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Parasha Toldot 5783 (2)

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(Tell story of dropping phone in Walmart parking lot climbing out the car and saying something terrible and then looking up and seeing a dad with his young daughter walking bad looking funny at you.)


How often do we find ourselves in similar situations? How often do we find ourselves being the biggest hurdle to the plan that God has in store for us?


This week we read Parasha Toldot, Genesis 25:19-28:9, and continues with the story of the lineage of Abraham and the foundations of B’nei Yisrael, and at times it would appear that Isaac has learned from his father’s mistakes and at others it seems as though he is working hard to repeat them. We begin in Genesis 25 with yet another of the matriarchs of Israel suffering from fertility issues, and this is one scene in which it appears Isaac learned from Abraham’s mistake with Hagar. Instead of trying to solve their offspring issues in their own Isaac turns directly to the Lord. He prays for Rebekah’s womb to be opened and Adonai answers his prayer and Rebekah gets pregnant.
Ultimately she gives birth to twins, Jacob and Esau, but even in the womb these two appeared to be destined to be at each other throats. When the two boys were born, Esau came out first and Jacob came with a tight grip on Esau’s heel. We also see that as Jacob and Esau grew up and became their own men they were vastly different in nature, Esau loved the outdoors and Jacob loved was a mild man and mostly stayed indoors. Closing out Genesis 25 we read of the story of Esau selling his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of lentil stew, which we later recognize was an event that left significant resentment in Esau’s heart—even though he could have cared less about the birthright.
In chapter 26 we see another famine has come across the land and Isaac and his household begin to journey toward Egypt, just like his father Abraham did. However, he stops in Gerar (Philistine town under the authority of King Avimelech—the same king that Abraham and Sarah have a run in with), presumable for an overnight stay along their journey, and there Adonai speaks to Isaac and tells him not to go down to Egypt, not to leave the Promised Land and He reaffirms the eternal Abrahamic covenant with Isaac. Then, immediately following the reaffirmation of the divine covenant, Isaac repeats a mistake his father made and tells Rebekah to pretend to be his sister so no one kills him for her. And, just like Abraham, Isaac’s duplicitous act here is discovered by Avimelech, the same king who was duped in exactly the same way by Abraham and Sarah, so there’s already raw feelings and deep rooted potential strife at play.
Then we read of Isaac being substantial blessed by HaShem and become great and prosperous in Gerar. Avimelech then runs him out of town because Isaac is becoming too powerful and rich. So Isaac leaves the city proper and goes out to the surrounding valley. While in the valley he runs into some problems with the Philistine shepherds there and they have some conflict over the wells Isaac has re-dug and the water he has found.
Following the similar journey path of his father, Abraham, Isaac leaves the valley of Gerar and heads to Be’er Sheva (believed to be about 19 miles away). Here King Avimelech comes to him and they make a peace treaty that the two would not attack one another no matter what. Then Isaac settles in Be’er Sheva.
And chapter 26 closes out with Esau marrying two Hittite women which created bitterness in the hearts of Isaac and Rebekah.
In chapter 27 we see, yet again, Jacob pulling one over on Esau. Isaac is now toward the end of his life and is more bedridden than active and has lost his sight due to old age. Remember, he was 60 when the boys were born and the close of chapter 26 tells us that the boys were 40, and then 27 appears to be sometime later, so Isaac was over 100 years old at this point. Isaac asks Esau (his favorite) to go hunt some game and make him a special meal with it and when he does Isaac will give Esau his firstborn blessing, Rebekah overhears all of this and schemes a plan for Jacob (her favorite) to trick Isaac and steal the blessing. It works, and Jacob gets the firstborn blessing which then causes Esau to explode with anger and threaten to kill Jacob. And in the beginning of Chapter 28 we see Rebekah scheming again to get Isaac to send Jacob off to Paddan-Aram to find a bride from her family. Jacob runs away, and Esau marries Ishmael’s daughter in order to wreak even more havoc upon his parents as payback.
But I’d like to focus on one specific aspect of Parasha Toldot today, and in this we learn a tremendous lesson about getting out of God’s way and trusting in Him fully from Isaac’s life.
So often the biggest hurdle to G-d’s blessing in our life is our own actions outside of His Will…
Let’s dig into the Word together.
Genesis 26:1–6 TLV
Now there was a famine in the land—aside from the previous famine that happened in Abraham’s days. So Isaac went to King Abimelech of the Philistines, to Gerar. Then Adonai appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt. Dwell in the land about which I tell you. Live as an outsider in this land and I will be with you and bless you—for to you and to your seed I give all these lands—and I will confirm my pledge that I swore to Abraham your father. I will multiply your seed like the stars of the sky and I will give your seed all these lands. And in your seed all the nations of the earth will continually be blessed, because Abraham listened to My voice and kept My charge, My mitzvot, My decrees, and My instructions.” So Isaac stayed in Gerar.
Genesis 26:7–11 TLV
Now the men of the place asked about his wife. So he said, “She is my sister,” because he was afraid to say, “my wife”—“or else the men of the place would kill me on account of Rebekah, because she’s good looking.” Now after he had been there for a long time, King Abimelech of the Philistines peered down through the window and saw, behold, Isaac caressing his wife Rebekah. So Abimelech called Isaac and said, “So in fact she’s your wife! Now how could you say, ‘She’s my sister’?” Isaac said to him, “Because I said, ‘Or else I might die because of her.’ ” Then Abimelech said, “What is it that you’ve done to us? One of the people could have easily slept with your wife and you would’ve brought guilt on us.” So Abimelech commanded all the people saying, “Whoever touches this man or his wife will surely die!”
This is most likely the same Avimelech that Abraham pulled the same “she’s just my sister” trick with… Here’s Isaac following suit (Generational Sins/Curse)
Was it really beyond God’s ability to bring about the promise He spoke to Isaac in the first six verses? Is God not capable of both fulfilling His promise AND protecting Isaac and Rebekah? But Isaac tries to take matters into his own hands rather than trusting in God and His promises...
Rebekah does the same thing with the blessing upon Jacob instead of Esau…
So often the biggest hurdle to G-d’s blessing in our life is our own actions outside of His Will…
Joshua 9:1–8 TLV
Now when all the kings who were west of the Jordan, in the hill country, in the lowland and along the shore of the Great Sea to the vicinity of Lebanon—the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites—heard about it, they gathered themselves together as a unified alliance to fight against Joshua and Israel. But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they acted craftily. They went and traveled as ambassadors, took worn-out sacks for their donkeys and worn-out wine skins, cracked and patched up, along with worn-out, patched up sandals on their feet and worn-out clothes on them. All the bread of their provision was dry and had become crumbly. Then they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal, and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We have come from a far country. So now, make a treaty-covenant with us.” Then the men of Israel said to the Hivites: “Perhaps you are living among us. How then should we make a covenant with you?” But they said to Joshua, “We are your servants.” Then Joshua asked them, “Who are you? Where do you come from?”
Joshua 9:14–15 TLV
So the men of Israel took some of their provisions, and did not seek counsel from Adonai’s mouth. So Joshua made peace with them and cut a covenant with them, to let them live, and the leaders of the community swore to them.
So often the biggest hurdle to G-d’s blessing in our life is our own actions outside of His Will…
John 18:10–11 TLV
Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the servant of the kohen gadol, and cut off his right ear. Now the servant’s name was Malchus. So Yeshua said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath! The cup the Father has given Me—shall I never drink it?”
Galatians 2:11–14 TLV
But when Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong— for before certain people came from Jacob, he regularly ate with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and separate himself, fearing those from the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not walking in line with the truth of the Good News, I said to Peter in front of everyone, “If you—being a Jew—live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
So often the biggest hurdle to G-d’s blessing in our life is our own actions outside of His Will…


(Call the worship team up and unmute)
What areas of your life do you find yourself getting in God’s way rather than simply trusting fully in His promises?


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