Laughter. That was the meaning of the name, given to the son of Abraham and Sarah. They had waited for so many years. Many had written them off and no doubt had hailed Abraham’s marriage to Hagar as a wise move. When she got pregnant and gave birth to Ishmael, I am sure it was well celebrated and the news must have gone round, ‘Abraham has a son! At last, someone who will inherit Abraham’s vast riches!’
This was the thinking of man but God had other plans. Isaiah 55:8 says, ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways says the LORD’
This scripture found fulfillment when God announced to Abraham that He would have a son when he was a hundred years old. The immediate response when Abraham heard this was laughter. It was the same response from Sarah when she overheard the second time this piece of news was relayed to Abraham. One can therefore understand why the child was named ‘Laughter’.
Isaac was the focus of God’s testing of Abraham’s faith. He saw his father place him on the altar to offer him to God because that was what God demanded of him. He also saw God intervene and prevent him from being sacrificed by his father. What a lesson of faith that must have been for him! This brings us to my first question. What lessons do our children learn from us? Do they learn faith from us or learn words or actions which negate what we claim to believe?
After the death of his father Abraham, we read from scripture, ‘..and God blessed Isaac’ (Gen 25:11) God had promised Abraham that he would bless him and his descendants but one thing we note is that Isaac didn’t just relax and wait for the blessings. In Gen26, Isaac was in the land of Gerar where he moved as a result of famine. He planted seed in the land and he reaped a hundredfold, why? Because God blessed him (26:12)
He became rich and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy. This wasn’t one spoilt rich man’s kid. He inherited his father’s possessions but he was also ready to work thereby increasing his wealth. He applied the principles of faith and work from his father and applied same principles which yielded abundance for him. Do we take time to teach our children the benefit of hard work and the application of Godly principles to wealth creation?
After his marriage, we see Isaac interceding in prayer for his wife because she was barren. God answered him and soon Rebekah became pregnant with twins. So Isaac was not just a business man, he was also a man of prayer.
I have worked for some Christian employers and my experience has been very disappointing. Some of them believe that when it comes to business, God should take the backseat because they understand the intricacies of the business than God himself. They may not say it verbally, but their conduct more than communicates this fact. A friend of mine once remarked, ‘I would rather work for a chronic Muslim than work with a Christian employer’ According to him, since he knows his employer is a Muslim, he would know how to conduct himself with care. That is not a good report. I do not in any way believe all Christian employers are like that but the statistics show that quite a number lose their faith focus when it comes to business.
Isaac was a gentle soul firmly reliant on God’s promise to bless him as He blessed his father Abraham. From him we learn that God is involved in every area of our lives, be it domestic or business. He was a man of prayer. He was also a son who learnt well from his father.