LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON
When the men of the place asked him [Isaac] about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” for he feared to say, “My wife,” thinking, “lest the men of the place should kill me because of Rebekah,” because she was attractive in appearance. Genesis 26:7
Can you believe it? Isaac repeated the exact same sin as his father, Abraham. Afraid of the resident king and aware of his wife’s utter beauty, he felt he had to lie and spread the word that his wife was really his sister. Isaac’s plot was identical to his father’s sin.
Oh, the power of a bloodline. Joyce Carol Oates, a modern day author, said that “We are linked by blood and blood is memory without language.” Absolutely true.
Did Abraham tell Isaac the story of selling Sarah? I wonder. If Abraham had revealed the story of his own lie to King Abimelech and how tragic the outcome would have been without God’s intervention, I doubt that Isaac would have been quick to repeat it.
I am quick to tell my children the family stories I am most proud of but I’m shy to reveal my past mistakes and God’s redemption. I feel I must protect my reputation at all costs. How many parents die with 50% of their stories left to be a collection of mysteries?
But let me give Abraham the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he did tell Isaac the story, and with great passion. Isaac could have grown up making a vow under his breath, “I’ll never do what my father did!” How many young adults breathe these kinds of inner vows in anger? They spend their lives endeavoring to be UN-like someone in their family. But, by default, they are just like them and often can’t see it.
Such a vow made without God in the equation is powerless. The spiritual pull of a bloodline is a powerful force and I’d be foolish to underestimate it. Holy legacies are passed down but so are UN-holy ones. How can I be saved from repeating my parent’s sin? By acknowledging their sin before God, asking God to forgive them, and trusting God to wipe all effects of their bad choices from me and my children. Only the resurrection power of God can stand up against entrenched generational bondages and win. You and I need not be victims of our past in any way.
Is there anything in the lives of my ancestors that I need to walk away from? Don’t let me make excuses. Amen
Journal Question: As you think about your family, even your own behavior, have you ever said… “That’s just the way we are.” Or, “That’s just the way we do things in our family.” Name one or two traits that are specific to your family that you’re willing to pray about today. Is your allegiance to God or to your family?