One chapter in the Bible, Genesis 26, totally devoted to the middle patriarch of Israel: Isaac. Why so little attention? Why so many similarities between Abraham and Isaac but so great difference in details? When he repeats the same sin (deception) of his own father, Abraham, why did God not respond more forcefully? While I have some theories on the previous ponderings, I am becoming convinced on the reason for this last question. Deception is sin, and God hates the lying tongue (cf. Proverbs 6:17). But lying here was a symptomatic sin and not the root sin. God did not smash the red warning light (deception) because He was concerned about getting to the root of the problem. The root sin, as I perceive it, was unbelief or lack of faith. In each case of deception, Abraham and Isaac lied out of fear (cf. 12:11-13; 20:11; 26:7). This fear was the product of an inadequate concept of God. They did not grasp the sovereignty or the omnipotence of God in such a way as to believe that God could protect them under any and every circumstance. Having solved the problem of too little faith, the sin of deception will not be an issue any longer. “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.”
It is my personal opinion that we sometimes become preoccupied with “symptom sins,” rushing about trying, as someone used to say to me: “to stomp them like roaches.” While sin should always be taken seriously, many of our sins will be dealt with by an adequate conception of who God really is. The fundamental sin is that of unbelief, not only for those who are unsaved but also for those who are truly saved. It came to a personal crisis of belief for Isaac, and it must for us as well. Do you believe?