Hall of Faith: Isaac, passed on the faith

When the angel told Sarah she was going to have a child in her old age, she laughed. However, God was true to His word and a year later Sarah gave birth to a son she named

Abraham and Isaac journeying to the sacrifice

Isaac. So, it should come as no surprise that Isaac means “Laughter. He laughs.”

Isaac, along with his father Abraham, and son Jacob, are considered the patriarchs in the Old Testament to the Israelites.

Isaac would have learned about faith and a relationship with God at a young age.

We are not told how young Isaac is, but at some point in his youth the Lord test his father, Abraham. Isaac journeyed with his father, who has been told to bind his son on the altar. I can’t imagine what must have been running through Isaac’s mind?

Rebekah comforted Isaac

However, when he asked his father where the sacrifice would come from, Abraham told him that God would provide. So even in this moment of testing, Abraham had complete faith that God would provide a different sacrifice than His son. {Genesis 22}

We know nothing else of Isaac until he is 40 years old. Abraham is still alive and sends a servant back to his homeland to find a wife for Isaac. The servant returned with Rebekah and when she arrived we are told and “Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.” {Genesis 24}. From this we assume that Sarah had recently died, but we do not know the exact timeline of how long before her arrival Sarah died.

Two nations battled in Rebekah’s womb

Another 20 years passed before Rebekah presented her husband with a child. We are told that “Isaac entreated Jehovah for his wife, because she was barren.” {Genesis 25:21} Rebekah became with child, but Jehovah told her she was carrying two nations in her womb. One would imagine she shared this with her husband, although we’re not told for sure. As the Lord promised, she did not present one child, but two to her husband. They were twins, which were named Esau {means hairy, which matches his description} and Jacob {means supplanter}.

We are told in Genesis 25 that Isaac loved Esau and Rebekah loved Jacob. In time this would lead to betrayal and division in the family.

Isaac blesses Jacob

After Abraham died, the Lord appeared to Isaac and told him to go to the land where He told him to go. Just as his father, tried to pass off his wife Sarah as his sister, Isaac also tried to pass Rebekah off as his sister in the new land. His deception was soon found, but he was willing to be killed in his wife’s place. However, he went on to live peacefully in the land, he unearthed his father’s covered wells and we are told and “the Lord blessed him until he became great” {Genesis 26:12}

He and Rebekah were “a grief of mind” upon learning Esau had married a Hittite woman. {Genesis 26: 34-35}

Isaac was blind in his old age

He grew into old age and was blind, when he called for Esau to receive his blessing. However, Jacob disguised himself as his brother and received the blessing instead. {Genesis 27}. At Rebekah’s prodding and due to Esau’s anger towards his brother, Isaac sent Jacob to the house of Rebekah’s father to find a wife.

Jacob would be gone for a good twenty years before he returned home with a family in tow. Isaac was 180 years old by this time and died shortly around the time Jacob returned because we are told “Esau and Jacob his sons buried him”. {Genesis 35:28-29} Isaac and Rebekah are buried in the Cave of the Patriarchs with Abraham and Sarah and Jacob and Leah.

What can we learn from Isaac?

Isaac loved Esau, while Rebekah loved Jacob

1. He learned about God from an early age

2. His father demonstrated utter faith for him

3. Isaac beseeched God for the desire for children

4. Isaac obeyed the Lord

5. He took responsibility for his mistakes

6. He loved his family

7. Isaac was deceived by his wife and son{s}

Much of Isaac’s story is intertwined with the generation before and after him. We wait anxiously with Sarah to determine if she will have a child in her old age.

Jacob and Esau reunited and shortly thereafter buried Isaac

Then we meet the beautiful Rebekah, whom Isaac seems to be attracted to if not love instantly. They wait for children for two decades, when he finally calls on God for help. Then his sons both break his heart in very different ways.

Jacob and Rebekah trick him for the birthright before Isaac sends Jacob away.

The only mention afterward is a quick note that he dies around the time Jacob returns home.

Yet, the one thing we know for sure is that

Isaac learned about faith from his father and passed on to his son, Jacob

Isaac learned about the Lord at an early age. He turned to God for his needs and obeyed the Lord and he taught his sons about the Lord.

Hence, Jacob’s story continues that of the Patriarch’s and the faith he learned from his father, Isaac, who learned from his father, Abraham.

Isaac passed on the faith of his father’s.

How do you share your faith with your loved ones?


Pictures from FreeBibleImages.org

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