What happens to great organizations when their founder – the guy or gal with the original idea and the burning passion to see that idea realized – is no longer around? Whether it’s a company like Apple or a service organization like Star Bucks or a church like Willow Creek, how do those who follow maintain the vision and momentum in the void left by such charismatic personas as Steve Jobs (Apple), Jerry Baldwin (Starbucks) or Bill Hybels (Willow Creek Community Church)? Without a strategic plan in place and a strong personality to follow, the idea fades and the organization becomes a shadow of its former self.
Genesis 25-26. Abraham had come to the end of his journey here on planet earth. The amazing promises that God had made to him were only just beginning to be realized (albeit to a limited extent). And now the great patriarch fades into the background. What will happen to the Abrahamic Covenant, and more specifically that through him all the nations of the world would be blessed? Enter Isaac. Moses gives us the briefest of sketches of this man’s life, but the picture he paints of Isaac makes it clear that this is God’s choice of Abraham’s successor.
We find Isaac at Beer-lahai-Roi, when Abraham’s servant and Rebekkah come from Paddan-Aram, a place whose name reminds us that God sees, the same place we find him as he prays for Rebekkah’s infertility. He exhibits the faith that marked Abraham’s life in building altars to worship. He listens to God’s voice and follows His direction (at times). And the events of his life mirror some of the same experiences that Abraham lived through…barren wife, nomadic lifestyle, great wealth, respect of others/acknowledgment of God’s blessing, deception involving his wife, choice between sons, and the LORD’s pronouncement of the covenant. And so Isaac, the son of promise, will be the bearer of the hope of Genesis 3.15 and the blessor of the nations for a new generation.
One thing that stands out from the Isaac narrative and those that follow: God is the One who safeguards the promise. He is the One who will provide the Genesis 3.15 Seed of the Woman. He will involve folks like Adam and Noah, Abraham and Isaac, and others along the way, but ultimately He Himself will bring about deliverance by sending His Son who will give His life in crushing the serpent so that all those who believe in Him may have an eternal relationship with Him.
Great organizations come and go. This side of eternity, not a one of them will last. But praise God His kingdom continues on in His church, and He will bring final salvation and restoration to a fallen and broken world.
Until next time…stay salty.