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Fear Not, For I am with You
Dr. Tony Chute, Lead Pastor
Overview: The life of Isaac and his family demonstrates the struggles that come with living by faith in the promises of God. Like his father before, Isaac fears for his life in light of a famine and moves to a strange land. He heads toward Egypt for security and lies about his wife for safety. Despite his fears, the Lord has promised to bless him, and in spite of his difficulties, the Lord shows that He is with him. Near the end of his life, however, Isaac struggles to trust the Lord with the transfer of blessing to Jacob, as revealed to Rebekah before their sons were born. Rebekah and Jacob thus conspire to secure the blessings by deceiving Isaac and displacing Esau, thus proving that they, too, lack faith in the faithfulness of God. The fact that God’s plan continues unabated is no justification for any of their actions, yet it is a reminder to us that we should walk by faith and not live in fear.
01. Living by fear instead of faith is evidenced by protecting ourselves by pleasing others or promoting ourselves at the expense of others; therefore, let us renounce underhanded ways and commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.
02. Living by faith instead of fear is evidenced by trusting the promises of God in our present difficulties and for our future aspirations; therefore, let us cease being sovereign in our own minds and live simply as children of God.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION & DISCOVERY
1. How does Isaac and Rebekah’s story parallel that of Abraham and Sarah with regard to the promises of God? How does their story parallel Abraham and Sarah with regard to their failures before God? As believers, what promises can we rely on today that signify God is for us and promises to bless us?
2. In what ways did God bless Isaac during the famine? What difficulties did Isaac experience? What can we learn from Isaac’s persistence in the face of such difficulties? What is the significance of the names that Isaac gives to each well? How do you keep track of significant events in your life as a testimony to God’s grace?
3. What is the significance of Esau’s marriage in Genesis 27:34-35? How does this action demonstrate his lack of faith in the Lord and his tendency to live for this world? What impact does his marriage have on Isaac and Rebekah? What advice would you give to someone whose Christian son or daughter has married someone outside of the faith?
4. Why does Isaac seek to bless Esau instead of Jacob (see Genesis 25:27-28)? To what extreme does Rebekah go to ensure that Jacob receives the blessing instead of Esau? Are her actions justifiable? What alternative might she have had to secure the blessing for Jacob and preserve peace in the family?
5. In what ways are Christians living in fear instead of by faith today? What does it say about us when we are afraid to confess that we are Christians in a hostile world? Are you able to say with the Apostle Paul that you have “renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways” and that you are ready to commend yourself to “everyone’s conscience in the sight of God” (2 Corinthians 4:2-3)? Pray that you will be childlike in your faith and trust the Lord to accomplish His purposes through you.
For Further Reading: Elisabeth Elliot, Suffering is Never for Nothing (B&H, 2019)