August 21, 2022
“He reopened the wells his father had dug, which the Philistines had filled in after Abraham’s death. Isaac also restored the names Abraham had given them.”
Genesis 26:18 NLT
The importance of Water
Essential for life and living. Plants, humans, animals, can’t survive without it.
We as Americans tend to take our water supply for granted. Turning on a faucet and BAM, you have water. Not only running water but a choice of either hot or cold. You don’t have to build a fire and pour your water in a pot and boil it. You don’t have to build a fire and pour your water in a pot and boil it to get impurities out. It comes out fairly clean.
Importance of water in Biblical Days:
During the Biblical days of Abraham, people either lived next to a river or they dug a well. Having a well was a huge deal! Digging a well was more than just providing for your family and livestock and it was stating that you were going to stay in that location for a while. It was essential for cleaning, cooking, and drinking.
Isaac moves into Gerar
Gerar is a Philistine town set in Gen. 26
There was a severe famine in the land so God told Isaac to move to the land of Gerar and live as a foreigner.
The Philistines were Israel’s fiercest enemies at that time. It’s almost like God was saying to Isaac: Move in with your arch enemy..
The Philistines dominated this area. Abimelech was king of the Philistines. God promised to bless Isaac the entire time he was in the land of Gerar.
The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt, but do as I tell you. 3 Live here as a foreigner in this land, and I will be with you and bless you…”
During Isaac’s stay in Gerar, things didn’t go as he expected.
Has this happened to any of you lately? When you obey God…
You received an unexpected report from the doctor for you or a family member?
A job may have just recently been taken out from underneath you. Or you were hoping to get the job, but didn’t get it.
Maybe there’s a fork in the road, such as a hard decision that you have to make that you never thought you’d have to make.
Having to deal with something uncomfortable with your child or teenager…or sometimes both!
An unexpected issue with your spouse that’s painful.
Isaac was forced to move multiple times by the Philistines because they were jealous of Isaac and his blessings according to Abimelech and the Philistines.
The Philistines couldn’t stand another good thing happening to Isaac and his people!
When Isaac planted his crops that year, he harvested a hundred times more grain than he planted, for the LORD blessed him. He acquired so many flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, and servants that the Philistines became jealous of him. 15 So the Philistines filled up all of Isaac’s wells with dirt. These were the wells that had been dug by the servants of his father, Abraham. 16 Finally, Abimelech ordered Isaac to leave the country. “Go somewhere else,” he said, “for you have become too powerful for us.” 17.So Isaac moved away to the Gerar Valley, where he set up their tents and settled down. 18 He reopened the wells his father had dug, which the Philistines had filled in after Abraham’s death. Isaac also restored the names Abraham had given them.
LASB Notes: …Jealousy is a dividing force strong enough to tear apart the mightiest of nations or the closest of friends. It forces you to separate yourself from what you were longing for in the first place. When you find yourself becoming jealous of others, try thanking God for their good fortune. Before striking out in anger, consider what you could lose—a friend, a job, a spouse?
Notice that some of these wells Isaac didn’t even have to dig, they were dug for him from his father, literally an inheritance from his father Abraham. These were wells that the Philistines had previously covered up.
Isaac got a blessing from God with very little labor.
Let’s check ourselves:
How many of you have experienced being blessed by God, and then all of a sudden, for no reason, certain people around you become angry with you or drop out of your life? Could it be that they are jealous of you and the blessings coming in your life?
Or on the other hand, you’ve seen so many people getting blessings around you, that you’ve prayed for years and haven’t seen anything in your own life. You then become jealous of people getting blessed and turn into an “Abimelech/Philistine.”
Point of view of the Philistines:
Probably barely scraping by and these foreigners (Isaac and the Israelite shepherds) are coming in and getting all the livestock, and their crops are yielding 100 times more than they planted, and then they reopen wells that the Philistines had previously filled in. There had to be some legit frustration by the Philistines.
Philistines’ reaction to seeing Isaac being blessed:
They didn’t wage war because Israel had a powerful reputation. Nobody wanted to mess with them. Abimelech just wanted Isaac and his people to get out.
So Isaac did move into the valley of Gerar. He didn’t bother anyone, dug up wells that were his fathers. Then the Philistines would come in and bully Isaac and his people out of his own wells.
Without a water source for Isaac, it would be impossible for Isaac and his livestock to stay there.
Isaac’s reaction to Abimelech and the Philistines
Isaac gathered his stuff, moved to another location and simply dug another well.
The Philistines would come in after he dug a well and would claim it every time and this happened over and over and over.
How would you react to this situation? For me…I’d be cracking some heads! Maybe even take a couple of these Philistines and throw them down in the well and let them sit there for a couple days.
Gen. 26: 19-21
19 Isaac’s servants also dug in the Gerar Valley and discovered a well of fresh water. 20 But then the shepherds from Gerar came and claimed the spring. “This is our water,” they said, and they argued over it with Isaac’s herdsmen. So Isaac named the well Esek (which means “argument”). Isaac’s men then dug another well, but again there was a dispute over it. So Isaac named it Sitnah (which means “hostility”).
Can you relate to Isaac? Everywhere you go when you obey God you get into conflict, opposition, hostility, something unexpected, etc.
You’re probably thinking “God, did I really hear from you?” “Are you really looking out for me?”
Do you find yourself complaining to God or others about your circumstances? You never see this happen here in scripture because Isaac knew that God was with him everywhere he went.
…and I will be with you and bless you…
He did not complain to God, he simply relocated and dug another well.
We need to see our circumstances through the filter of God’s eyes and know that He is in control. He will take care of us even though we don’t see it.
Keep moving, keep digging, and keep obeying Him.
Isaac could have given up and moved out of the land Gerar and found a nice peaceful place out of the will of God where there was no conflict or hardship. Can you relate? Have you been tempted to give up when things got tough?
Naturally, Isaac had options, spiritually he had no option but to obey.
If God has told you to take a certain job or do a certain task, in God’s eyes, there is no other option but obedience.
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.
LASB notes: … We can measure the effectiveness of our Bible study time by the effect it has on our behavior and attitudes..
Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.
Get to digging!
If you don’t know what to do, roll up your sleeves and get to “digging”, there’s work to do in the kingdom of God. Join the Dream Team and become a part of our volunteer force. There are young people that need a spiritual role model in Victory Kids and Victory Youth.. They need a spiritual mother or father in their life.
Whatever God has told you to do, don’t quit just because the circumstances are not what you have expected or are not in your favor.
Keep pushing forward:
Don’t quit digging into God’s word and pursuing His presence even when you feel spiritually dry..
Don’t quit pursuing the dreams God has placed in your heart just because of opposition.
Move when God tells you to move. Stay put when God says stay put.
If you’re doing what God has told you to do, you definitely will face hard times; it’s inevitable. The perfect will of God isn’t always convenient either.
There’s a peace that comes with walking where God has ordained that can not be explained, but only experienced.
This unexplainable peace gives you a chance to grow in your faith.
James 1:3-4 (NLT)
For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
LASB commentary: We can’t really know the depth of our character until we see how we react under pressure. It is easy to be kind to others when everything is going well, but can we still be kind when others are treating us unfairly? God wants to make us mature and complete, not to keep us from all pain. Instead of complaining about our struggles, we should see them as opportunities for growth. Thank God for promising to be with you in rough times. Ask him to help you solve your problems or to give you the strength to endure them. Then be patient. God will not leave you alone with your problems; he will stay close and help you grow.
God’s Promise to Isaac
From there Isaac moved to Beersheba, 24 where the Lord appeared to him on the night of his arrival. “I am the God of your father, Abraham,” he said. “Do not be afraid, for I am with you and will bless you. I will multiply your descendants, and they will become a great nation. I will do this because of my promise to Abraham, my servant.” 25 Then Isaac built an altar there and worshiped the Lord. He set up his camp at that place, and his servants dug another well.
When God has called you to a certain place to settle down, set up camp and start digging. Get involved. Start settling in. If Victory Church is your home…become a part of the Dream Team. Grab a shovel and start digging with us, but don’t hit anyone with it along the way, trust me, you’ll feel like doing it from time to time!
It was very evident to the Philistines and to King Abimelech that everything Isaac put his hands to prospered and flourished.
If we claim to be a Christian, people will start watching our life for evidence or residue of what we claim to be and who we serve.
Also, whenever we’re faced with opposition, people around us also look for our reaction.
Always in a fishbowl: Coworkers, friends, family, kids
Your reaction to difficult situations has so much power! The world is looking for a God that is real and a love that is real!
Gen. 26: 23-25 26
One day King Abimelech came from Gerar with his adviser, Ahuzzath, and also Phicol, his army commander. 27 “Why have you come here?” Isaac asked. “You obviously hate me, since you kicked me off your land.” 28 They replied, “We can plainly see that the Lord is with you. So we want to enter into a sworn treaty with you. Let’s make a covenant. 29 Swear that you will not harm us, just as we have never troubled you. We have always treated you well, and we sent you away from us in peace. And now look how the Lord has blessed you!”
I think we can all see a little of Isaac’s frustration here in this verse: “Why have you come here?” Isaac asked. “You obviously hate me, since you kicked me off your land.”
God outwardly blessing Isaac everywhere he went, along with his attitude when opposition hit, spoke volumes to the Philistines.
They were always watching Isaac and his reaction.
The Philistines didn’t want to get their butts handed to them by the Israelites so they wisely agreed to a peace treaty.
They had no idea that Isaac’s great, great, great……grandson, David, was going to take out their giant (Goliath) years later!
They knew that there was something special about Isaac and his people.
Still Digging: Even when Isaac and his people entered into a covenant and made peace with the Philistines, they still continued to dig.
That very day Isaac’s servants came and told him about a new well they had dug. “We’ve found water!” they exclaimed.
Even when you’ve won the victory or see the light at the end of the tunnel, per say, there are still wells to be uncovered. The work of God’s Kingdom never stops and it’s up to us to keep “digging.”
- Keep moving forward even in the face of opposition.
2 Corinthians 12:10
That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
- Keep striving to listen to the voice of God.
Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left.
- Never stop working where God has called you to work….never stop “digging”! Proverbs 14:23
Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty!
And may the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful!