Sunday, 04 November 2007 00:00

Grace That Exceeds Our Sin

Genesis 26:8-17 (ESV)

When he had been there a long time, Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out of a window and saw Isaac laughing with Rebekah his wife. So Abimelech called Isaac and said, "Behold, she is your wife. How then could you say, 'She is my sister'?" Isaac said to him, "Because I thought, 'Lest I die because of her.'" Abimelech said, "What is this you have done to us? One of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us." So Abimelech warned all the people, saying, "Whoever touches this man or his wife shall surely be put to death." And Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. The LORD blessed him, and the man became rich, and gained more and more until he became very wealthy. He had possessions of flocks and herds and many servants, so that the Philistines envied him. (Now the Philistines had stopped and filled with earth all the wells that his father's servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father.) 16And Abimelech said to Isaac, "Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we." So Isaac departed from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar and settled there.

Last week we saw how Isaac struggled with the same sins that characterized the battles within the soul of his own father, Abraham. I tried to help us all see that breaking free from generational sins begins with transparency and honesty in the lives of God's people.

  1. A lack of transparency often leads to repeated failures within family.
    Abraham had lied about his wife twice to the kings of Egypt and Gerar saying, She is my sister (Genesis 12:13; 20:2), but he had never informed Isaac of his sins, and so Isaac was destined to struggle himself. Isaac followed the same path of his father.
    1. Partial dedication to God's Will... Isaac settled in Gerar just like Abram. God told them both not to go down to Egypt, but to dwell in Canaan. Gerar is halfway.
    2. Personal doubt of God's Word... God told them both He would bless them. But after this promise (26:3-5), Isaac says to his wife, They shall kill me (v.7). When transparency regarding spiritual things is lacking, there is a great deal of focus on the things of this world. If God doesn't fill the heart, other things will.
  2. This is why transparency is hardest within families in general.
    To be transparent means "to be free from guile; to be candid or to be open." One of the ways to know that you're growing in grace is the ability to be open about failure. This is contrary to what some men and women believe about how a man should be. Transparency is accomplished by telling your family your story... all the details. We refuse to practice cunning... but by the open statement of truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God (II Corinthians 4:2).
  3. When guilt and shame are removed by God's grace, transparency evolves.
    One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is conviction. He brings us to the place where we are miserable with our sins, feel our shame, our guilt, and our sense of failure. Just like Isaac we are brought to a sense of reproach for the way we have lived. But when it seemed it could not get any worse—The Lord blessed Him (26:12).
    "O Jesus, full of truth and grace, more full of grace than I of sin,
    once again I seek Thy face; open thine arms and take me in,
    and freely my backslidings heal, and love the faithless sinner still." (Charles Wesley)

    "Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication." (Micah 7:8-9)

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