Man of Prayer

Bible Book: Genesis  21
Subject: Isaac; Prayer
Series: Bible Characters

Isaac, “one who laughs” was the second of the three Hebrew patriarchs who were the progenitors of the Hebrew race. He was the only son of Abraham and Sarah, the child of their old age, the son of promise. Isaac was born in the south of Canaan, probably in the region of Beer-Sheba. He received his name from the Lord after Abraham laughed for joy when the Lord announced his birth, and Sarah laughed at the incredibility of such promise. He was a child of the covenant God made with Abram, and affirmed on various occasions. He inherited the covenant of the Lord (Gen. 21:6).

Isaac’s was a quiet life, not as inspirational, adventurous, or dramatic as the life Abraham lived, and certainly not as exciting as that of his son Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel. His life was far less eventful, lacking in the adventure and dangers Abraham encountered, and a far cry from the adventures of Jacob. Isaac was a quiet, simple man, perhaps even a timid person. At the same time, a study of the life of Isaac should prove both interesting and exciting. The account of the life and role of Isaac in the Lord’s covenant promises should prove both exciting and challenging.


A. The Book of Genesis Records Only a Few Incidents in the Life of Isaac.

1. The Lord is responsible for this record and We have what He wants us to know.

2. Isaac lived his early life in the shadow Abraham (Genesis 12-20).

a. Abraham was one of the greatest man in history.
b. It was Abraham with whom the Lord made the great covenant.

“The Lord said to Abram: Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will (1) make you into a great nation, I will (2) bless you, I will (3) make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will (4) bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Gen 12:1-3, HCSB).

The Lord promised Abraham a land and descendants to fill that land. He promised to bless Abraham and his descendants. He promised to make his name great. He chanted his name from Abram (exalted father) to Abraham (father of a multitude). He promised that “all people on earth will be blessed through you.” That promise is Messianic. We are not just looking at religious superstitions and fables here. This covenant is deeply rooted in the history of the world. We are talking about deep roots and sweet fruits! But, let’s get back to Isaac.

c. Isaac played an essential role in that covenant.

3. His life was not filled with adventure, as was his father.

a. There were no major skirmishes with other tribes.
b. There were no major conflicts within his family until near the end of his life.
c. He and Ismael buried Abraham together (Genesis 25).

4. Isaac seems not to have been as strong and aggressive as Abraham or Jacob.

5. He was a man of quiet nature and habits.

6. When Sarah died, he was 36 years old, and he grieved a long time.

7. He was 40 years old when he married Rebekkah.

8. His twin sons were born when he was 60 years old.

9. Isaac was quiet, peaceful, meditative, and prayerful.

10. He was a successful farmer and herdsman.

11. Of the first three patriarchs, Isaac was the only one with only one wife.

B. Abraham Arranged the Marriage Between Isaac and Rebekah (Gen. 24).

1. Abraham sent a servant to find a wife from among his people in Haran.

2. The servant asked the Lord to guide him to the right young woman.

3. She and her servants returned with Abraham’s servants and met Isaac.

4. Isaac married Rebekah and found comfort after the death of his mother, Sarah.

C. Isaac Lived His Life in the Shadow of One of History’s Great Men.

“His life was an echo of the life of Abraham - all its vibrations arise from the powerful influences given in the life of Abraham” (Source unknown).

1. Isaac was educated at the feet of “the father of the faithful.”

2. It was the child Isaac whom the Lord commanded Abram to sacrifice (Gen. 22).

3. That story reveals the faith of Abraham, but hint at the faith of Isaac.

a. Little has been said of the faith, obedience, and submission of Isaac.
b. The child Isaac might have escaped from his aged father.
c. He permitted himself to be bound to that altar.
d. Isaac became a “type” of Christ.

1) Jesus was obedient to His heavenly Father.
2) Jesus permitted Himself to be nailed to the cross for our sins.
3) Jesus was raised from the dead, as Isaac was raised from that altar.


A. He Had His Faults and Failures, As in His Lie to Abimelech (Gen. 26).
B. He Is also an Example of Great Man Who Failed as a Father.

1. Partiality shown by Isaac and Rebekah was the root of serious family trouble.

2. Isaac favored Esau, the hunter who brought him fresh venison.

3. Rebekah favored Jacob and helped him deceive his father (Gen. 27).

4. Rebekah helped Jacob cheat Esau out of his birth right.

5. Grief came to the parents when Jacob was forced to flee the wrath of Esau.

6. Jacob never saw his beloved mother again.

C. We May Glean Something of the Character of Isaac from The Book of Beginnings.

1. Mention is made of his submission to God (Ch. 22).

2. That he was a man of meditation is suggested in Gen. 24:63.

3. His deep devotion to the Lord is revealed in the Bible.

4. Isaac was a man of peace who a avoided conflict whenever possible (Gen. 26:20ff).

5. He worshiped the Lord (Gen. 26:25).

6. His adoration and reverent fear of God is revealed in Gen. 31:42-53).

D. We May Learn from Isaac’s Love of the Lord, and His Failures in His Home.

1. Because of his submission to God he fulfilled his place in God’s plan for mankind.

2. He fulfilled his purpose in the great Abrahamic Covenant.

3. We should also be warned that parental partiality can bring grief to the family.


The hope of mankind was given in the Covenant the Lord made with Abraham and continued through Isaac, and then Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel. Neither Abraham nor Isaac was perfect, but God’s Covenant is perfect. Isaac was a godly man who served the Lord, but a man who let favoritism in his own home set in motion hatred, bitterness, strife, and wars. Today, even after four thousand years, the animosity still rages. If we recognize the failures, the sins of those great patriarchs surely we will acknowledge the fact that we have failed the Lord. Lost people are already under a sentence of eternal death and separation from God. True believers continually
sin and “come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). No sin is without consequences. Unforgiven sin will have a devastating effect on you, your family, and your friends, often for generations.

The hope of the world today is in Jesus Christ, who fulfilled the Covenant God made with Abraham. With His death of the Cross Jesus instituted a new covenant, written in His blood, for you and me. Our Creator protected His Covenant and kept it alive until the time when it would be fulfilled in His only begotten Son. Jesus has given us a new covenant which is an expression of God’s love for you and me (John 3:16). Because of His love for the one creation created in His image, He has provided for the salvation of any person who will come to Him through His Son Jesus: “ But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us!” (Romans 5:8, HCSB).

Someone has said, the New Testament deals with two things: (1) how to be saved, and (2) how the saved are to live. At first, I bought into that, and then I took another look. The most compelling and amazing thing about the New Testament is what it reveals about our Creator: His attributes, character, power, presence, wisdom, and the permission to call Him “our heavenly Father.” Within this context, the New Testament does indeed focus on how we are saved, and how we are to live.

There are no perfect people, there is only a perfect God. Isaac was not perfect. He was a godly man, a man of prayer and meditation, yet he sowed the seeds of favoritism within his family and the harvest of that favoritism has been harsh, bitter, and bloody. One son, Jacob, who was favored by Rebekah, was spoiled, selfish, and deceitful. The other son, Esau, favored by Esau, left for his descendants a legacy of intense hatred, strife, and war.

Abraham was not perfect and Isaac had his flaws. So it is, even with the greatest of men. David was a man after God’s own heart, yet he committed unbelievable sins. Samuel saw how Eli spoiled his sons, and should have learned from the way they corrupted worship, but instead, he watched his own sons become corrupt worship leaders. Solomon may have been the wisest man in the world, but he made a complete fool of himself over strange women. Paul has often been considered the greatest Christian who ever lived, yet he would see himself as a miserable sinner.

Now, I want to speak to those of you who are in church every Sunday, those who are in services “every time the doors are opened.” Paul confessed that he did not do the things he wanted to do - and he did the things he did not want to do. You and I know how the Lord expects us to live. If you know that you have failed to honor the Lord with your whole heart there could be no better time to ask his forgiveness today. He will fill your heart with His Holy Spirit to guide you and empower you to be the person he wants you to be.