When the men of the place asked him about his wife, he said, "She is my sister," for he feared to say, "My wife," thinking, "lest the men of the place should kill me because of Rebekah."
I am glad to hear about the failings and the weaknesses of the saints. But I do not praise these failings and weaknesses as good deeds or virtues. Thus I do not excuse the apostles when they flee from Christ, and I do not excuse Peter when he denies Him. Nor do I excuse other weaknesses in them and other foolish and silly things they do. Nor are these things recorded for the sake of the hard, the proud, and the obstinate. No, they are recorded in order that the nature of the kingdom of Christ may be pointed out. In His small flock He has poor and weak consciences that are easily hurt and are not easily comforted. He is a King of the strong and the weak alike; He hates the proud and declares war on the strong. He rebukes the Pharisees and those who are smug. But He does not want to break or confound the fearful, the fainthearted, the sorrowful, and the perplexed. He does not want to quench a dimly burning wick (Isaiah 42:3; Matthew 12:20). This is His way and constant practice. Thus He has acted from the beginning of the world to the end.
“And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws."
These are grand and glorious things, and they cannot be repeated and impressed enough; for they are words of comfort and eternal life. Thus Christ impresses the same things on His disciples often and diligently, as in John 14:1: "Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me." Likewise (John 14:19): "Because I live, you will live also." Likewise (John 16:33): "Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world and the devil." How? "Through My victory, which is yours." This passage concerning Abraham's promise and faith is the chief and foremost passage in all Holy Scripture. Thus Christ praises this faith in John 8:56 when He says: "Abraham saw My day and was glad." . . . For this blessing was not given to Abraham in order that he might be made righteous through it; but since he was already righteous through faith, he received this blessing as a very excellent reward. He is righteous, obedient, and saintly. And because he is so obedient, he will be exalted to such an extent that Christ will put on flesh from his seed, as Romans 9:5 says. It is indeed a great honor that He who is the Son of God, the Destroyer of hell, the Victor over death, the Abrogator of the Law, and the Restorer of eternal life comes from the seed of Abraham.
"Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father."
Confirmation of the Promises
God spoke with Abraham rather often. But with Isaac He spoke barely two or three times. And this is also enough, for here, in a kind of summary, He confirms all His promises, lest the very saintly patriarch begin to have doubts about God's will when the devil tempts him. For the devil does not cease to harass even the saintliest and most perfect men with his fiery and poisonous darts (cf. Ephesians 6:16). Furthermore, this promise has two parts. The first is temporal. It deals with the possession of these lands. . .. Yet by means of that earlier connection of Abraham himself and the Seed, eternal life and the resurrection are pointed out to believers, namely, that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are the possessors of this land, even though they did not own even a footbreadth. For even though they died, yet they live. Therefore this possession pertains to them, since Abraham is not dead but lives. Furthermore, when God says: To you and to your descendants," it is also pointed out that the descendants would not have possessed the land if the fathers had not received the promise. And in the faith of the fathers the descendants got possession of the land. The second part of the promise is spiritual, and because of this spiritual promise the physical promise was given.
And the LORD appeared to [Isaac) and said . . .
GENESIS 26: 2
It is surely a great thing for God to appear to a human being and to fit His promises to a particular individual. For this reason many consider the saintly fathers far more blessed in this respect than we are, since they had such definite and individual comforts and appearances from God through the ministry of the angels. Someone will say: If He were to appear to me, too, in a human form, what great joy this would bring to my heart! Then I would surely not be reluctant to undergo any peril or misfortunes for God's sake. But this has been denied me. I only hear sermons, read Scripture, and make use of the Sacraments. I have no appearances of angels." I answer: You have no reason to complain that you have been visited less than Abraham or Isaac. You, too, have appearances, and in a way they are stronger, clearer, and more numerous than those they had, provided that you open your eyes and heart and take hold of them. You have Baptism. You have the Sacrament of the Eucharist, where bread and wine are the species, figures, and forms in which and under which God in person speaks and works into your ears, eyes, and heart. Besides, you have the ministry of the Word and teachers through whom God speaks with you. You have the ministry of the Keys, through which He absolves and comforts you. "Fear not," He says, "I am with you." . . . What more will you desire? Everything is full of divine appearances and conversations.