Torah: Genesis 25:19–28:9
PROPHETS: Malachi 1:1–2:7
APOSTOLIC WRITINGS: Romans 9:1–13
These devotionals are designed to supplement, not replace, your Bible reading.
Torah 1 and 2
Isaac Continues the Redeeming LIne of Promise
The first two Torah portions (B’reisheet & Noach) walked us through Creation, Fall, Flood & Dispersion of the Nations (chap.1–11). The next three portions (Lech L’Cha, VaYera, & Chayei Sarah) took us on a “faith-walk” with Abraham, the great patriarch of faith (Chapters 12–25:18). Now, in Genesis’ 6th portion, the baton of faith (through covenant relationship) is passed to the son of promise. Though we have seen Isaac’s birth and marriage already in previous portions, only now does the text shift to a new tol’dot (“generations” or “account,” cf. Genesis 2:4—heaven and earth; 5:1—Adam; 6:9—Noah; 10:1—70 nations from Noah; 11:10—Shem; 11:27—Terah; 25:12—Ishmael; and now 25:19—Isaac) where a father’s life is lived out through the lives of his children.
We are now reintroduced to Isaac’s family. What does Paul use v. 23 to teach about God in Romans 9:11?
In the often-misunderstood story of Jacob and Esau negotiating over food and firstborn rights (i.e., firstborns get a double portion inheritance, cf. Deuteronomy 21:15–17), Jacob is established as the rightful heir.
In God’s first time appearance to Isaac, the baton is passed.
Isaach Learns to Walk With God
In many ways, Isaac is a “chip off the old block” and repeats Abraham’s steps of lying about his relationship to his wife. In those days, a husband risked being killed so that his wife could be taken. A brother, however, would be treated well on his sister’s account (cf. Abraham with Pharaoh in Egypt, 12:10–20 and with Abimelech in Gerar, 20:1–18).
As Isaac learns how to “walk with God” he is abundantly blessed with a harvest in the midst of a ravaging famine. This “baton of faith” has now been passed to all those who are in Messiah and are thus learning how to “walk in faith.”
Read Ephesians 4:1–3 and prayerfully consider Paul’s command regarding how you are to be “walking”/living on this faith journey. Ask God to show you where you need more of these specific “fruits of the Spirit” to grow. Invite God to show you at least one specific place where you are stumbling on your faith walk and manifesting the fruits of the flesh (Galatians 5:19–21) instead of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23) and pray for faith and enablement to walk differently. Make a choice to DO something differently to walk out this faith today. Be sure to be ready to praise God for His answers to these prayers by boasting in what He has done!
Torah 3 and 4
God’s Blessings Provoke Man’s Envy
Like his father, Isaac is blessed with prosperity. Prosperity, however, often breeds jealousy and envy in others.
One verse of “back history” (v. 15) demonstrates that this envy-based conflict is about to repeat itself one generation later (vv. 16–17).
Even after Isaac gives up “land for peace,” the conflict with the Philistines is not resolved. Historically, modern day “Palestinians” have actually never had an independent political “state” but have consistently lived alongside Jews in the land. This land was actually named “Palestine” by the Romans almost 2000 years ago when they gave the land this name specifically because the Philistines were Israel’s enemies and they wanted to wipe out this holy heritage…and destiny.
Isaac makes concessions with his neighbors because he is patient and peace loving but even this does not bring peace (v. 21). Finally, he finds a spot of land where he is left alone for a while (v. 22).
Envy Turns To Placating
When he moves on to Beersheba, God again appears to him reaffirming covenant promises (cf. the earlier visitation in vv. 2-5).
In response, Isaac worships the Lord and prepares to settle there for a while.
Abimelech, the king of the Philistines, seeks Isaac out and makes an appeal to enter into a man made covenant, an ancient “peace treaty.”
Some people believe that problems from the past repeat themselves until they are resolved. Modern day Middle Eastern affairs can be seen in this light. What pattern of ancient problems do you see being repeated today? What do the Scriptures teach about how will they finally be resolved? Pray for the peace of Jerusalem and for protection and blessing upon the faithful remnant of Jewish believers in the Land. Pray also for the faithful remnant of the nations who are standing with Israel (Gentile believers) who are courageously following Yeshua, Israel’s King.
torah 5 and 6
Israel’s father and the people from the land of Philistia enter into a peace treaty.
Soon thereafter, Isaac’s servants strike water in Beersheba.
We now shift to focus on Isaac’s sons. Why does Esau’s choice of women displease his father (cf. Isaac’s steps of faith in 25:20 – why was this so important to Abraham)?
Despite the grief Esau caused his father, Isaac still planned on conferring his blessing upon his older son and establish him as the next “head” of house and rightful heir.
Rebecca, however, has a different plan for Jacob, the younger son, to receive this blessing.
Jacob honors his mother by obeying her and the plan is ultimately successful.
Thus, Jacob receives the distinguished blessing. While many condemn Jacob and Rebekah for their actions, the text does not. In fact, does Esau’s earlier actions create an underlying legitimacy to Jacob’s elevation (25:31–34)? What’s more, consider specifically to whom God spoke of His plan for these twins that the “older would serve the younger” (25:23). Was Isaac resisting what God wanted or did he possibly not understand in the same way that Rebekah did? Were Rebekah and Jacob’s actions unrighteous manipulation or just fallen humans taking steps of faith to further God’s perfect plan to redeem the world?
Esau does eventually receive a blessing, though it was not the one he wanted.
Resentful of losing what he had previously “despised” (25:34), Esau plans to take his revenge.
Rebekah devises a plan to save Jacob (vv. 42–45) and then appeals to Isaac to send Jacob back to her family to find a wife, just like Abraham had previously done for him (v. 46).
Isaac agrees and prepares his son for the journey with another blessing.
Consider that you and I are also a fallen humans who are learning to take steps of faith by following Messiah’s example and lead. A “disciple” is someone who follows someone and walks in their ways. How can you bring God’s redemption to your world today by a renewed focus on discipleship? What practical “next step” might God leading you to take to be a God-honoring disciple? What “next step” might He be leading you to take to make disciples through your verbal and nonverbal witness?
torah 7 and
The Son of PRomise
Isaac sends Jacob away to find a wife among Rebekah’s family. Esau then realizes many things: that his brother had left to find a wife among their mother’s family (v. 6), that Jacob had obeyed their parents (v. 7), and that marrying daughters of Canaan (Hittites are from Canaan, cf. 10:15) displeased Isaac (v. 8; cf. 26:34).
Possibly reflecting the sentiment: “too little” and “too late,” Esau seeks another wife from the family of his uncle.
The Son of Flesh
Review Isaac’s steps of faith and how God was teaching him to know Him and walk with Him—for the sake of redeeming the world!
Tol’dot of the Priesthood
Malachi was the last of Israel’s prophets until John. Jews had returned from Babylonian exile and rebuilt the Temple but were not walking closely with God.
God reminds the nation of His love for them by choosing Jacob (and his descendents) for blessing and Esau (that is Edom) for cursing (cf. Romans 9:14–21). According to v. 5, what is God’s purpose in all this (cf. Ezekiel 38:23, which is the verse the Kaddish prayer comes from)?
God rebukes the priests because they are not honoring God and serving Him according to His instructions.
Read the conversation between God and these Levitical priests as a conversation between Adonai and His New Covenant Priests. Is such a rebuke warranted to you? What about the church today?
Tol’dot of the Nations
Paul’s letter to the believers in Rome is rich in doctrine. In chapters 9–11, Paul addresses God’s plans and purposes for Israel, roughly equivalent to the Jewish people (those physically descended from Jacob).
In the opening verses of these chapters, Paul shares his passion for all Israel to be saved, even if it means his own destruction.
True Israel, spiritual Israel is the faithful remnant of Israel – Jewish believers (cf. 11:5 and the argument there). Gentiles in Messiah are “grafted into the “olive tree” but do not become Israel (cf. 11:17–26).
The rest of this section goes on to argue that regardless of what we may think, God is the ultimate Chooser and Caller. Paul uses Abraham’s family line (vv. 7-9) and Isaac’s family line (vv. 10-13) to prove this point.
Does God’s sovereignty cause you to question His character? Or do you see it as one of the most personally liberating and worship inspiring attributes?
Rest. Fellowship. Discussion.