Genesis Chapter Twenty Six, Sins Of The Fathers...

In our study of Genesis chapter twenty six, we look at Isaac's reaction to some of the tests that his father had faced. 

Genesis 26:1

"Now there was a famine in the land - besides the previous famine in Abraham's time - and Isaac went to Abimelek king of the Philistines in Gerar." NIV translation

In chapter 12, we saw that a famine afflicted the land during Abraham's time and he went to Egypt. Now, we see that another famine is affecting the land but this time Isaac stayed in Canaan but went to the coast where the Philistines lived. We are reminded that the Philistines were pagans and, in fact, would become enemies of Israel.

Genesis 26:2 & 3

"The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, 'Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham.'" NIV translation

Isaac must have been planning on going down to Egypt like Abraham had done but the Lord stepped in to stop him. Isaac was promised that, if he trusted in the Lord, he would not only be taken care of but he would not have to worry. (That is the meaning of "blessed".) He was reminded of the fact that he had inherited the promises that God had made to Abraham. So, he was faced with a test of his faith (trust) in the promises of God.

Genesis 26:4 - 6

"'I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.' So Isaac stayed in Gerar." NIV translation

Isaac was reminded of his father's faithfulness and the fact that blessings flowed from his trust in God. Isaac stood up to the test and stayed in Canaan. Surely, Abraham would have told his son of the time that he failed and went to Egypt. This testimony would have built Isaac's faith and prepared him for this test.