BECOMING LIKE DAD?
Heavenly Father, Your love never grows old; it is new every day. A song of praise to You rises in my heart.
Read Genesis 26:1–25
Isaac and Abimelek
26 Now there was a famine in the land—besides the previous famine in Abraham’s time—and Isaac went to Abimelek king of the Philistines in Gerar. 2 The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. 3 Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. 4 I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring[a] all nations on earth will be blessed,[b] 5 because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.” 6 So Isaac stayed in Gerar.
7 When the men of that place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” because he was afraid to say, “She is my wife.” He thought, “The men of this place might kill me on account of Rebekah, because she is beautiful.”
8 When Isaac had been there a long time, Abimelek king of the Philistines looked down from a window and saw Isaac caressing his wife Rebekah. 9 So Abimelek summoned Isaac and said, “She is really your wife! Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’?”
Isaac answered him, “Because I thought I might lose my life on account of her.”
10 Then Abimelek said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the men might well have slept with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.”
11 So Abimelek gave orders to all the people: “Anyone who harms this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.”
12 Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the Lord blessed him. 13 The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy. 14 He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him. 15 So all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up, filling them with earth.
16 Then Abimelek said to Isaac, “Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us.”
17 So Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar, where he settled. 18 Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them.
19 Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there. 20 But the herders of Gerar quarreled with those of Isaac and said, “The water is ours!” So he named the well Esek,[c] because they disputed with him. 21 Then they dug another well, but they quarreled over that one also; so he named it Sitnah.[d] 22 He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarreled over it. He named it Rehoboth,[e] saying, “Now the Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land.”
23 From there he went up to Beersheba. 24 That night the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.”
25 Isaac built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord. There he pitched his tent, and there his servants dug a well.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect‘Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever’ (Psalm 106:1, NIV).
Abraham’s and Isaac’s experiences of life share similarities. Indeed, the first and second time the Lord appears to Isaac, it is suggested that the prosperity he enjoys is a result of his father’s obedience (5,24). His experience of blessing is in the present; Abraham’s promise of blessing lay firmly in the future. Isaac has a good harvest (12), is wealthy, and is blessed ‘one hundredfold’, which suggests ‘faithfulness’. He also finds water (17–22,25) and a peaceful settlement with his Philistine co-agriculturalists (22)!
Apart from his attempts not to antagonize Abimelek (7–11), this is a man whose existence is very pleasant, although later there would be family conflict (34,35). At this time though, Isaac recognizes God’s generosity (22). God is ever-present but not significantly in evidence.
Many people experience periods of ‘just getting on with life’ interspersed with tough, more challenging times. For some, because of their personality, background or circumstances, a pleasant existence is what life is always like. For others, life is one long challenge. Which of these experiences best describes your life?
Today, whatever your life circumstances are, make an effort to detect God’s goodness. When you find something, write it down.
Mighty God, I can identify with Isaac as I, too, was born a devout coward. I know what it is like to say the expedient thing rather than the right thing. Forgive me, Lord.
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