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ABRAHAM, ISAAC AND JACOB THE HEART OF RELATIONSHIPS

Relationships are part of who we are as human beings. In fact, relationships derive from God
who, existing in three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, reflects perfection in relationships.
The Godhead in three Persons works in perfect harmony of purpose, roles and function (see
Matthew 3:16 & 17; John 14:11, 16, 25), and the relationships among Gods people are to be
likewise (John 15:9-17), as a picture to the world of Gods love.
The Bible is replete with examples of human relationships, both good and bad. These examples
of relationships include, among others, those between spouses, between parents and children,
between siblings, within the community of believers. The key to any of these relationships is
that they be healthy (see Philippians 2:1-4), and they be those where love is abundant,
preference to one another is obvious, submission and serving are the norm, and caring is
common. Because believers are not perfect, our relationships one with another are not perfect.
We must continually and intentionally work at relationships, modeling them after that of the
Godhead as described above.
In the lives of the Old Testament characters of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we see both good and
bad examples of relationships. Studying their lives will help us in our goal of Christ-likeness in
our relationships. Do you want to reflect God in your relationships? This study will help you
as you understand the principles and apply them in your life.
Abraham: Abraham is the one through whom God created His people Israel (cf. Genesis 12:2 &
3). He and his wife, Sarah, were childless. Yet when they were old and Sarah was past childbearing age, God promised them a son (Genesis 15:4-6; 18:10). That son was Isaac, and
Abraham loved him (Genesis 21:3, 8).
Isaac: Isaac was the son of Abraham and Sarah. He married Rebekah (Genesis 24:67; 25:20) by
whom he had twin sons, Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:23-28).
Jacob: Jacob was the son of Isaac and the brother of Esau. He married Leah and Rachel (Genesis
29:26-30), and ultimately had 12 sons (Genesis 35:23-26).
Including what we learn through these Old Testament characters, the Bible teaches the
essentials of healthy relationships that God expects and wants from His children. There are
four to be seen in this study which are: 1) Keeping your priorities straight God is first; 2)
Knowing the goal Christ-likeness; 3) Living in Biblical community; and 4) Focusing on
mission. These essentials are derived from the verses and passages below.
Read these verses and passages: Genesis 15:4-6; 18:10; 22:1-18; Genesis 25:28; 27:30-45Matthew 6:33;
22:37-40; 28:18-20; Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:28 & 29; Hebrews 10:24 & 25; I Peter 2:6; 3:3. Answer
the following questions:

1. In Genesis 22, you read that God tested Abraham. What was the test about? What
was God seeking to discern about Abraham?
2. Did Abraham pass Gods test? What do you learn about Abrahams faith from Genesis
22:1-18? What might you learn about Isaacs faith in these verses?
3. Describe Abrahams relationship with God. From this story about Abraham and Isaac,
what part did that relationship play in Abrahams life, and where did it rank in terms of
importance in his life? Describe Abrahams relationship with Isaac? What lessons did
Isaac likely learn from observing Abrahams relationship with God?
4. What is the principle regarding relationships that you derive from Genesis 22:1-18?
5. How did Jacob and Esau get along? Describe their relationship.
6. Compare Isaacs relationship with Esau to his relationship with Jacob. What effect did
Isaacs relationship with his respective sons have on their relationship with each other?
What are the reasons behind at effect on the sons? Read Genesis 32:1-21 and 33:1-20.
Describe what took place in terms of the relationship of Jacob and Esau.
7. What is the principle regarding relationships that you derive from Isaac, Esau and Jacob
in terms of their relationship with God? Whom should we emulate in our
relationships?
8. There are tremendous expectations and pressures on spouses and parents in terms of
relationships and how we view and treat other individuals. List what some of these
might be? Where do these come from? As you look at your list, which of the
expectations and pressures are realistic? Which are not realistic? Which are actually lies
from our culture (or wherever else) that shouldnt be listened to? What does God want
for spouses in their marriage, for parents as parents to their children, and for children in
their relationships with parents? What Biblical support do you find for your answers to
the last question? What lessons can you learn from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in this
regard to these matters?
9. Read Hebrews 10:34 & 25 again. What do these verses say about the importance of
relationships within the body of Christ (the church)? How should the church live in
community? How do fellow believers encourage one another in the context of
community? Are churches healthy when their members do not spend regular time in
community? What is the principle regarding relationships that you derive from these
verses?
10. Read Matthew 28:18-20. What do these verses have to say about the church and the
relationship of believers one to another in terms of what God commands the church to
be about? Are these verse intended for individuals or for the church as a whole or both?
What is the principle regarding relationships that you derive from these verses?