lied to him (Gen. 20:8), the king of Gerar commands his men not to harm Rebekah.

  1. Let the structure of the text drive the sermon

Exp. This passage begs the question, “what kind of circumstances would it take for you not to trust in God?” Isaac faces famine, enemy territory, and fear. But instead of responding in faith, he responded in fear.



Category: Sermon Structure
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