Forward in Faith #22
Isaac: A Father’s Faith
Today, we continue on our study in the book of Hebrews. I am grateful for Doc and his preaching the last two Sundays. Would you show him your appreciation right now for his preaching and his ongoing service to the Lord through this body?
With Doc you have continued in our study in the Hall of Fame of Faith found in Hebrews 11. I took you to Abel and Enoch and Doc has walked with Noah and then Abraham and Sarah.
So today we continue in verse 20
READ Hebrews 11:20
We do what we do because of what we believe
We buy a certain product because we believe it is best or we believe it is the best price or we believe it is the best use of our funds
We marry someone because we believe that they love us and we love them
We take a job because we believe it is the best one for us
By Faith, each of these people have acted out what they believe on the inside
Men if you are a Husband and Father you have a great task to carry out
I am grateful for my Father who lived what he believed.
He was not perfect, he was not without fault but the mistakes he made, he made trying to do the right thing and wrestling with his imperfections and continuing to get up and follow Christ.
Decisions he made were often unpopular especially and often with his family who didn’t understand what he knew and or believed God desired and would best impact us for the future.
So what do we learn about Isaac in this one verse in Hebrews?
“By faith, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to the future”
YLT - “By faith, concerning coming things, Isaac did bless Jacob and Esau”
Let me talk for a minute about faithful fathers
A faithful father or mother, whether biological or otherwise
1. Lives A Faith His Children Will Believe
Men and Women, if we want our children to walk in faith, we need to walk in faith.
We have a responsibility to live out what we believe in front of them
We also have a responsibility to recount the stories of God’s faithfulness in our lives
Isaac is a bit of a smaller part of the story of Israel, but he is an important linchpin between the giving and fulfilling of promises between Abraham and Jacob.
Jacob became the father of the tribes of Israel
Abraham is the one who left his home and followed God into a land of promise
But Israel might never have been
Abraham got the promise but he was too old for children
He tried to substitute Lot, his nephew for a son
He tried to offer his inheritance to his faithful servant Eliezer of Damascus
He tried to have a child with someone besides Sarah in her maidservant Hagar
But Isaac was the promise of God and God KEEPS his Promise and God does things HIS way
We have to teach our children to believe and follow …
Folks we can’t come about the things of God on OUR Terms we have to believe and follow God and we have to teach our children to do the same thing
We are saved by Grace through faith
Not by faith in Good works
Not by membership in a good church
Not by faith in well fashioned philosophy of man
Not by faith in building a good life
- Three Hairs And Lost Influence
A strange dog came to a preacher’s house, and his three sons soon became quite fond of it. It so happened that there were three white hairs in the animal’s tail. One day an advertisement was seen in the newspaper about a lost dog which fitted that description perfectly. “In the presence of my three boys,” said the minister, “we carefully separated the three white hairs and removed them.” The real owner discovered where the straying canine had found a home and came to claim him. The dog showed every sign of recognition, so the man was ready to take him away.
Quickly the minister spoke up, “Didn’t you say the dog would be known by three white hairs in its tail?” The owner, unable to find the identifying feature, was forced to leave. The minister said later, “we kept the dog, but I lost my three boys for Christ.” His sons no longer had confidence in what their father professed. He hadn’t practiced what he preached.
—Our Daily Bread
We have to teach our children by our actions that the ONLY way to walk in faith is to walk in obedience to the things of God
Isaac taught his children to LIVE their faith.
- Remember we learned from Verses 1-3 that Faith is a REASONABLE and Logical thing
Look back at verse 19
“Abraham REASONED that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from the dead”
Isaac LIVED faith as it was taught by his Father.
"Reasoned” – the word is from the same root word from which we get our word logic or logistics, or logical = logizomai log-id-zom-ahee to reckon, count, compute, calculate, count over, take into account, to make an account, a thing is reckoned as or to be something
Abraham calculated what God had done in the past in creation, for the faithfulness in his OWN life, and realized that the same God who made him, the same God who called him, the same God who gave him the child in his old age just as promised would not let him down even though the command seemed impossible, and if necessary God could resurrect his Son.
So Isaac could also reason that God was able to bring about anything he promised
In Ephesians 3 Paul is encouraging his “children in the faith” and tells them not to be discouraged by his suffering in ministry because he is kneeling in submission to the Father
And our Father is the creator of all. And Paul prays that God will apply his matchless power to their lives to root them in love and that they can GRASP the width, length, the height, and the depth of the love of Christ and to know it by experience that this knowledge might literally fill them up.
Why? He goes on to say in v20 that God is ABLE TO DO IMMEASUREABLY MORE than we could ever begin to dream of, or ask for, and he can do it by the same power, that is IN US, that is the Person of the Holy Spirit
If we want our children to come to the reasonable logical conclusion that our God is ABLE … then
- 1) tell the depths to which God’s loved reached down into the mire of your sin to pull you out of its stench and grime.
- 2)Tell them how high is the love of God that scaled the walls of pride and preconceived ideas to reach you.
- 3)Tell them how long is the love of God that can reached you when you thought you had gone too far and
- 4) how wide is the love of God that included all who will call on the name of the Lord even you, even me.
Then our children will have something in which to believe
Recount his deeds for others and for you because your children ARE keeping score. It is all they know.
They are building a case for faith they may not have it yet
Help them calculate the reality that it can be JUST AS TRUE for THEM as for all the faithful
A Faithful father lives what he believes
And a faithful father …
2. Blesses His Children By Faith
Concerning coming things, Isaac did bless Jacob and Esau
A biblical blessing of our children is not wishful thinking
Nor is blessing them something magical or mystical
Blessing our children is UNDERSTANDING the promises of God and
Blessing our Children is Expecting the things of God to come true and so committing to putting our lives in order with the things of God.
You should go sometime and read Chapter 27 of Genesis and the chapters before and after that recount the lives of Isaac and Rebekah and their twin sons, Esau and Jacob.
I don’t have time to tell you all of it. It is a story of mistrust, deception, scheming, jealousy. But it is also a story of the faithfulness of God in the midst of it all
Isaac had a natural affinity for the older twin Esau
Rebekah had an affinity for Jacob
The interesting thing was that BEFORE they were born, God promised that JACOB would be the one used more greatly in his purposes. Yet still Rebekah and Isaac tried to HELP GOD
- Fathers in that day blessed their children.
These were powerful words of promise and prosperity from Father to child. For the Father who followed God, these words were often prophetic and thus were driven by God to point to the future of the child.
Jacob had already been promised great things but he didn’t fully trust that so he tried to steal from his brother what he thought would be greater words.
Isaac was OLD and BLIND. He asked Esau to make him his favorite venison stew. While Esau was out hunting, Jacob dressed up like Esau and prepared lamb stew but flavored it like venison.
Jacob “tricked” his Father,
And Isaac put his hand on Jacob and gave him the blessing he thought he was giving to Esau
The blessing is found in Genesis 27:27-29
“Ah, the smell of my son
is like the smell of a field
that the LORD has blessed.
28 May God give you of heaven’s dew
and of earth’s richness—
an abundance of grain and new wine.
29 May nations serve you
and peoples bow down to you.
Be lord over your brothers,
and may the sons of your mother bow down to you.
May those who curse you be cursed
and those who bless you be blessed.”
Jacob received Esau’s blessing … or did he?
GOD WAS and IS in Control and
- both of these boys received the blessing that God intended for them to have
He knew their future and proclaimed it prophetically through his faithful servant Isaac.
If there had been no trickery, the blessings would have been different
God cannot be tricked into proclaiming something different for you
After Jacob left, Esau, not knowing what had happened, shows up with the venison for his blessing.
It quickly became clear what had happened and Isaac knew that he couldn’t take back the blessing. Though Isaac and Esau were angry there is a level at which this type of prophetic blessing couldn’t be taken back.
Esau asked for a blessing and Isaac spoke truth about the future into Esau’s life. It wasn’t what he wanted to hear but it was truth
“Your dwelling will be
away from the earth’s richness,
away from the dew of heaven above.
40 You will live by the sword
and you will serve your brother.
But when you grow restless,
you will throw his yoke
from off your neck.”
The blessing really spoke to the reality of Esau’s life. He didn’t have a passion for God’s blessing
He didn’t have a passion for God and so he would get what he wanted, independence. And with that independence would come desert, absence of God’s blessing, and restlessness.
Really the YOKE that Esau would cast off was GOD’s Yoke
You know if you look at this story
They could fool Isaac but they couldn’t fool God.
- So the blessing that is given and the blessing that is received is still in accordance with the plan and promises of God.
When I bless my children, when I pray for my children, I can rest assured that the plans of God will succeed and God knows what I do not know and can do what I could never imagine or accomplish
- Fathers bless your children.
You don’t have to be a prophet to call for God’s hand in their lives.
I recommend a book you can get on Amazon “The Family Blessing” by Rolf Garborg.
I started blessing the boys every night when they were 6 and 2 years old.
Every night before they got to bed I bless them. I have done it all the way through till AJ left school, and continue with Bryan now. When AJ comes home or calls at night, I bless him.
- What kind of blessing did I use?
I have used the blessing the God gave Aaron and his sons, the priests to use to bless the people.
It is a blessing that recognizes that I cannot bless my children, God must bless my children
22 The LORD said to Moses, 23 “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:
24 “ ‘ “The LORD bless you
and keep you;
25 the LORD make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
26 the LORD turn his face toward you
/and give you peace.” ’
27 “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”
What we are doing when we bless our children?
- 1) Teaching them what we believe about God.
We believe that they need God’s face
We believe that they need God’s grace
We believe that there is no peace for them without God’s face and favor.
And what gives them God’s favor? Receiving the cross of Christ
When we bless them
- 2) We are praying for them
We are asking God to bless them because he knows the future and he can move them toward his purposes and plans
We are asking God to bring peace
- 3) we are also telling our children we EXPECT them to be receptive to God and
- 4) we expect God to move in their lives.
And verse 27 says we are marking them, placing his name on them, which brings God’s blessing.
Please hear what I am saying and not saying.
I am not saying you can decide FOR your children that they will receive and follow Christ and be at peace with God
But you are moving them in the right direction
You are setting an environment by which God’s movement in their lives is longed for and accepted
This is a Biblical expectation for Fathers and this is Father’s Day … but
Mothers, Grandfathers, Grandmothers, surrogate parents, that is, some of you who are close to children who perhaps don’t have someone speaking blessing into their lives speak blessings as well … but there IS something significant, when available of the Blessing of a Father on their children. And it is NOT too late to bless your children
As a man of faith … Isaac, a faithful Father
Lived a faith his children could believe in
Blessed his children because of his faith …
That is faith in God and also faith in the future because a Faithful Father
3. Trusts the Future to God
One of the hardest things for us as parents and people concerned about others is not being able to control the future.
We have sent one son out and are about to send another
We don’t always like the decisions they make
We wonder what the future will hold
But I know who holds the future and I can TRUST him
“In regards to their future” our text says Isaac blessed them …
“In Regards” = peri – preposition with a basic meaning around, on all sides
Around and all sides of future are in God’s hands
I you We have to place our children, our hopes and dreams our futures in the hands of God
The word FUTURE mello – means the things which are already certain, will take place, will come to pass …
And in the case of Jacob and Esau the underlying things in his blessing were not just the immediate future of Jacob and Esau but the Future Things to Come
He believed God and fully trusted him to accomplish his purposes
In their lives
The reality in these boys lives was that Jacob’s “blessing” was more positive than that of Esau.
God knew what the future held.
Isaac and Rebekah loved them both, taught them the truth, raised them in the faith gave them advice and left the future up to the Lord.
Sometimes that is all we can do –
Speak Truth into their lives
Speak Hope into their lives
Speak Love into their lives
Rolf Garborg writes “Blessing our children is as vital in today’s world as it was in Jesus’ time. With temptations in our society pulling at them from all directions, children need a wall of protection surrounding them. The wall they need is provided by our love. It can be reinforced, brick by brick, each time we bless them”
America needs some Fathers who will bless their children every day
One of America’s Greatest War Heroes Prayed this prayer
An Old Soldier’s Prayer
“Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.
“Build me a son whose wishes will not take the place of deeds; a son who will know Thee … and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.
“Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high, a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.
“And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom and the meekness of true strength.
“Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, “I have not lived in vain.””
Gen. Douglas A. MacArthur
Well that is a worthy prayer … and it is being prayed to the right God …
and we must as Father’s