He Shall and Must


The book of Genesis unveils God’s intention to bless mankind. This glares in the face of our continual rebellion against him. In Chapter 12, God confined his plan to accomplish his blessing through one family, starting with Abraham. Yet, this plan seemed doomed, as it took so long for Abraham to have one rightful son. One! Then that son (Isaac) married a wife who was barren for many years. It didn’t look like a good start for God’s plan.

  • When you are following God, how do you react to delays and turns that seem to be an outright contradiction of his plan?


19 These are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham fathered Isaac, 20 and Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean, to be his wife. 21 And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren. And the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 The children struggled together within her, and she said, “If it is thus, why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord. 23 And the Lord said to her,

“Two nations are in your womb,
    and two peoples from within you shall be divided;
the one shall be stronger than the other,
     the older shall serve the younger.”

24 When her days to give birth were completed, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25 The first came out red, all his body like a hairy cloak, so they called his name Esau. 26 Afterward his brother came out with his hand holding Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob.Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.

27 When the boys grew up, Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents. 28 Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. How old was Isaac when he took (married) Rebekah (vs. 20)? How old was Isaac when they had their first children (vs. 26)? So, how long had Isaac been waiting and praying for a child (vss. 20, 26)?
  2. Isaac was the son of covenant promise of all future generations (Genesis 17:21, 21:12). How do you think this promise squared with Isaac for those 20 years while Rebekah was barren (vs. 21)?
  3. What did Rebekah do when things seemed to go amiss during her pregnancy (vs. 22)? What can we learn from her example?
  4. The normal arrangement in a family placed the older child “over” the younger siblings. How did God intervene and change that with Isaac’s sons, Jacob and Esau (vs. 23)?
  5. What is something personal (and within God’s will) which you have prayed for that, possibly with time, has appeared beyond God’s ability or desire to answer? How have you dealt with it?


Isaac not only knew the promise God made to his father, Abraham, that the world would be blessed through him and his seed (Gen. 15:4), but also that God had further narrowed that promise through Isaac (Gen. 17:21, 21:12). Yet, the door appeared firmly shut on God’s ability to fulfill that promise. Like Abraham, Isaac had no kids, and no humanly rightful way to have them. Finally, 20 years later, Rebekah bore twins. Isaac may have questioned God’s promise and ability in light of his own limited view, but he chose to pray and wait for God to act. Abraham did not. Either way, God, the sovereign Lord, worked out his promised plan.

  • This same sovereign God rules in our lives today. Scripture is replete with promises God has made to us. Pray to God with any issues in your life that seem to deny his sovereignty. Speak your confidence to him, knowing he shall and must fulfill his promises!