Tuesday, January 14, 2020

In The Beginning. Day 108, Isaac In Gerar, Part One

Isaac is living in the land of Gerar while there is famine in his hometown. In yesterday's study he deceived Abimelek the king of Gerar by claiming Rebekah was his sister. Abimelek figured out the truth and confronted Isaac with it, but he didn't make Isaac leave his territory out of fear of Isaac's God.

"Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the Lord blessed him." (Genesis 26:12) Isaac messed up pretty badly in the first half of Genesis 26. So why do we find the Lord blessing him so abundantly now? Well, why does the Lord bless any of us so abundantly? We don't deserve it. We mess up someway, somehow, every day of our lives and yet He puts food on our tables and clothes on our backs. God is merciful to us because it's His nature to be merciful. This doesn't mean we can sin freely and expect there to be no consequences, and it doesn't mean we can abuse the grace of God, but does a loving parent withhold food from his child because the child has been kind of bratty that day? No. A parent might take away a privilege or administer some type of consequences for poor behavior, but no normal parent refuses to provide their child's basic needs because the child made a bad choice earlier in the day. Isaac made a bad choice when he told a big lie, but God the Father is still going to feed Isaac and Rebekah and all the servants and animals who depend on them.

"The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy." (Genesis 26:13) Isaac had already inherited the wealth of his father, but then he took that money and invested it back into his agricultural pursuits where it continued to multiply. I believe the Lord rewards honest hard work. I believe He rewards good stewardship. If we are neglectful and wasteful with what we already have, why should He give us more? But if we are thankful for what we already have and if we use it wisely, God can trust us with more.

"He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him. 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." (Genesis 26:14-15) When unbelievers envy the blessings of believers, the best thing they can do is form their own relationship with the God who blesses. And a lot of times that's what happens. Unbelievers see the peace and happiness in the hearts of believers and want those things for themselves, so they turn to the Lord. Other times they just become resentful toward the people of God and want them out of their sight. That's how the Philistines chose to deal with their envy.

Abimelek thinks the best solution is for Isaac to move far enough away from the Philistine herdsmen that he will not be a bother to them. "Then Abimelek said to Isaac, 'Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us.' So Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar, where he settled." (Genesis 26:17)

The Philistines will continue to cause him trouble but the Lord will continue to be with him in tomorrow's study.

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