Sermon #19 Genesis Sermons
Title: Isaac - A Picture of Grace
Text: Genesis 25:5
Subject: Isaac as a type of the believer
Date: Tuesday Evening - November 12, 1991
My message tonight is Isaac - A Picture of Grace. As you know, Isaac is presented to us in the Scriptures both as a type of Christ and as a type of the believer in this world.
In Genesis 2 Isaac represents Christ in yielding himself up as a voluntary sacrifice unto God upon the altar. And he represents God’s elect for whom the Lord God provided a Lamb of sacrifice, even his own dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as a Substitute to die in our place under the wrath of God.
In Genesis 24 Isaac is a picture of Christ for whom an appointed bride is sought. Christ is our Bridegroom. God’s elect are his bride, the church, sought out from among men by the preaching of the gospel. Isaac is also a picture of a believer waiting upon God to give him his chosen bride, the life-long companion of God’s choice, from among his own people.
Again, in our text tonight, Isaac stand before us as a type both of Christ and the believer - “And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac” (Gen. 25:5). Without question, this text speaks of Abraham’s greater Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, “whom God hath appointed heir of all things” (Heb. 1:2). But the text also speaks of you and me who are the sons of God by electing love, adopting grace, and saving faith.
· Like Isaac, we are possessors of all the wealth and privileges of the Father’s house (Rom. 8:17, 21).
· As Isaac represents our sonship and our privileges as the heirs of God, he also represents our heavenly calling (Phil. 3:20).
Canaan represents both the believer’s life of faith in this world and the heavenly glory and rest that awaits us. And Isaac is never seen anywhere except in the land of Canaan. Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph all left the land, at least for a season. But Isaac never did. Every time you see Isaac, he is in the land of Canaan. And the believer is always in the grace of God, the land of rest. We often fall in the land. But the believer never leaves the land. “Our conversation is in heaven.” We have been called with an heavenly callling. And we live accordingly.
· Yet, the believer’s life is a life of trial, conflict, and struggle. And Isaac pictures that too.
Though he lived in the land of Canaan, like us, Isaac had a warfare to wage (Eph. 6:12) with the world, the flesh, and the devil. And that warfare is recorded for us in Genesis 26. Isaac was pre-eminently the man of the well. His life revolved around five wells. These five wells are named for us because, typically, they represent the experiences of every believer in this world. Here are five wells from which all beleivers drink:
1. Lahairoi (Gen. 24:62) - “The living One who sees me.”
2. Esek (Gen. 26:21 - “Strife.” (Without/within)
3. Sitnah (Gen. 26:21 - “Hatred.” (The world)
4. Rehoboth (Gen. 26:22) - “Spacious - Abundance.” (“Grace did much more abound!”)
5. Shebah (Gen. 26:33) - “Good fortune.”
The first thing we are told about Isaac after the innocent ram was slain in his place upon Mt. Moriah (After he was typically redeemed) is -”Isaac came from the way of the well Lahairoi” (Gen. 24:62). I do not think I am stretching the Scriptures at all when I tell you that this well, which means, “Well of the Living One who sees me,” is intended to draw our attention to God the Holy Spirit and his gracious operations in the hearts of men (John 7:37-39). In God’s works of grace, election is followed by predestination, predestination is followed by redemption, and redemption is followed by regeneration (Gal. 3:13-14). Redemption was portrayed in Isaac on Mt. Moriah. And the result of redemption is regeneration, the washing of the Holy Spirit. In the Holy Scriptures, the Holy Spirit is symbolized by - A Dove - Oil - and Water. As Isaac’s well was “a well of springing water” (Gen. 26:19), “living water,” so the Holy Spirit springs up in the hearts of God’s elect as a well of living water.
As water is necessary for all natural life, so the “living water”, the Spirit of God operating through the Word is necessary for our spiritual life. Without water any plant will wither and die, even if it has the best food packed around its roots. And without the operations of God the Holy Spirit in our hearts, you and I would wither and die. We must have the food of gospel doctrine. But doctrine alone is not enough. We must have the living Spirit of Christ!
NOTE: Like Isaac, God’s saints are people of the well - The Spirit of God.
Now, I want us to look at this man Isaac as a picture of God’s grace and see what we can learn from his experiences.
Isaac’s life experience will provide us with some very important lessons about ourselves, about the life of faith, and about the grace of God.
As we look at the events of Isaac’s life, I want to call your attention to seven things:
1. The blessedness of divine worship.
2. The weakness of our flesh.
3. The consequence of unbelief.
4. The faithfulness of God.
5. The life of faith.
6. The restoration of grace.
7. The grief of disobedience.
I. As I showed you a few minutes ago, the first well with which Isaac was associated was Lahairoi - “The Well of the Living One Who Sees Me” (Gen. 24:62; 25:11). That well represnts and speaks of the unfailing care of our ever-living, ever-resent God. At the well Lahairoi, Isaac dwelt in the presence of God!
Where can you and I find such a well today? Where is the Living One who sees me to be found? You know the answer - For you and me, the well of Lahairoi is the house of God, where his Word is opened, his ordinances are kept, his praises are sung, and his presence is promised.
This is the first thing I want you to see in the life of Isaac - THE BLESSEDNESS OF DIVINE WORSHIP. As long as isaac dwelt at Lahairoi, all was well. His trouble did not begin until he left the place of God’s manifest presence. As soon as he left Lahairoi, Isaac began to have trouble. And so will we (Heb. 10:25).
A. This is the house and temple of God (1 Tim. 3:15-16).
B. Our God’s presence is promised in his house, at the Mercy-Seat (Matt. 18:20; Ex. 25:22).
C. This is the place of refreshing, refuge, safety, and instruction (Eph. 4:11-16).
I know that mere ritualists make too much of mere attendance at the house of God. They make worship idolatry. But most people make far too little of public worship. This is the place from which God sends out his Word and pours out his blessings upon his people. I guarantee you that Isaac wished many a time that he had never left Lahairoi, “The Well of the living One Who Sees Me!”
II. But when a time of famine came, Isaac departed from Lahairoi and went done to the land of the Philistines in Gerar (Gen. 26:1). Here is a sad, but common picture of THE WEAKNESS OF THE FLESH.
When Isaac was in a pinch, instead of continuing in the presence of God at Lahairoi, instead of abiding in the worship of God, he figured out a way to improve his circumstances. But, as we shall see, it cost him dear.
Read verse 2 - Obviously, Isaac was on his way down to Egypt. But God intervened to stop him! Learn these three things:
A. God’s saints are sinners still.
B. God’s grace will preserve his elect (v. 2).
C. God’s blessings of grace do not depend upon our obedience - Our obedience depends upon God’s blessings of grace (vv. 3-5).
III. Next, we read, “And Isaac dwelt in Gerar” (v. 6). Gerar was the borderland, midway between Canaan and Egypt. God had told Isaac to “sojourn in this land.” But Isaac dwelt there for “a long time” (v. 8). Here is the third thing for us to see - THE CONSEQUENCE OF UNBELIEF. In Gerar Isaac is a believer who has lost the blessed joy of communion with God by his unbelief.
· Unbelief caused him to leave Lahairoi!
· Unbelief caused him to dwell in Gerar!
· Unbelief caused him to lie to his neighbors! (Cf. Gen. 20:1-2 and 26:7).
NOTE: Our sons and daughters are far more likely to imitate our vices than our virtues. Be careful how you live before them.
NOTE: Horrible as Isaac’s actions were, when we consider what he was prepared to do, we must be made to see that what Isaac was, we are. There is nothing you and I will not do, if God leaves us to ourselves, even for a moment!
IV. Fourthly, I want us to rejoice and give thanks for THE FAITHFULNESS OF OUR GOD(vv. 12-14).
Those who do not understand the character of God and the sovereignty of his grace have a real hard time understanding these verses. They say, “How could God so bless Isaac even while he was behaving in such a manner?”
A. The blessings of God upon Isaac were unconditional, covenant blessings (Gen. 22:17-18; 26:3-5).
B. “The gifts and callings of God are without repentance” (Rom. 11:26).
C. Our God rules and overrules all things, sovereignly making all things to work together for the good of his elect, even our miserable failures (Rom. 8:28).
D. God is faithful (Lam. 3:26; 2 Tim. 2:13; Heb. 10:23).
1. Because Isaac would not leave Gerar, God arranged to have him cast out of the land (v. 16).
2. When Isaac was cast out of Gerar into a dry valley, God sweetly forced him to dig again the wells of water which he had dug with his father Abraham (vv. 17-19).
“Seek ye the old paths!” When god’s providence appeared to turn against him, it was working for him, bringing him again to the “wells of living water!”
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform.
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines,
Of never failing skill,
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
The clouds you so much dread,
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
God’s purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower!
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind the frowning providence,
He hides a smiling face.
Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own Interpreter,
And He will make it plain!
V. Isaac also shows us something about THE LIFE OF FAITH (vv. 19-22).
Instead of standing up for his rights and contending for himself against his enemies, Isaac chose the path of peace, now trusting God to provide for him. True faith makes men and women content and peaceful in the midst of difficulty (1 Pet. 2:19-20). (Nothing was at stake but water, and he could easily get more. Truth was not at stake, nor God’s glory, nor the welfare of God’s saints. Just water!)
VI. Now, read verses 23-25. Here we see THE RESTORATION OF GRACE.
God brought Isaac to Beersheba, “the well of good fortune” (vv. 32-33). Beersheba was also “the well of the Oath.” Now, look what happened when Isaac returned to the place of his oath and allegiance to God. He found good fortune indeed!
A. On the very night that Isaac returned to Beersheba, “the Lord appeared unto him” (v. 24).
B. There Isaac built an altar and called upon the name of the Lord. He came back to the house of God, the place of worship, and the place of sacrifice! (v. 25).
C. There at Beersheba he found water (v. 32).
· The water of life!
· The water of cleansing!
· The water of reviving!
D. Isaac pitched his tent at Beersheba, to dwell in the presence of God (v. 25).
E. And God made Isaac’s enemies to be at peace with him (vv. 26-31; Prov. 16:7).
VII. I cannot conclude this message without showing you one last, sad lesson from the life of Isaac. In verses 34-35 we see THE GRIEF OF DISOBEDIENCE.
The Lord God forgave Isaac for his sin and even overruled his sin to do him good. But Isaac saw and felt the grief of his own disobedience in his son Esau, who married a Hittite. “God is not mocked! Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap!”
As Isaac went down to the world for help in time of famine, Esau, following his father’s example, went down to the world to find himself a bride. And Esau never knew God. This was a grief to Isaac. But it was, in great measure, a grief he brought upon himself by disobedience to the will of God. When he should have been careful, Isaac was careless. And it brought grief to his soul.
Here is ISAAC - A PICTURE OF GRACE. Let us learn from him…
1. The blessedness of divine worship - Nothing is more important.
2. The weakness of our flesh - We are sinners still.
3. The consequences of unbelief - unbelief always dishonors God and brings us to reproach.
4. The faithfulness of God (Mal. 3:6).
5. The life of faith - Contentment and peace.
6. The restoration of grace (Phil. 1:6).
7. The grief of disobedience - Nothing is more certain!
Come, let us this night go back to Beersheba, the place of our oath and allegiance to God, and dig again the well of grace, the place of good fortune, and pray that the Lord will appear to us…
· The Cross.
· Build an altar here by faith!
· Pitch your tent here!
· Find the living water here!