Theme: Sonship (Part 4)
(Key Verses: Gen 26:1-32)
The foundational theme of sonship in Genesis helps us to appreciate and understand the deep spiritual privileges God bestows on those to whom He gives undeservedly this highest honour. Spiritual sonship is by invitation from the Father only to be conformed to the spiritual image of Jesus Christ, whom was given preeminence or headship in this regard (1Ch 29:18; Joh 6:44; Col 1:18). These sons of God, who are the house of God in His firstborn Jesus Christ, are progressively given possession and control of their own “vessel” with all its lusts and pride in this carnal age, even as they will also judge others in the lake of fire in the spiritual age to come (Gen 22:17; Exo 23:29-30; 1Jn 2:16; Rev 20:11-15):
Rom 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
1Th 4:4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;
1Th 4:5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God.
1Co 6:2 Do you not know that the saints shall judge the world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
1Co 2:15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
1Co 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
To be “under grace” is a very favourable position because this is how dominion and judgement are first given to the sons of God when they are chastened of the Lord to abhor and deny these inherent worldly lusts to be able to enter the temple of God (Gen 1:27-28; 1Pe 4:17; Psa 51:1-5; Isa 33:14-15; 1Co 11:32; Rev 15:8):
Tit 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Tit 2:12 Teaching [Greek: “paideuō” = disciplining] us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth [Greek: “paideuō” = disciplining], and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
Heb 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
Heb 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
Judgment is the godly appointed process which brings the death eon to a conclusion with much tribulation and trials (Act 14:22; 1Pe 4:12):
Heb 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.
Through this judgment our own darkest evils are revealed to us, and through repentance from this evil we learn the righteousness of God. Without this judgment no one will see God or experience His life or light (Ecc 12:14; 1Co 4:5):
Isa 26:9 With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.
Spiritual sonship starts and ends with Jesus Christ, who is given to the other sons of God as the Equipper and Enabler of righteous sonship – holy and blameless (Eph 1:17-23):
Isa 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son [Greek: “uihos” (ABP+)] is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God [Greek: “theos” (ABP+], The everlasting [Greek: “aion” (ABP+)] Father, The Prince of Peace.
Psa 82:6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children [Greek: “uihos” (ABP+)] of the most High.
Joh 10:35 If he called them gods [Greek: “theos”], unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken.
Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
Eph 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children [Greek: “uihothesia” from “tithēmi” which is a ‘prolonged form’ of “theō” or “theos”] by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.
Jesus Christ was indeed given this dominion and power over all earth and heaven by the spirit of the Father, even while living in His body of flesh (Gen 1:1; 1Co 2:15-16; Col 1:15-19; Heb 2:9-10; Rev 1:8):
Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them [His disciples], saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
This position of authority is impossible for the natural mind to grasp or appreciate as it seems that these sons of God claim equality with the throne or rulership of God, the Father, which is not the case. The sons of God, however, know that their election and the process involved are all the Lord’s doing from start to finish. “He that is spiritual…[the gods or lords to whom the Word of God is revealed]…is judged of no man” and ideas of guilt or blame from the accusers do not affect the sons of God:
1Co 8:5 For though there be that are called gods whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)
1Co 8:6 But to us [those in the godly “uihothesia”], there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
What Christ experienced in His earthly walk as the Son of God will be the experience of all sons of God in this age because as He is in this world, so are His brethren in this world (Heb 2:11-18)
1Jn 4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
All sons of God will be forsaken and judged as the wrath of God has been revealed from heaven on all ungodliness of flesh, even Jesus in His time in sinful and unrighteous flesh (Psa 51:5; Rom 8:20; 2Co 5:21):
Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.
Isa 54:7 For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.
Isa 54:8 In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.
Mat 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? [the number nine is the number of judgement on flesh]
Through the generational line of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, this theme of sonship is developed as a type of our own growth in the knowledge and confirmation of this enormous privilege and the important task that goes with this election (1Pe 1:10). Abraham is the type of what the faith of Christ achieves to establish a vital part of the solid foundation in the sons of God on which all “good works” are built (Rom 4:3; Rom 4:12; Gal 2:16; Php 3:9; Gal 3:9; Heb 6:1-2; 2Th 1:3; 2Pe 3:18):
Eph 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
The fatherhood of Abraham in that sense typifies also this fatherhood of Christ in us (Rom 4:16; Gal 3:6-7; Gal 3:29). Isaac, the chosen son of Abraham, is the shadow of how this sonship develops through his experiences to eventually be in a position to also be a father to Jacob. Isaac had to endure his own trials and tribulations showing us what the giving of an account to God is about in relation to sonship (1Pe 4:1-14). Every son of God must carry his own cross and die to self – personally (1Co 12:12; Eph 1:22-23; Eph 4:15-16):
Rom 14:12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
Gal 6:5 For every man shall bear his own burden.
There is indeed one event for all (“it is appointed…once to die”), but we all experience this death process with its judgement quite uniquely (Ecc 9:2). The false doctrine of a substitutionary death of Jesus is exposed by the scriptures because Jesus, our spiritual Father, bore the death penalty of His own flesh as we must bear our own iniquity, even as He died first “for us” in order to assist us in doing the same (1Co 15:3-4; Heb 2:16-18):
Eze 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
1Th 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
1Th 5:10 Who died for [Greek: “huper” = over / above / ahead of] us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
Nothing we have is ours – it is all gifts from God, but He requires a personal account from us as we fear Him to do carefully what He compels us to do, like Simon had to do as a symbol of how we bear our own cross – the cross which also belongs to Christ:
Mat 27:32 And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.
As sons of God, we must take personal stewardship of what God has promised by also applying all His commandments to ourselves to the benefit of others, especially those in the Christ (1Pe 4:10). This can only be achieved through the Christ. All sons of God will grow into fatherhood and as spiritual fathers will provide for our spiritual relatives in Christ and also for others later (1Ti 1:1-3; Tit 1:4; 1Co 3:6-9):
1Ti 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
To give an account to God is to know that God works all our thoughts and actions, and we also work out His work in our lives with all diligence, God willing (Psa 139:1-5; Php 2:12-13). In the process we also encounter disorderliness when there is a spirit of lasciviousness to only want to receive the benefits of sonship without work being done. This brings to mind the thousand year rule when those on the earth who has not experienced spirit life, revel in the provisions the sons of God supply, but is in need of constant correction from the rod of iron (Isa 2:2-4; Rev 20:1-3):
2Th 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
2Th 3:11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.
2Th 3:12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
Isaac had to experience his own “account”, and like his father Abraham he was also tested. One of these trials was the drought he also experienced in Canaan, among others. But unlike Abraham, God instructed Isaac not to go down to Egypt:
Gen 26:1 And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar.
Gen 26:2 And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of.
This drought is also the opportunity God uses to transfer the promises which He made to Abraham directly to Isaac:
Gen 26:3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;
Gen 26:4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
Gen 26:5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
The promise of an offspring through which all the nations of the whole earth will be blessed, brings the theme of sonship and stewardship to the close attention of Isaac. For him to fulfil his part required that he must diligently listen to and obey what God commanded for the benefit of the offspring who would come after him. Isaac listened to God and did not go to Egypt, but rather dwelled in the land of the Philistines. Here in the city of Gerar another test is given to Isaac that was also witnessed in the life of Abraham:
Gen 26:6 And Isaac dwelt in Gerar:
Gen 26:7 And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon.
Isaac’s own heart is now exposed as he displayed the same selfish or self-centred spirit which was in his father as exposed twice in Abraham’s life – once in Egypt and once in Gerar (Gen 12:11-20; Gen 20:1-18). Isaac, like his father, lied about his marital relationship to his wife in order to save his life. Now Isaac needed judgment just like his father was judged for this same act. In our spiritual immaturity we firstly cannot see that focussing on our own needs is not beneficial to our brethren in God’s church. But as always, God’s mercy will bring rebuke on us in order to bring repentance to us, even with great humiliation:
Gen 26:8 And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife.
Gen 26:9 And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a surety she is thy wife: and how saidst thou, She is my sister? And Isaac said unto him, Because I said, Lest I die for her.
Gen 26:10 And Abimelech said, What is this thou hast done unto us? one of the people might lightly have lien with thy wife, and thou shouldest have brought guiltiness upon us.
Gen 26:11 And Abimelech charged all his people, saying, He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.
Sonship is a special favour God bestows on a few despite their own weaknesses. It is when we can see our weaknesses and are humbled by them, that we will be able to experience the strength of God and his overcoming spirit in us. Sons of God are called and are destined to overcome! We learn through our infirmities and failures how to “take pleasure” in them which is never to glorify our weaknesses or sin. The sons of God “take pleasure…for Christ’s sake” as the apostle Paul also found this mystery few can appreciate:
2Co 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
It is this blessing of the Lord which comes through persecutions and humiliation that the sons of God are spiritually enriched without the sorrow of being ensnared by physical things (1Ti 6:6-11):
Pro 10:22 The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.
This is what Isaac also experienced and this blessing always bring envy from those who cannot see how the sons of God can rejoice when they are rejected and despised, having nothing in and of themselves:
Gen 26:12 Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him.
Gen 26:13 And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great:
Gen 26:14 For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him.
The sons of God know the trappings of physical blessings. Those living on the earth who have not been given spirit life or insight during the thousand-year rule of the elect, will think they are living a kind of heaven on earth, even as they are ruled with a rod of iron and enjoy the teachings of the Christ, but in their hearts envy the sons of God (Isa 2:2-4; Rev 2:26-27; Rev 12:5). These religious Philistines cannot appreciate true spiritual blessings as they stopped the wells which produced the waters of life, and they continued filling them with earth in the days of Isaac. This is when we focus our attention on the physical applications of God’s spiritual words (1Co 2:13). Yet God still brings deeper spiritual revelations to His sons despite all the diligent efforts of the opposition:
Gen 26:15 For all the wells which his father’s servants had digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped them, and filled them with earth.
Gen 26:16 And Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us; for thou art much mightier than we.
Gen 26:17 And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there.
Gen 26:18 And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them.
Gen 26:19 And Isaac’s servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water.
Even when the opposition stakes claims to the efforts of God’s sons, God’s sons will just move on in humility and always agree quickly with their adversaries (Mat 5:25). But through the continual outward fleshly strife and inward battles of carnality, God provides a special place and great peace amidst all the turmoil (Joh 14:27; Joh 16:33; Php 4:6-7; Col 3:15):
Gen 26:20 And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac’s herdmen, saying, The water is ours: and he called the name of the well Esek; because they strove with him.
Gen 26:21 And they digged another well, and strove for that also: and he called the name of it Sitnah.
Gen 26:22 And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and for that they strove not: and he called the name of it Rehoboth; and he said, For now the LORD hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.
The Lord will always be with His sons to show Himself mighty in battle, even as the sons of God must experience their nights of darkness and distress to see that nothing can actually separate them from the Father’s love (Mat 26:36-46; Rom 8:35-39). Although it seems to the flesh that God is far away and has forsaken us, God is spirit and will always be there to confirm and comfort:
Gen 26:23 And he went up from thence to Beersheba.
Gen 26:24 And the LORD appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham’s sake.
Gen 26:25 And he builded an altar there, and called upon the name of the LORD, and pitched his tent there: and there Isaac’s servants digged a well.
But the enemies will not stop or cease their attacks, even when they realize the position of the sons of God is secure in Him. The king and the chief captain of his army of the Philistines, which represents our own flesh and its will, do follow us and will always claim innocence, but the sons of God know that all these fleshly authorities are God’s institutions and instruments in His hand to bring forth only what He purposed through them (Dan 4:25; Rom 13:1-5; 1Ti 2:1-2). The sons of God pursue peace with all men as that is how we find time to dig deeper and find God’s precious spiritual waters of life:
Gen 26:26 Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar, and Ahuzzath one of his friends, and Phichol the chief captain of his army.
Gen 26:27 And Isaac said unto them, Wherefore come ye to me, seeing ye hate me, and have sent me away from you?
Gen 26:28 And they said, We saw certainly that the LORD was with thee: and we said, Let there be now an oath betwixt us, even betwixt us and thee, and let us make a covenant with thee;
Gen 26:29 That thou wilt do us no hurt, as we have not touched thee, and as we have done unto thee nothing but good, and have sent thee away in peace: thou art now the blessed of the LORD.
Gen 26:30 And he made them a feast, and they did eat and drink.
Gen 26:31 And they rose up betimes in the morning, and sware one to another: and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace.
Gen 26:32 And it came to pass the same day, that Isaac’s servants came, and told him concerning the well which they had digged, and said unto him, We have found water.