throughout the Bible, we come across the phrase “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” there are many scriptures devoted to the exploits of Abraham and Jacob, but it seems as those there are not very many passages dedicated to the life of Isaac. most of the time, you can attribute the scriptures that mention him to the overlapping story of Abraham, Esau, and Jacob, or even Rebekah. let’s take a closer look and see what was significant about the life of Isaac.
at the very beginning of his life, Isaac was the promised child. the culmination of the promise is overwhelmingly the adventure of Abraham and Sarah, their exploits and decisions, and the struggle of waiting on the answer to prayer. the great nation would start with a birthing process of God’s design. without a promised child, there would be no nation. he was a single star to light the stars of the heavens, a single grain of sand to fill the shore’s beaches.
after some time, we find Isaac willingly accompanying his father up to a mountain top. the story is of Abraham, how he would withhold nothing from God, and the subsequent blessing from the Creator. it was also Isaac, laying his life down, obedient to the end. Abraham was advanced in years, and undoubtedly, young Isaac could have struggled or run to safety. we read of accounts of those “on the run” and fleeing for safety. if Abraham was willing to withhold nothing, we see in Isaac the character of faith and submission to his God and his patriarchal authority and an heir in the blessing bestowed on Abraham.
we get another glimpse of grace in the heart of Isaac as he invites his estranged brother, Ishmael, to bury their father together. at this point in his life, we see comparisons and struggles similar to those of his parents. Rebekah was barren, and he prayed for a child. the conception of twins who “struggled together within her;” (Genesis 25:22, KJV, Tyndale 1987) was indicative of the nations birthed of Isaac and Ishmael. he traveled to a foreign place and claimed Rebekah was his sister so the inhabitants would not kill him for someone else to take her as their wife. he made a treaty with Abimelech and even re-dug the wells that Abraham had established in previous years.
our story turns to the supplanter and his deception, evasion, and martial rollercoaster. the Bible is silent of the life of the aged, dimmed-eyed Isaac until his death (Genesis 35:29). due to the tables being turned on Jacob by his father-in-law, Laban, we know that more than 14 years had passed (some say up to 80 years) because Jacob now had two wives and twelve sons. Isaac must have been very sick and thought he was about to die when he blessed Jacob, but he became well and lived for many more years. the final parallel in the life of Isaac to his father, Abraham, is when his warring sons come together to bury their father.
we could easily pass the events of the life of Isaac in the chapter or two where we read the details of his exploits. there are some things to consider if we would mistake Isaac as a minor character in the sacred writings. as previously mentioned, he showed great faith and obedience from his youth. Isaac also gleaned a business sense from his father that he could pass down to his children. in Genesis 26:24-25, Isaac directly communicated with God and built an altar to worship Him. this assurance of the promises of God in his life was a tangible reminder for his sons to serve the God of their father.
Isaac was by no means insignificant. there is an intrinsic value to bringing up children to follow God. his decisions led to more incredible blessings, and those around him wanted to be near Isaac even though they felt threatened by him; they recognized the gifts of God and those blessings poured out to all those nearby. Isaac’s ability to manage his household and business affairs led to his success, and God rewarded him with life to see his sons reunited, and the princes of Israel realized in his time. there is great significance in living for God, raising your children to follow the Lord, and being a blessing to your neighbor!