Isaac was the child of promise, the first and perhaps only child of Abraham and his wife, Sarah. It was through him that God’s promise to Abraham was passed down and fulfilled, though we are told that Abraham had other children before he died (see Genesis 25:1-2). Isaac married Rebekah and they had twin sons, Esau and Jacob. Esau, the hunter, a man of strength and good looks, was the elder and was loved by his father. Jacob, the younger, the homebody, was loved by his mother.
As Isaac neared his death, he recognized that the blessing and covenant of God must be passed to the next generation. Far greater than any earthly gift we might look for in the will of a passing family member, the blessing of God was an inheritance to be cherished, desired and protected. Because of his faith in God and His promise, Isaac made a special effort to pass this gift along to his children.
By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.
(Hebrews 11:20 NIV)
We are told in Hebrews 11:1 that faith is “the evidence of things not seen.” Isaac’s faith in God’s covenant is a prime example of this.
It was Abraham that God spoke to and told to go to a new, unknown land. It was Abraham that God took outside one night and promised to give him descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky. But Isaac was no stranger to God. He would have heard the Voice that stopped Abraham from killing his precious son, for he was the one laying on the stone altar. When a famine came to the land in his adulthood, the LORD appeared to Isaac and told him not to go down to Egypt. And at that time God confirmed the covenant blessing to him.
“Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed…” (Genesis 26:3-4 NIV)
How could Isaac trust in the promise of God? How could he have faith in what he could not see? Because Isaac was living proof that God’s promises are true. He was the son promised to Abraham and Sarah, against all odds in their old age and barrenness. He was the one spared on the mountainside. And it was his faith in God’s word that led him to pass it along to the next generation.
The proof that all God has promised will come to be is found in two forms of living proof for us. First, if we have trusted in Jesus to forgive us our sins, we now live as new creations.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)
The second proof is found in the life of Jesus Christ. He is not dead, but lives forevermore. His resurrection is a guarantee that one day we will no longer suffer through life, but will be changed to live forever without pain or sadness.
Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14 NIV)
But Christ has truly been raised from the dead – the first one and proof that those who sleep in death will also be raised. (1 Corinthians 15:20-22 NCV)
Like Isaac we can have faith in the covenant and promises of God. There is enough evidence of what is not seen. Christ alive and living within me.