|Why is it that kids can push your buttons? Sometimes I think I react instead of act. Yesterday I apologized to my middle child for spouting off words in frustration, doesn’t matter that he was first out of line. I was talking with a friend today and we were discussing how easy it is to be objective with people outside of your family, but the ones close to us really can cut us to the quick. I also think that satan looks for opportunity to put monkey wrenches in our lives so that we are less effective. I keep praying that God will direct me more, and my flesh less. I could use prayer for that. Pastor Don assures me that when my kids grow up they will be thankful that I was demanding of them for their own good. Right now I just walk through life as the hated one.
Speaking of kids, Genesis 26 is going to sound a bit familiar – reminds me of the saying, “Like Father, Like Son.” And we will see that Isaac watched what Abraham did and repeats it. We will start with Abimelech, that king of the Philistines that Abraham spent some time with, and lied about Sarah being his sister. Let’s see what Isaac does.
There was a famine in the land, and verse 1 tells us it is like the one in the days of Abraham. Isaac goes to Abimelech in Gerar (same place that Abraham went).
The Lord appears to Isaac and says, verse 2 “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven, I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed 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.”
What a wonderful promise. God reaffirms the promise that He made with Abraham, but mentions only the stars of the heaven this time. I don’t know why He didn’t mention the sands of the seas. But how incredible that God will be with him and bless him. And in his seed (again singular seed) will all the nations of the earth be blessed. This promise has been being passed down from Eve to Noah, to Abraham, and now to Isaac. We will see in the genealogy of Jesus that this is the same seed that God is talking about. And the reason for the blessing is because Abraham OBEYED, Gods voice, commandments, statutes, laws, and his charge. How awesome obedience is, most think obedience is restriction, they don’t realize the blessings that come from obeying.
Isaac listens to God and stays in Gerar instead of going to Egypt (which is a type of the flesh). Gerar means a lodging place – not a permanent residence. We will see that God will also move Isaac.
Tell me if this doesn’t sound familiar? The men of the place ask about Rebekah (Isaac’s wife). Guess what he tells them—she is my sister. He was afraid to say that she was his wife for fear that they would kill him over her because of her beauty. I guess Isaac was watching and observing his father’s actions.
I think there is a good warning in this, because our children not only listen to what we say, but they watch what we do, they imitate us, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I pray that my kids focus more on the good.
But, as with Abraham, the lie is soon discovered by guess who, Abimelech, who sees Isaac and Rebekah interacting. Abimelech again reprimands for the lie, only this time it is Isaac who is reprimanded. The king tells his people not to touch him or his wife.
Verse 12-14 “Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the LORD blessed him. The man began to prosper and continued prospering until he became very prosperous; for he had possessions of flocks and possessions of herds and a great number of servants. So the Philistines envied him.”
Even though he lied, God still prospered Isaac, keeping His promise to Abraham and blessing him. We can see that God’s blessings are not dependant on our actions, they are dependant on God’s sovereignty. Now the passage implies that he sowed seed in the land and reaped a harvest, but I want to suggest that he also sowed something else. He sowed a bad example of not telling the truth about his wife. Now remember that Isaac has two children, and we will see that they too observe their father and his actions. That is what is meant about the sins of the fathers are visited on their children to the third generation. Kids imitate what they see.
We have a wonderful and blessed opportunity to change when we accept Christ into our lives. We do not have to keep repeating the mistakes of our parents, we can become new creatures in Christ, and show our children how to become new creations in Christ. We can break the patterns and the bondage of sin. We do not have to be tied to the past, liberty is a blessed gift of Christ.
Beth Moore also says something about this that I can really relate to. She says on page 115 “Don’t misunderstand me to say that second-generations sins are the fault of first generation sinners. Ezekiel 18 clearly teaches that each person is responsible for his or her own sins. My point is that we must guard against repeating the same mistakes our parents made.”
Before I got saved I spoke with Pastor Don and told him truthfully the mistakes and sins I had committed in my past. Many of them had logical reasoning behind them, at least I thought they were logical at the time. (my testimony) I think my worst sin was the abortion I had, and my reasoning was I was still so messed up by what my parents did that I was afraid of passing on their behavior to the child, so better not to be a parent. This sin was the one that finally broke me and made me realize I really needed a savior, when I realized that abortion was murder. I was crushed, and God used that sin to pull me to Him. But the one lesson I learned was that no matter what actions I did, who I blamed them on, and what my parents did to me, the truth of the matter is I MADE THE DECISION TO SIN OR NOT SIN. I could look back at the trail of what I did and see the “logic” of the decision, but the decision was mine. Every now and then I read the testimony of someone who had a bad life and they chose to love, forgive, and not sin. I still at times feel so badly that I made so many poor choices. But fortunately God has forgiven me, and these are not choices that I would choose to make today. I have changed, I have repented, and I am forgiven. But I also hope not to give my children any bad patterns to copy, I want them to grow up loving God, and making sound choices.
We will also see this pattern in the Old Testament, God blessing the Israelites and those gentile nations envying the blessing. Here the Philistines (Who will become an enemy of Israel are now envying Isaac’s prosperity).
Abraham had dug some wells in the area. In a desert land, wells were essential. They were more precious at times than gold or silver, for life depended on the wells. In the Bible many important encounters occurred at wells, Hagar, Abraham, Rebekka and Isaac, and in Jesus’ day, the woman at the well. Wells represent water, and water is the Word of God, and the Spirit of God poured out onto the earth. In Revelation we will see streams of living water coming out from the throne of God. So wells have an important meaning in Biblical terms.
Here we find that the Philistines had filled in the wells that Abraham had dug with earth. After Abimelech send Isaac away, he goes and pitches his tent in the Valley of Gerar and dwelt there. He digs the wells of water that his father had dug, and called the wells by the names which his father had called them. Isaac’s servants also dug a well and found running water. This became a bone of contention with the herdsmen of Gerar, and Issac called the well Esek which means contention. Then they dug another well, and there were quarrels over that, so the well was named Sitnah (hatred). And they dig another well with no quarrel, so they called the name of the well Rehoboth for God made room for us and fruitful in the land.
Then Isaac goes to Beersheba.Genesis 21 is the first place Beersheba is mentioned, where God met with Hagar.Beersheba is a wilderness, and it is where God gave her water, so that she and Ishmael would not die.
All I can say is “Well, well, well.” (Sorry, couldn’t resist that). But what is with this listing of wells. They did not have modern well-digging equipment so wells were dug by hand, and required much work, and direction from God to find the hidden water. It requires digging. Beth Moore on page 116 says, “Few of us have parents who dug literal wells, so let’s think in conceptual terms…..We want to unstop any well of blessing from which we were meant to draw and drink. The well of refreshment and blessing that should pass from parent to child can be stopped up by either party or by the enemy. A few examples of well stoppers are feelings of unworthiness, distance, disrespect or difference. An adult child stops up a well every time she throws out the positive inheritance with the negative. We can decide that any area of inauthenticity means every area is inauthentic and a fall automatically constitutes a fraud. When we throw out both our positive and negative inheritance, our attitude loudly proclaims, “I want nothing from you, and I want to be nothing like you!” Nothing is a big word.”
Ouch, I have said similar words, words like, “I would rather die than become like my parents. I would rather go to hell if my parents are in heaven….” And many more such phrases. I am still stuck working in this area in my life. I have found places were God was in my childhood, and I have forgiven my parents, but I still haven’t been able to find much good about them. I still hurt, and I am sorry to say often I still treat God as if he were an abusive parent. There is still areas that are raw with hurt. Yet, I am seeing more of God’s love than before.
Beth says on page 117 “Beloved, God is God—-holy, wonderful, and merciful—-even if someone who held Him up as an example to us didn’t reflect His character. Don’t confuse God with man! However, when man has something of God to offer, receive it even when the flesh-and-blood channel of blessing is imperfect. Goodness knows, Isaac’s father was flawed, but he had a faith Isaac would be wise and blessed to emulate. Spiritual lineage is one of the most precious gifts God offers. He wants nothing more than to reveal Himself to a second generation as the God of the first. Dear One, will we pass down a heritage of faith?”
God seems to visit Isaac a lot. Makes me wonder. Pastor Don says that sometimes when God is silent it is because you are doing His will, and when He speaks often it is because He needs to get your attention. Silence is not always a bad thing. Isaac seems to struggle a bit. He seems to need more reassuring than even Abraham had. God comes and repeats the same promise that God will bless Isaac for Abraham’s sake. Verse 24.
Isaac learned a good thing from his father. After God repeated his promise, Isaac built an altar on that spot, and called on the name of the LORD, and guess what they did, they dug a well.
Well (sorry), Abimelech (remember him who told Isaac to leave the land) came with two of his military captains – Ahuzzath (possession) and Phichol (strong). Isaac asks them why they have come since they hated him and sent him away. The three visitors state that they have seen that God is with Isaac, and now they want to cut a covenant with him that Isaac will do no harm to them because they have not touched him or done anything but good to them.
Isaac made them a feast and they ate and drank, then early in the morning they swore an oath. (Oh Isaac, I don’t see any reference to you asking God about this oath, Remember that Goliath was a Philistine, and you have sworn peace with these people – again another example of how negative reactions are far reaching for a simple action if God is not consulted first).
But even so, then Isaac’s servants come to report that they have dug a well there and found water. They will call the well Shebah (Well of the oath), and the name of the city – Beersheba is called that because of the well.
Remember Esau – the porridge eater, the one who sold his birthright, who thought little of what Isaac could offer him. He is going to now wed, and his brides (not singular, but plural) of choice are ones that do not honor what God has told his parents. He will marry Judith, the daughter of Beeri the Hittite (Another tribe that will bring trouble to Israel), and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite. Verse 35 tells us “And they were a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah.”
Judith means Jewess or Praised. Basemath means spice or sweet fragrance. Elon means terebinth or mighty.
Soon we are going to see deception used, deception that was not necessary. Seems that we make a lot of unnecessary moves, when we try to help God keep His promises to us. We make God little when we don’t trust Him to keep His Word. I have at times doubted if God would come through on a promise. It seems that doubt is one of the biggest weapons satan has to try and keep us from being blessed.
I hope you have a blessed Sunday.
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