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. 2 The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. 3 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. 4 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, 5 because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.” 6 So Isaac stayed in Gerar. Genesis 26:1-6
The Lord reiterated the promises He made to Abraham, a tradition and promise that would be passed down countless generations. I suspect this is done so that people don’t forget the promises. Isaac was quite literally the firstborn from that promise. He had to know the significance of that.
What’s interesting in this text is that the Lord said Abraham “obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.” We’ve just gone over several gross sins that Abraham committed, but still the Lord said all those nice things about him.
The point then is that while Abraham was a man of God, he also sinned. Should that surprise us? He sought after God, took things into his own hands, worshiped God over and over, blundered, worshiped, sinned, worshiped, etc etc. In other words, it’s the very life cycle of sin, repentance, and forgiveness.
As we work through the Book of Genesis, we’ll see this sin – repent – forgive pattern emerge across generations.
As the Law is passed down, we’ll see sacrifice entered as a “payment” for repentance.