We are told in Genesis 25 that Isaac was 40 when he and Rebekah married and that, because she was barren, he prayed for her faithfully until she conceived… when he was 60! Isaac prayed faithfully for 20 years until he saw his prayers answered. He so trusted in the sovereign power of God to answer prayers that no amount of time or impossibility of circumstance would deter Him from offering up petitions to God. What would our lives be like if they were marked with prayer like this? What would your marriage look like? What would your evangelism look like? It’s no accident that this account was recorded. The Bible is serious about prayer and we must be as well.
I can’t tell you how convicting this is. There is no single area of faith in which I feel more deficient than prayer, and this must change. If there is one thing Christians should be good at, it’s prayer, and yet, I think more Christians are like me than Isaac. If we are serious about growing in God, we can no longer ignore Him by failing to talk with Him. If He is to be our treasure, He must be our closest friend and greatest source of comfort. This only happens through prayer. God make us a people of prayer for Your glory!
And now for something completely different…
Isaac may be the greatest example of a prayer warrior in the Bible, but his son Jacob was apparently the best cook. Esau, Isaac’s older son, comes in weary and exhausted from hunting and asks Jacob for some of the soup he is cooking. Jacob agrees to share on one condition, that Esau sell him his entire inheritance. What in the world? This must have been the inspiration for the movie “Dumb and Dumber” because Esau agrees! The words of Harry to Lloyd are dancing in my brain right now: “Just when I thought you couldn’t get any dumber, you go and do something like this… And Totally Redeem Yourself!!!”
Apparently he really did think that the soup was going to be the last thing he tasted because he says, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright (inheritance) to me?” He really does seem like like a complete moron, but how often do we do the same thing with Christ? We trade him for t.v. and sex and fame expecting to be satisfied, but when the dust settles, if we don’t have Christ, we don’t have anything.
I end with this famous quote from C.S. Lewis that sums up Esau’s (and our) attitude perfectly:
If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from (the world) and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of the reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.