Thursday, 22 April 2010

LIke Father, Like Son

Was reading Genesis 26 earlier this week and was again amazed at the actions of one of the great characters in the OT, Isaac, who, having been obedient to the will of God, immediately commits an act of unnecessary deception. After determining to stay put in the land of Gerar, Isaac tells everyone that the beautiful Rebekah is his sister and not his wife so as not to entice the locals to kill him in order to have Rebekah for themselves.

Here is the promise of God to Isaac that you would think would give him full confidence of his security whilst living in a 'foreign' land:

Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for a to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father. I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” (ESV translation)

How is it that you can hear so clearly from God, he did hear otherwise he'd have been off to Egypt to wait out the famine, and then in the next breath not trust Him to take care of you. Surely in order for this promise to be fulfilled, Isaac needs Rebekah to fulfill the whole offspring deal.

Where would a man of faith find precedent for such actions? Well, like father, like son! Abraham had pulled the same trick not just once but twice (although Sarah was technically his half sister that does not let him off the hook!).
In one sense we too are the children of Abraham and so we find all too natural to follow in his ways. We can be people of faith yet let ourselves down, even in the midst of God's great plans for us. I know all too well that particular inclination towards deception (however slight) in order for self-preservation.

I'm sure I'm not the first to immediately think of another Father and Son relationship that sets a much healthier precedent. Jesus was the 'model' (understated!!) Son to the best Father and repeatedly referred to only doing what He saw from His father. Just last night I was struck by the reality that Jesus willingly left the perfect relationship He had with His Father, which contained perfect love, to come to our fallen world, to lead the imperfect into that same relationship. What an amazing God we have.

There are many ways that we can follow Jesus example and follow in the footsteps of our Father. We have the great privilege of personal access to our God, we have the inspired word of God freely available to us, through the Holy Spirit we can receive prophetic direction and so on.

My heart is that the phrase 'Like father, like son' would be more than an observation of a 'natural' relationship but would instead reflect the reality of a 'supernatural' relationship that is ongoing in my life.

My own Dad was a great man who sadly passed too early in life for my liking but he was not a Christian man and so I cannot say that I learnt much from him with regards to my faith. I've had the privilege of being around many good men, spiritual fathers you might say, not least my now father-in-law, who have led me well in the ways of God yet it will be of no real surprise to say that I must first seek out my heavenly Father to learn to live this life well.

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