Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Life And Rhymes Of Isaac

What should we think of Isaac?  Though he lived longer than the other 3 patriarchs in Genesis (Abraham, Jacob & Joseph), there is less written about him than the other 3.  The jury is hung on his significance.

Negatively, W. Graham Scroggie analyzes:  “Isaac is unheroic, and far nearer than Abraham to the level of ordinary humanity.  He shrinks from death, and does not scruple much about the means he uses to escape from it.  He is devoid of any stern sense of the duty of veracity.  He likes ‘creature comforts,’ and unduly favours the son who provides them for him.”  (The Unfolding Drama of Redemption, Zondervan, 1953, p. 117)

Positively, Eugene H. Merrill observes:  "The reason for the brevity of the narrative concerning him may not be so much his lack of importance as his conformity to the will of God. His was not a life of bizarre escapades that warranted much discussion. In silent, obedient faith, he pursued the will of God, carefully ordering his life as God’s servant." (An Historical Survey of the Old Testament, Baker Academic, 1991, p. 85)

W.H. Griffith Thomas states:  "His was a quiet, peaceful, normal life.  He was the ordinary son of a great father, and the father of a great son.  We are accustomed to speak of such lives as commonplace and ordinary, and yet the ordinary life is the 'ordered' life, and in the truest sense the 'ordained life' life.  Like the rest of us, Isaac's experiences were marked by light and shade, by sin and discipline, by grace and mercy."  (Genesis: A Devotional Commentary, Eerdmans, 1946, pp.237-238)

But I'm impressed by his faith in following his father to Mt. Moriah in Genesis 22 when he would be offered to God by Abraham.  Talk about awkward!

With Isaac as a significant character in Abraham and Jacob's story, there's only a few rhymes for him.
·      25:12-34 Jacob & Esau - Even if mama liked your twin better than you, would you still sell your birthright for a pot of stew? 
·      26Not Well, Oh Well - Isaac dug two holes – one lying like father about his wife, the other a well causing real estate strife.

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