Genesis 21-25


December 8, 1996


The book of Genesis is the book of beginnings.

That's what the name "genesis" is all about.

It's the beginning of creation.

It's the beginning of man, civilization, and sin.

It's the beginning of redemption and faith.

We're in the middle of the story of a man named Abraham, a man of faith.

Genesis 21

:1 the LORD visited Sarah as he had said,

God kept the promise He had made to her back in chapter 18.


It's from the Lord if it comes true.

A few weeks ago I talked about how Deb had felt that the Lord had shown her that one day we'd be married.

Can I throw a little caution out?

You may have felt that way about some other things as well, but in reality, the proof of whether or not God said it, is whether or not it comes about.

The test of a prophecy's truth is whether it comes to pass. (Deut.18:19-20)


Reaping what you sow.

Did you recall that this is after Abraham prays for Abimelech and his wife to have children in 20:17?

After Abraham prays for someone else to be blessed with children, God answers his prayer.

We get so wrapped up in our own problems, and sometimes we just need to get our eyes off of ourselves, and start reaching out and helping others.

Sometimes the act of reaching out is the very thing that brings the breakthrough.

:3 Isaac.

Isaac means "he laughs."

:7 ... given children suck?

Not only was Sarah's body rejuvenated to bear children, but now she is also able to nurse this little baby, at ninety years old!

:8 the child grew, and was weaned:

It was customary in those days that a child was nursed until the age of two or three.

:10 Cast out this bondwoman and her son:

We've studied in Galatians (especially chapter 4) how this whole episode with Sarah and Hagar becomes a picture of how we are to live for God.

Paul says that Hagar is a picture of living to please God through the flesh, and especially through trying to keep the commandments on our own.

Sarah is a picture of trying to please God through what He does, by Him keeping His promises.

And we too, are to learn to cast out that fleshly way of thinking from us, to only try to please God in His way, by trusting in His love and grace.

:11 because of his son.

Abraham was fond of his son Ishmael.

:12 hearken unto her voice

For some reason, when Sarah first proposed the idea of Abraham having children with Hagar, Abraham didn't drag his feet at all.

But now he's dragging his feet, and guys, I know we don't want to hear this, but sometimes we need to learn to listen to our wives!


Biblical submission doesn't mean "wives be silent".

Ladies, the Bible holds up Sarah as our example of the submissive wife (1Pe. 3).

But she certainly lets Abraham know her opinion.

And God encourages Abraham to pay attention to what his wife says!

:12 in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

God reminds Abraham that Isaac is the son of promise, the chosen one.

:15 the child

Keep in mind, Ishmael isn't a little child, but is about 16 or 17 at the time.

:19 God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water;


Prayer opens our eyes.

Sometimes the answer to our prayer is right in front of us, but we just can't see it until we pray, and God opens our eyes.

:21 he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran:

The NE part of the Sinai peninsula.

Somewhere between the promised land and Egypt.

:22-34 Sumarize!

From here, Abraham has a little run in with Abimelech again, but this time over water rights.

Their servants have been quarreling over one well in particular, the well at Beersheba.

They settle the dispute with Abraham giving Abimelech seven ewe lambs, and Abraham gaining undisputed rights over the well at Beersheba.

Beer-sheba = "well of the seven" or "well of the oath."

Genesis 22

:1 God did tempt Abraham,

Better ... "test".

God is going to test Abraham to see what his faith if made of.

:2 Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac,

It's interesting that God calls Isaac the "only" son.

In reality, there was another.


God doesn't recognize the works of the flesh.

There was another son, Ishmael, but he was a product of the flesh, of Abraham trying to make God's promise come true, instead of allowing God to do the work.

:2 the land of Moriah;

The area near modern Jerusalem, actually the place where the temple would be built.

(2 Chr 3:1 KJV) Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the Lord appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.

Keep this interesting fact in mind!

It's also the area where another son would lay down his life, willingly.

:2 offer him there for a burnt offering

Human sacrifice was practiced by the pagan peoples that lived around Abraham.

But before you get to wondering if human sacrifice is okay with God, keep in mind that God doesn't allow Abraham to go through with it.

God is just testing Abraham, to see whom he loves more, Isaac, or God.


God wants to be first place in your heart.

Jesus said,

Mat 10:37-38 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

"loveth" is phileo, the word that speaks of warm, affectionate, emotional love.

God wants all our affections to be on Him first of all.

:4 on the third day

Now that's an interesting phrase!

As we're going to see, this is a tremendous picture of another Father who will offer up His only begotten Son, who on the third day would rise from the dead.

It has been suggested that Abraham has considered his son to be dead for three days, ever since God told him to sacrifice him.

:5 I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.

Either Abraham is flat out lying to his men, which doesn't quite seem to be his style, or else Abraham is fully trusting that his son will come back alive, even if God has to raise him from the dead!

(Heb 11:17-19 KJV) By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son. {18} Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: {19} Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

Here we see that this whole thing is indeed a picture of something else, as well as a real historical account.

:6 Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son;

Kind of sounds like Jesus carrying His cross.

:7 where is the lamb for a burnt offering?

Isaac is beginning to wonder what's going on.

:8 God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering:

I have to admit that I think the King James does it best here.

Even though you can understand it as if God is simply going to provide a lamb, you can also take it to say that God will provide Himself as the Lamb itself!

Jesus is the Lamb of God.

:9 bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar

Don't be thinking that Isaac is some little three year old here.

Keep in mind that he's carried the wood up the hill for Abraham.

It has been suggested that Isaac could be in his early teens.

And Abraham would be well over a hundred years old by now.

Isaac could have easily overpowered Abraham, and told him, "No way!"

Yet Isaac willingly submits to his father.

Just as Jesus willingly gave Himself on the cross for us, submitting Himself to the Father's plan.

:11 the angel of the LORD

We've mentioned before that we believe this is a specific individual in the Old Testament, none other than Jesus Himself, before His earthly birth. (see Ex.3)

:12 now I know that thou fearest God,

This was what God was looking for all along.

:13 Abraham went and took the ram ...

Sometimes God asks us to lay aside something that has become too great in our affections.

Something that has begun to take God's place in our heart.

And you will find that often once you lay it down, that it's not uncommon for God to turn around and give it back to you.

Yet you can never lay it down, expecting that this will be the case.

When you lay it down, it must be for good in your heart.

:14 Jehovahjireh

Heb., Yahweh yireh, meaning "the LORD will see to it" or "the LORD will provide."

:15-19 Summarize

After Abraham's display of obedience, the angel of the LORD appears to Abraham, and reassures him that He still has an agreement with Abraham, and will totally bless him.

:20-24 Summarize

Abraham gets some news from the home country, that his brother Nahor has had kids and grandkids, in particular, a young girl named Rebekah.

Genesis 23

:1-16 Summarize

Abraham's princess, Sarah, is dead at Hebron, at age 127.

Abraham as of yet doesn't actually own any land in Palestine, so he goes to the "sons of Heth" (also known as the Hittites) to buy a piece of property from them, at what is today Hebron.

They begin the usual haggling over price, but instead of trying to talk them into a good deal, Abraham just outright pays the top price of 400 shekels, for a cave to bury his beloved wife in.

Why is this chapter important?

It is the record of Abraham's only transaction of land purchase.

It is the anchor in Israel's claim to the land.

I think I can understand why the Israelis are so reluctant to completely give Hebron over to the Palestinians.

:17-20 Read

This is kind of like Abraham's deed over the land, showing that he owns this property in Hebron.

:19 Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave

This will become known as the tomb of the patriarchs.

Not only Sarah, but Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah, Leah, and Jacob were buried there (see 25:9; 49:31; 50:13).

The site of the cave has been identified with two caves, one above the other, beneath the great mosque in the center of modern Hebron.

Genesis 24 - a bride for Isaac

Some have seen in this chapter a beautiful allegorical story of the Father (God) getting a bride (the church) for His only Son (Jesus) by sending his servant (the Holy Spirit) to a far country to find a bride.

I like this idea very much, but keep in mind, that this interpretation, though very likely true, is not one that we are given directly in Scripture.

:2 his eldest servant of his house,

This is believed to be the servant named Eliezer (Gen 15:2)

Eliezer = "God is help" (the Holy Spirit is called "the Helper")

:2 Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh:

This was one way that oaths or promises were made in those days.

It's kind of a delicate thing.

The idea seems to be that if you put your hand under my thigh and swear to do something for me, that if you don't, my descendants, those who came from my thigh, would rise up against you.

:3 thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites,

It's interesting that even as early as Abraham's day, he realized the dangers of marrying an unbeliever.


Don't be marrying unbelievers.

Paul writes:

2Co 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? (AV)

Abraham doesn't want his son marrying a pagan gal, who will only turn him away from the Lord.

Yet Abraham is getting so old, that he's afraid he isn't going to be able to take care of the job.

In those days, it was felt that parents knew more about marriage than their children, and so parents would arrange the marriages of their children.

An interesting idea, with some merit to it.

:4 to my kindred,

We've already heard about Rebekah ...

:6 Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again.

Eliezer wants to know if he fails, if he should bring Isaac back to the homeland to look for a wife for himself.

Abraham does not want Isaac leaving the promised land.

:10 unto the city of Nahor.

He's now arrived at the area near Haran, in northern Mesopotamia.

:12 I pray thee,

Notice that Eliezer is praying for God's help!

:14 let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac;

You may think that the servant is just asking for a sign.

But I think there's more here.

What he's asking God for, is a woman for Isaac that has the heart of a servant.

One who would meet a stranger and take care of him, AND his TEN CAMELS!!!!!

That would have to be a miracle woman!


Set your standards high.

Some of you are "looking" for that perfect mate.

Keep your standards high.

Don't settle for second best.

Eliezer is aiming for a gal with a heart of gold.

:15 before he had done speaking,

God often works that way, just waiting for us to pray.

:16 the damsel was very fair to look upon,

Not only was she nice, but she was good looking too! What a deal!

:20 drew for all his camels.


And camels who have just come on a journey of 400 miles, loaded with all kinds of gifts, could probably drink a LOT of water!

:24 I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, which she bare unto Nahor.

She's got all the right answers! She's from his master's family!

:26 the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the LORD.

It doesn't seem to matter that he's got a girl standing there watching him.

He gets on his face and worships.


Watch for God's answers!

I wonder how often we totally miss the Lord's answers to prayers because we don't really expect them to come.

When they come, please remember to worship and give thanks!

:27 I being in the way, the LORD led me

Here's another gem from the King James.


Just get in the way.

Sometimes we can over analyze things to death.

We want to know what it's going to take to get that wife or husband, or job or whatever.

God just wants us to be on His path, be on His "way".

Jesus put it this way:

Mt 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (AV)

:29 Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban:

Laban = "white"

We're going to get to know Laban much better later on.

Laban is one of the original con-artists.

You can bet that he's going to be looking for a way to make a fast buck or two out of this whole deal.

:30 when he saw the earring and bracelets

Look what catches Laban's attention!

:34-48 DON'T READ

Eliezer just retells the whole story up to this point.

:56 Hinder me not,

Eliezer feels he's on a roll, and doesn't want to dare stop and get sidetracked from what the Lord is doing.


What out for detours!

I wonder how often we listen to the Laban's around us, and get sidetracked from what the Lord has for us to do.

:60 let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.

In other words,

May her descendants be able to conquer and rule over (possess the gates) all those who want to hate them.

:63 Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes,

Note what Isaac is doing when he found his Bride.


How to find your mate.

Forget about shopping the "meat" market.

Stop going to "happy hour".

Just spend time with Jesus.

He'll take care of bringing your husband or wife to you.

Sounds pretty risky, huh? That's FAITH!

:67 he loved her:

Yes, it's a true love story.

:67 Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.

Here's some interesting information!

Sarah was 90 years old when Isaac was born.

She was 127 years old when she died, when Isaac was 37 years old.

Isaac was married when he was 40 years old.

Isaac had mourned for 3 years over his mother's death.

Genesis 25

:1-11 Summarize (don't read)

We find that Abraham remarries after Sarah's death, to Keturah, and has six more sons.

Abraham dies at 175 years old.

Isaac and Ishmael bury Abraham with Sarah, at Machpelah (Hebron).

:12-18 Summarize (don't read)

Here we have the lineage of Ishmael, who lived to be 137 years old.

:19 - read

:21 Isaac entreated the LORD for his wife,

Rebekah is able to have children because of Isaac's prayers.

But there's more than meets the eye here.

Isaac married when he was 40 years old.

The kids don't come until he's 60 years old.


Don't quit praying!

Isaac is a great example of perseverance in prayer.

He prayed for TWENTY years, until his wife got pregnant!

:23 Two nations are in thy womb,

Not exactly the kind of thing a pregnant lady wants to hear!

It's bad enough having twins, but two NATIONS!?!?!?

:25 Esau

The first kid comes out all hairy, so they call him "Harry" (Esau = hairy).

He is also known as "Red" (Edom = red).

:26 Jacob

Jacob means "heel catcher," "trickster," or "supplanter"

:28 Isaac loved Esau ... Rebekah loved Jacob

This is bad news, when parents begin to favor certain children.

This is going to cause mucho problemos!

:33 he sold his birthright unto Jacob

The "birthright" carried several ideas with it:

1) Material possessions.

The birthright of the eldest son gave him precedence over his brothers (cf. 43:33) and assured him a double share of his father's inheritance (cf. Deut. 21:17).

2) Spiritual blessing.

In this family at least, the blessing was passed on from the one with the birthright to the rest.

3) Messianic lineage.

In this family, the one with the birthright would be the one through whom the Messiah would eventually come.


Don't trade your spiritual treasures for the flesh.

Esau is not a pretty picture here.

He's giving up all his spiritual heritage for a bowl of soup.

Who would do something so stupid as that?

Yet we can very easily do it when we choose to stay in our sin rather than follow the Lord.

The writer to Hebrews warns us:

(Heb 12:14-17 KJV) Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: {15} Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; {16} Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. {17} For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

Esau started by selling his birthright for a bowl of soup.

And he began to despise his birthright.

This bitterness against his brother and eventually the things of God so ruined his life that when it came time for the big blessing from Daddy, he didn't get it.