“Now after these things it was told to Abraham, ‘Behold, Milcah also has borne children to your brother Nahor’” (Gen. 22:20).- Genesis 22:20-24
Ask a person to summarize human existence in one word and he might reply, “Struggle.” From birth until death, competition is an ever-present reality. We hope to win foot races in elementary school because we want to be the fastest kid in our class. Finding success in a career can mean fighting against others to secure a business contract. International war manifests all this sparring on a far greater scale.
All of these examples may not tell the story of good versus evil. Nevertheless, the battles characterizing life in this present age are not surprising. For such competition, whether large or small, inevitably reflects the cosmic clash that has been fought from the beginning.
At first, creation was at peace, for God made it “very good” (Gen. 1:31). But soon thereafter, the serpent slithered in, convincing Adam and Eve to commit treason and disobey their Creator (3:1–13). The Lord could have justly brought an end to mankind right then. However, He loved the world and pledged to create a holy people — the woman’s seed — to crush the enemy (vv. 14–15; see John 3:16).
Early on, the Devil’s seed overwhelmed the woman’s offspring. Cain killed Abel (Gen. 4). And while Noah lived a holy life overall, he soon showed his own unfaithfulness (6:1–9:17). Finally in Abraham, God began to establish His people to be a light to the world and to gain victory over Satan. Despite the occasional setback (12:10–20; 16; 20), the Lord’s sworn oath to bless the patriarch (chap. 15, 17) resulted at last in the birth of Isaac (21:1–7). By this point, Abraham had such faith in the Lord that he was willing to give up this heir (chap. 22), foreshadowing Satan’s end through One who trusted God unto death for the destruction of evil (Luke 22:39–42; 1 John 3:8b).
A brief list of Abraham’s nieces and nephews is the first passage in our year-long study of the second part of Genesis. Of note in this text is the mention of Rebekah (Gen. 22:23) — Isaac’s future wife (chap. 24). If the promise of Abraham’s many offspring is going to come true (15:5), his heir must marry and bear children. This genealogy, coming near the end of Abraham’s life, anticipates Isaac’s marriage and the passing on of the covenant promises from father to son.
Take some time to skim over Genesis 23–50 today in preparation for our study this year. Ask God to help you understand this book of beginnings and consider how Abraham’s children like Jacob and Joseph help to show us that the Lord’s people, by the power of the Spirit, will have final victory over evil. Thank Him that Jesus, the seed of the woman par excellence, has won that battle and is even now working through His people to subdue Satan’s kingdom.
Passages for Further Study