This is a very good article which outlines some important points about the sacrificial system in the Old Testament and its importance.
Genesis 26:4-5 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. (This is another reference to the coming Messiah).
Read Genesis 26:1-6 This is where God appears to Isaac, son of Abraham, to renew the covenant that he made with Abraham.
Genesis 26:1-6 New International Version (NIV)
Isaac and Abimelek
26 Now there was a famine in the land—besides the previous famine in Abraham’s time—and Isaac went to Abimelek king of the Philistines in Gerar. 2The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. 3 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. 4 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,5 because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.” 6 So Isaac stayed in Gerar.
Read Genesis 26:7-11 Isaac lies about Rebekah being his wife, and says she is his sister instead because he is afraid of being killed because men will want her due to her beauty.
Genesis 26:7-11 New International Version (NIV)
7 When the men of that place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” because he was afraid to say, “She is my wife.” He thought, “The men of this place might kill me on account of Rebekah, because she is beautiful.”
8 When Isaac had been there a long time, Abimelek king of the Philistines looked down from a window and saw Isaac caressing his wife Rebekah. 9 So Abimelek summoned Isaac and said, “She is really your wife! Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’?”
Isaac answered him, “Because I thought I might lose my life on account of her.”
10 Then Abimelek said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the men might well have slept with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.”
11 So Abimelek gave orders to all the people: “Anyone who harms this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.”
Read Genesis 26:12-35 This is where God blesses Isaac for keeping his covenant, he blessed Isaac with generally a long and peaceful life, with the exception of Esau’s marriage to the Hittite women.
Genesis 26:12-35 New International Version (NIV)
12 Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the Lord blessed him. 13 The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy. 14 He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him. 15 So all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up, filling them with earth.
16 Then Abimelek said to Isaac, “Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us.”
17 So Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar, where he settled.18 Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them.
19 Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there. 20 But the herders of Gerar quarreled with those of Isaac and said, “The water is ours!” So he named the well Esek,[a] because they disputed with him. 21 Then they dug another well, but they quarreled over that one also; so he named it Sitnah.[b] 22 He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarreled over it. He named it Rehoboth,[c] saying, “Now the Lordhas given us room and we will flourish in the land.”
23 From there he went up to Beersheba. 24 That night the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.”
25 Isaac built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord. There he pitched his tent, and there his servants dug a well.
26 Meanwhile, Abimelek had come to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath his personal adviser and Phicol the commander of his forces. 27 Isaac asked them, “Why have you come to me, since you were hostile to me and sent me away?”
28 They answered, “We saw clearly that the Lord was with you; so we said, ‘There ought to be a sworn agreement between us’—between us and you. Let us make a treaty with you29 that you will do us no harm, just as we did not harm you but always treated you well and sent you away peacefully. And now you are blessed by the Lord.”
30 Isaac then made a feast for them, and they ate and drank. 31 Early the next morning the men swore an oath to each other. Then Isaac sent them on their way, and they went away peacefully.
Jacob Takes Esau’s Blessing
34 When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite. 35 They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah.
Read Genesis 35:27-29. Issac lived 180 years.
Genesis 35:27-29 New International Version (NIV)
27 Jacob came home to his father Isaac in Mamre, near Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron),where Abraham and Isaac had stayed. 28 Isaac lived a hundred and eighty years. 29 Then he breathed his last and died and was gathered to his people, old and full of years. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.
God not only renewed his covenant with Isaac, but he also uplifted and blessed him throughout his life, and included him in the ancestry of Jesus. God made a promise with Abraham, and he renewed the promise with Abraham’s son to show the world that even if the person with whom the promise is made passes away from the earth; God doesn’t forget or forsake his promises. Sometimes, human beings do forsake a promise if no one is there to remember it, or demand it be kept. This is not the case with God. God always remembers his promises, and he always keeps them. A new covenant, or new promise does not do away with the old promise. God is not like us who sometimes say, “well, that old agreement didn’t work out, so let’s make a new agreement!” This type of thing happens frequently in the world today, and has happened frequently through out history. We need look no further than some of the leaders we have in our countries, and some of the historical wars we have seen. Unlike us, God keeps his promises, from generation to generation when it is a multi-generational promise. We can take comfort in that; especially, when we read the Bible and see the promises laid out for us. Especially in our prayer lives…we pray for those around us to come to know God and draw closer to Him. Sometimes, we pray for that for the entire course of our lives, and we don’t live long enough to see it come to pass. Though we may have had it be made known to us that God has it in hand, and it will come to pass…we may not see it…however, we can count on God to keep his promise to us! Even if we are not here to see that promise be fulfilled!
Isn’t that a marvelous thing! To be able to have God be that reliable and trustworthy?!! We can always count on God to have our best interests at heart…even when we are going through a really hard time where every day seems like a major chore….God really is watching out for you, and being with you. It is just that sometimes we feel overwhelmed by life and fail to notice that God is still there.
Last night I had a dream. I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonged to me, the other to the Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that at many times along the path of my life, especially at the very lowest and saddest times, there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it. “Lord, you said once I decided to follow you, You’d walk with me all the way. But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”
The Lord replied, “My son, my precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of suffering, when you could see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”
Genesis 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty, walk before me and be blameless.”
Read Genesis 15:3-6, Gen. 16: 1-4, 15-16.
Genesis 15:3-6 New International Version (NIV)
3 And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”
4 Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” 5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring[a] be.”
6 Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
- Genesis 15:5 Or seed
Genesis 16:1-4 Hagar and Ishmael
16 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slavenamed Hagar; 2 so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.”
Abram agreed to what Sarai said. 3 So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years,Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife.4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress.
15 So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne. 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.(NIV)
God promises Abram a son, Sarah takes matters into her own hands by giving Abram her servant to get a child by, as Sarah doesn’t trust God to give Abram a son by her. This causes them a lot of grief and stress in their lives, but God is faithful and does provide Sarah with the pregnancy of Isaac.
Read Gen. 17:16-22, and Gen. 18:10-15, Gen. 21.
Genesis 17:16-22 New International Version (NIV)
16 I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”
17 Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!”
19 Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac.[a] I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.” 22 When he had finished speaking with Abraham, God went up from him.
- Genesis 17:19 Isaac means he laughs.
Genesis 18:10-15 New International Version (NIV)
10 Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”
Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. 11 Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”
13 Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
15 Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.”
But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”
Genesis 21 New International Version (NIV)
The Birth of Isaac
21 Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. 2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. 3 Abraham gave the name Isaac[a] to the son Sarah bore him. 4 When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. 5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
6 Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” 7 And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”
Hagar and Ishmael Sent Away
8 The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. 9 But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abrahamwas mocking, 10 and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.”
11 The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. 12 But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring[b] will be reckoned. 13 I will make the son of the slave into a nation also, because he is your offspring.”
14 Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba.
15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she[c] began to sob.
17 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. 18 Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”
19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.
20 God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer.21 While he was living in the Desert of Paran, his mother got a wife for him from Egypt.
The Treaty at Beersheba
22 At that time Abimelek and Phicol the commander of his forces said to Abraham, “God is with you in everything you do. 23 Now swear to me here before God that you will not deal falsely with me or my children or my descendants. Show to me and the country where you now reside as a foreigner the same kindness I have shown to you.”
24 Abraham said, “I swear it.”
25 Then Abraham complained to Abimelek about a well of water that Abimelek’s servants had seized. 26 But Abimelek said, “I don’t know who has done this. You did not tell me, and I heard about it only today.”
27 So Abraham brought sheep and cattle and gave them to Abimelek, and the two men made a treaty. 28 Abraham set apart seven ewe lambs from the flock, 29 and Abimelek asked Abraham, “What is the meaning of these seven ewe lambs you have set apart by themselves?”
30 He replied, “Accept these seven lambs from my hand as a witness that I dug this well.”
31 So that place was called Beersheba,[d] because the two men swore an oath there.
32 After the treaty had been made at Beersheba, Abimelek and Phicol the commander of his forces returned to the land of the Philistines. 33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord, the Eternal God. 34 And Abraham stayed in the land of the Philistines for a long time.
Abraham was faithful to God, and had a feast after Isaac was weaned. Note: Abraham cared about Ishmael as his son, and did not want to send him away, but God promised to make Ishmael a father of many nations also, but said that his covenant was with Abraham through Isaac, not through Ishmael. So, Isaac is the son of promise.
It is important to note that God was faithful to Abraham and Sarah, even when they were not patiently trusting of him. Sometimes we hear God, and we naturally want to make God’s words happen on our own and in our own way.
That is what happened with Sarah and Abraham. This sometimes causes us to sin. Sometimes, there are actions that we can take that are okay in preparing ourselves for God’s promise to be fulfilled. If that is the case we should take those actions, but there is never a time, when sin is the answer to making God’s promise come true.
We should always strive to remember that God’s timing isn’t always right away when he promises something. Sometimes we are just not ready for that fulfillment to take place. We may have some growing to do first on a spiritual level. Ultimately, the reason Isaac was the chosen child was that God had already determined that mankind needed a savior and who his chosen people were, and that the savior was going to be a member of his chosen people, I am sure that Abraham’s feast when Isaac was weaned was a feast of Thanksgiving.
Something to recognize is that God’s chosen people were chosen, not to Lord it over others, but in order to be developed into people who could show the world the character and love of God.
Sometimes, in our world, we find ourselves falling into the sin of jealousy and resentment whenever we hear someone has been chosen for something instead of ourselves…that is because we have the idea that if they are being chosen, then we are not being chosen, so we are being rejected. That is a worldly idea…God doesn’t reject people automatically, just because someone else is chosen for a particular task or mission. We each have our own task or mission to accomplish in our lives. No one person’s task is more important or notable than the one that each of us has been given. That is part of being in the body of Christ…we all have a task, and each task is important…if the foot is not there, then the body cannot move…the foot is not less important then the arm, or the head, or the body…each is important in its own right. We cannot forget that, we are all to work together for the good of the kingdom of God.
We just need to follow God and be blameless due to our willingness to follow God, and be faithful in this journey we have…just like Abraham. If you refer back to Matthew Chapter 1 you will see that Abraham was the first person listed in Jesus’ list of ancestors…yet Abraham was not a perfect person, he was a forgiven person!