Updated: Jan 30
"Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife because she was childless." (Genesis 25:21)
The very issue, the very hindrance that threatened to keep God's covenant promise from being fulfilled in Abraham's life was the same thing that threatened to keep God's promise unfulfilled in his son's.
Though not relayed in Scripture, I have no doubt that Abraham shared his impossible-odds story with his son throughout Isaac's early years, solidifying an ingrained and consequential impression in Isaac's mind.
After all, Isaac was Abraham’s beloved son, the child of the promise, the long-awaited fulfillment he had yearned for, prayed for, and "believed God" about. And Abraham was no mere casual follower of God. No, he intimately "walked with God" and talked with God. He allowed God to root and redirect his life, to dictate his movement and determine his mission.
So by the time Abraham left this earth, more than likely, the impossible-odds story had been poured into Isaac. More than likely, it had been shared so many times that Isaac could repeat it word for word because so deeply seared into his mind and heart it had become. More than likely, Isaac had come to understand that the God his father (and mother) radically followed was reliable and trustworthy, no matter the hopeless outlook or odds that he might one day face. That this God—their God and his—"could even raise the dead" (Hebrews 11:19), a fulfillment that Isaac had personally experienced when Abraham, in unwavering faith and obedience, laid him upon the altar.
No doubt, by the time Isaac faced his own hard and seemingly hopeless situation, he knew he could believe "him to be faithful who had made the promise" (11:11).
Just as his father and mother had done.
And this is why Isaac "prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife. . ."
I pray—sincerely pray—that throughout my designated time on earth, my three children always witness an on-going habit, a lifelong legacy, of my turning to the One who can do the impossible, of my crying out to the One who "gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not" (Romans 4:17). That by my looking to my God in my seemingly hopeless moments or my trusting in his promises when confronting my own harrowing mountains, it will impact their personal lives in such a way that propels them to call out to God in their personal distresses, in their impossible-odds dilemmas.
Because such times are a part of the journey of life and faith. And they either drive us closer to the One who is sovereign over all, or drive us further away.
They either strengthen our trust in our Father who is all-wise and all-sufficient, or leave us disillusioned and more disheartened. To use a familiar expression, they either make us better or bitter.
Though Abraham left Isaac all of his abundant worldly possessions, the proof of prayer’s power—looking to the Speaker of the Promise to make good His declared Word—was, unquestionably, the greatest inheritance Abraham bequeathed his son.