There are so many times when I'm reading a passage of scripture and I feel a sense of deja vu, and today was one of those times. It has often been said that History repeats itself and as true as that is in today's world, it was also true in biblical times. The truth that we find in that statement stems from the fact that history simply is the record of the acts and decisions made by humans. Humans are flawed and as we just read from scripture a couple of days ago, we are sinful and our hearts are inherently evil from childhood. (Gen 9:21) After covering the final moments of Abraham's life and the last account of Ishmael and his life, we begin to see a major segment of scripture unfold. The story of Isaac, the child of promise, the beginning of the mighty nation of Israel. We also see history repeating itself. Isaac is a man who's wife is barren. He is a man who trusts in the Lord and prays for her. He takes his life before the Lord and seeks his will, his blessing, and his ways. These are all things that he surely learned from his parents. I am sure that he was told of the miracle of his birth and of the ways that God had lead his parents out of the land of the Chaldeans and into the foreign land that God had promised to them. It seems impossible that Isaac would have no understanding of who God was and the provisions he had made for their family having Abraham as his father.
So it is not hard to see the faith of Isaac when he prays for his barren wife for 20+ years. He has seen(or at least heard of/and is living proof of) God doing the miraculous. It is not a stretch to see that his wife Rebecca listens to the Lord and seeks the Lord for what is happening to her and inside of her. (Gen 25:22-23) God is faithful.
What is interesting is the fact that just like his father before him, he finds himself in a situation that he sees as being too big for God. The Bible doesn't say this explicitly, but it is most assuredly implied. He repeats the past of his father and with the same king no less. He tells Abimelech, king of the Philistines, that Rebecca is his sister and not his wife for fear that they will kill him for her sake.
This biblical culture was one of oral tradition. They did not have extensive libraries of histories or much of a written record of what had happened. Most people were illiterate to begin with. Their primary source and main reliance for history and the past was on the passing on of stories from one generation to the next, by word of mouth. I would be amazed if Abraham had not passed on the fact that he, not once but twice, told powerful men that his wife was his sister out of fear in order to save his life; and how twice God provided, protected, and ultimately blessed Abraham despite his lack of faith.
How could this happen? Surely Abraham would have told his son about the ways that God had provided for them and how God protected not only him, but Isaac's mother Sarah as well, in not one case of misrepresenting the truth about their relationship but twice. Surely Abraham would have told his son about how God provided not just protection but enormous blessing and wealth from the Philistines when they found out that Sarah was his wife. One interesting difference to make note of between the two is the fact that Sarah was indeed Abrahams half sister; with Isaac, Rebecca was not his sister at all. Isaac completely lies to Abimelech.
And how odd must it have been for Abimelech to have this happen not once but twice. He must have been having a major Deja Vu moment himself.
But what can we learn from this? When God blesses us with children, he has given us a tremendous responsibility to point them toward God. Abraham no doubt did this and we see that God is very much on the scene and involved in Isaac's life, and his families life. But we also have the capacity to pass on our fears and our weaknesses as well. We have to be aware of the fact that in a lot of ways we want history to repeat itself in the lives of our kids if we are following the Lord and trusting in him. But on the flip side we don't want history to repeat itself in all of our failures, shortcomings and lack of faith moments.
So the decision is ours and has to become something that we own. We need to take ownership of making sure that our kids see History repeat itself for all the right reasons. How are you making sure that this happens? What do you need to change today in regards to pointing your family toward Christ and a life of faith and trust in the one who is with us always in our highest of highs and our lowest of lows? I encourage you to take a moment and pray that God would show you areas where you need to see some change in your own life so that it will spill over into the life of your family. Be open and honest with God about your fears, concerns, and failures. He knows them already. He is ready, able and willing to work, as a potter does with wet clay, with anyone who is open to his Spirit and his guidance and direction.