Genesis 26 sums up much about the life of Isaac, the patriarch with the least narrative devoted to him.  At first read it seems a repeat of many of the events in Abraham’s life in Genesis 20 and 21, however there are differences, however minute, and those differences are important.

It is a chapter about coming to God in our own way, not merely rediscovering the faith of our father.  Although surprisingly little is written about Isaac, we can glean much about who he is on a personal level from his actions and reactions, and his dealings with others.  He appears to be a fairly quiet man, yet seems to want to live vicariously through his burly soon Esau.  He trusts more in his senses than his intuition.  He is more of a peacemaker than his father Abraham, yet he is naive.

Most scholars believe that Isaac is essentially the generational link between Abraham and Jacob, and as such his primary role is to establish himself in Canaan, and keep the tradition of the faith intact.  I would take this a step further, that God was refining the line of Abraham until all the necessary qualities would be in place for the man to be born who would become Israel.