Today we commission our brothers and sisters who comprise the Redemption Church Plant team. This is their last Sunday with us. Together we send them out with our love, with our prayers and a word from the Apostle Paul. Paul’s instruction for Timothy, ‘Continue in what you have learned’ and ‘Preach the Word’ is our charge to Redemption Church.
Anytime you put sinners together in a family or home, dysfunction is going to happen. Isaac and Rebekah’s family is just one more example of this. Jacob steals not only his brother’s birthright, but also his brother’s blessing. And shockingly does so with his mother’s help! In spite of Rebekah and Jacob’s sin, God accomplishes his redemptive plan.
Isaac is the true heir of the Abrahamic blessings and covenant. God has promised to be with him. And indeed, God is undeniably with Isaac, to guide, protect and to bless him. Isaac is sent away from Gerar in the midst of a famine. Nevertheless, God’s presence and favor go with him and as a result he prospers wherever he goes.
Abraham, the patriarch of Israel dies and is buried next to his wife, Sarah. Abraham will have many descendants as God had promised. God’s Word is unfailing. Isaac and Rebekah go on to have twins. But God’s covenant promises will be carried on through only one of them. God in his sovereignty, contrary to human convention, chooses Isaac’s youngest son, Jacob to be the recipient of his grace and the blessing of Abraham.
The last words of Abraham recorded in Scripture are words of faith, faith in God’s power, guidance and provision. Abraham sends his servant, under the providence of God to find a wife for Isaac. He is confident God will fulfill his promise to give him innumerable descendants. God does honor his promise to Abraham and sovereignly directs Abraham’s servant to Isaac’s future wife, Rebecca. God is not only fulfilling his promise, but also assembling for Himself a people that are his, devoted solely to Him.
It is after decades of waiting that Abraham begins to receive the fulfillment of the promises God made to him. Years after receiving Isaac, Sarah dies. Her death is the occasion through which God begins to fulfill the promise of land to Abraham and his descendants. God’s chosen prince, Abraham was not immune from suffering, but God used that suffering as a means of fulfilling his promise. Likewise for us, the promises of God to us are fulfilled only through the suffering of God’s Son, Jesus the Christ.
God calls Abraham to do the unthinkable, sacrifice his only son, whom he loves. And remarkably, Abraham responds in faithful obedience. Isaac is only a knife thrust away from death when God intervenes and spares his life. God tested Abraham’s faith but also, more importantly, provided a lamb so Isaac and later, Israel might live. This is a foreshadowing of the Lord’s provision for the salvation of his people through Jesus, the Lamb of God.
Although Abraham repeats the same mistake as he did in Egypt, the Lord’s grace intervenes again and preserves Sarah, Abraham and the Lord’s promise. As a result of God’s grace, Abraham becomes an intercessor on behalf of Abimelech and he is healed through Abraham’s prayer.
As fathers we are commanded to raise our children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Hence, as fathers we are models and teachers. But are we faithful models and teachers? All of us are teaching our children something, whether we realize it or not. Are we teaching them that Christ and His Kingdom are our supreme treasure or the things of this world are our treasure? As fathers our goal should be to teach and display the beauty and goodness of Jesus and His Word so that our children will know, love and obey the Him.
The Lord remains with Abraham to reveal his plans for Sodom. Abraham has been chosen by God to receive blessings. When Abraham hears of the Lord’s plan for Sodom, he intercedes on behalf of the righteous in Sodom. Abraham is concerned about both the reputation of Lord and the lives of the righteous in Sodom. Abraham knows God is righteous and just hence, he appeals to the Lord on behalf of the righteous.