Genesis 26:1-6 Now there was a famine in the land, besides the previous famine that had occurred in the days of Abraham. So Isaac went to Gerar, to Abimelech king of the Philistines. The LORD appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of which I shall tell you. Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham. I will multiply your descendant as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” So Isaac lived in Gerar.
Do NOT Go Down to Egypt
We enter Genesis 26 seeing that there is once again a famine in the land. Scripture is clear that this is not a recount of the famine of Abraham’s day because it says, “besides the previous famine that had occurred in the days of Abraham.” This is a different, new famine. Isaac knew that his parents had gone to Egypt when famine had previous hit the land, but God is very clear in His instructions to Isaac, “Do NOT go down to Egypt!” The binding of Isaac had marked him a holy man. It had given him the status of a sacrificial animal, and would not have been fitting for him to live in a place that the people were not yet “conscious of God’s presence.” God had already promised this area, this land, to Abraham for his descendants.
Egypt (Mitzrayim) represents constraints; limitations; a level of limited spirituality with severe boundaries holding us back. It teaches us that even in difficult times we still have an inborn relationship with God at a sibling level where the innate love, although not as passionate, is still present and accessible. – PCwG
God essentially is telling Isaac here, “There is no need to go down to Egypt, a place of limitations with a level of limited spirituality. Remain here in the promised land with me. I will be with you here without restraints and limitations and I will bless you. It is your choice, but I want you to reside here with me.”
When things get hard for us, we too have a choice, we can “go down to Egypt” which comes with severe boundaries holding us back from the promises God has given us, or we can choose to “stay here” with God and allow Him to carry us through the famine and bless us.
I believe America, right now, is facing a famine of a spiritual nature. It is sad, because we have multiple churches on every street corner. However, I do not think this means that churches aren’t doing their work. I believe it because the people of the land have a choice, and in their blinded eyes, Egypt “LOOKS” better and “FEELS” better. I believe the churches represent Isaac in this scenario. Churches, will you go down to Egypt with the people, or will you do as Isaac and stay planted firmly, still digging wells in the land, and allow God to bless you?
There is a shift taking place both spiritually and physically. I believe God is bringing things into balance. He is doing a work and has offered us the opportunity to be a part of this work. This work is one that no man will be able to get credit for, only God will receive the glory and honor.
The things that are taking place in America now are necessary. Do not fear them. God is with you. Trust HIM!
She is My Sister
Genesis 26:7-11 When the men of the place asked about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” for he was afraid to say, “my wife,” thinking, “the men of the place might kill me on account of Rebekah, for she is beautiful.” It came about, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out through a window, and saw, and behold, Isaac was caressing his wife Rebekah. Then Abimelech called Isaac and said, “Behold, certainly she is your wife! How then did you say, ‘She is my sister’?” And Isaac said to him, “Because I said, ‘I might die on account of her.” Abimelech said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.” So Abimelech charged all the people, saying, “He who touches this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.”
Just like his father, Isaac was afraid to say that Rebekah was his wife because he thought the men of the land would kill him for her; so he said, “she is my sister.” With Abraham and Sarah in Egypt, Pharaoh immediately had Sarah brought to him; but not so with Isaac and Rebekah here in Gerar. Scripture says, “…when he had been there a long time…” Isaac trusted God in that he did not “go down to Egypt,” but he still had a little fear in the situation, so he said, “she is my sister.” There didn’t seem to be an imminent or immediate threat to harm coming to Rebekah because it was “…when he had been there a long time…” that Abimelech looked out of his window and “saw…,Isaac was caressing his wife Rebekah.” This is not to say that a threat wasn’t present, just that it wasn’t immediate; however, God blessed Isaac, Rebekah, and Abimelech because He allowed the truth to be known when Abimelech looked out of the window.
Realizing the truth, confronting Isaac about saying Rebekah was his sister, Abimelech made a choice; he chose to issue an order of protection for Isaac and Rebekah, stating, “He who touches this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.” How do we react to truth? Do we embrace the truth that God has revealed to us, or do we choose to see it blindly and not really acknowledge it as truth? What consequences come through our choice?
You Reap What You Sow
Genesis 26:12-14 Now Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. And the LORD blessed him, and the man became rich, and continued to grow richer until he became very wealthy; for he had possessions of flocks and herds and a great household, so that the Philistines envied him.
Isaac made a conscious choice to stay in the land as God had instructed. It is through that choice, that obedience, that God was able to bless him abundantly. Remember, God sent Abraham to Egypt, and he was blessed; but God told Isaac to stay put; and now we see that he was richly blessed.
“Go down to Egypt” or “Stay in the land”…what is God calling you to do? Whatever it is that God is calling you to do, he will equip you to do it, and He will bless you for your obedience. Please do not interpret this as a prosperity teaching, because I cannot tell you that God is going to make you rich in worldly possessions as He did Isaac, but I can tell you that He will bless you in the way that He sees fit…in the way that is best for you!
The sages teach that one of the reasons that Isaac became so wealthy was because of his tithes:
12 Isaac sowed grain in that regionandin that year. Being that it was not a particularly fertile area, and it was also a year of famine, he estimated that it would be a small yield. But he nonetheless reaped a hundredfold more than he expected, for God had blessed him. Furthermore, when they then calculated the yield for the purpose of taking tithes, they found that it had miraculously increased a hundredfold again, in the merit of his intention to tithe it, for God had blessed him.26
Isaac had not even paid his tithes yet, God blessed him “…in the merit of his intention to tithe it…” He was blessed because he was planning to tithe. Many times we may say, “Lord, times are so hard I can see no way that I can afford to tithe,” let me tell you, brothers and sisters, we cannot afford NOT to tithe. It is fear and our own reasoning which tells us that we cannot tithe. God will bless us for even considering right thinking (righteousness) and He will make a way where none seems possible!
Wells are Filled in with Earth
Genesis 26:15-17 Now all the wells which his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines stopped up by filling them with earth. Then Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are too powerful for us.” And Isaac departed from there and camped in the called of Gerar, and settled there.
Let’s take a moment and consider what “wells” means in Scripture so we can determine how this can be applied to our life and times.
Ayin = 70 (as in 74):
“The word “ayin” means – eye; to see, and by extension, to understand and obey. It also means “Divine Providence”. The ayin is described as having 2 eyes – the choice of using good or evil to perceive things – optimism or pessimism. Ayin is a silent letter. (No translation of it in English) It sees, but does not speak; representing humility. The name ayin can also mean “eye” or “fountain”, a fountain of wisdom and the ability to perceive wisdom. –PCwG
“Now all the wells…the Philistines stopped up by filling them with earth.”
Earth, from Strong’s Concordance; is used as Strong’s #6083; dust (as powdered or gray); hence, clay, earth, mud:- ashes, dust, earth, ground, mortar, powder, rubbish
#6080: to be gray.
The eyes of the people have been covered. They see neither light nor darkness for it has become gray. Their eyes have become dim to truth. They are walking blindly…the blind leading the blind; but it does not have to be this way! Through prayer and intercession the blind eyes can be opened to the truth staring them in the face!
It does not seem that the Philistines closed the wells to be spiteful, but instead did so to prevent any invading armies from having a supply of water. They did this under the thoughts of self-preservation. Abraham was deceased, Isaac had not been dwelling there, the wells were not in use at the time that the wells were filled. So, I do not want to be too quick to judge the motives of the Philistines here; but I do want to say, when we become complacent, too comfortable, and are not using the tools (wells) God gives us, we open the door for our spiritual eyes to grow dim, and our wells to be filled with earth. We do not fully trust God in our situations but rely on self or place our eyes on another man… maybe a great pastor, evangelist, or teacher. We elevate ourselves and others too high and this results in a spiritual blindness.
“Then Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are too powerful for us.” God had blessed Isaac tremendously, and Abimelech feared that Isaac would take over his kingdom, so he sent Isaac away. This reminds me of when Egypt made the Israelites slaves. The Pharaoh had decided they were too powerful, but rather than send them away, he enslaved them and used them. But Abimelech did not decide to enslave them. His eyes were muddied and when he saw the blessings on Isaac, he didn’t see it as his land was being blessed because of Isaac, instead he feared losing control and sent him away. When we elevate ourselves and others too highly, we cannot maintain our focus on God. We inadvertently send away our blessings and walk in dimness.
I don’t usually talk a lot about politics and such, but I think we can relate this to America’s situation:
- For many years America has been greatly blessed. We were founded as “One nation under God.”
- America has hit very hard times…a famine even, in financial matters with trillions of dollars of debt
- America hit a time of looking to the government for help rather than reaching to God for help. Our trust shifted and we seemed to trust the government more than God.
- We have removed and displaced God in our lives…
Our wells (eyes) have been filled with earth (government help) and blinded us to what God wants to do here. It seems as if the government has been elevated to a level of god, and now, there is an outcry…we are feeling the birthing pains and do not like it! But do not lose hope, for God’s hand is still here!
Quarrel over the Wells; Choose Your Battles Wisely
Genesis 26:18-25 Then Isaac dug again the wells of water which had been dug in the days of his father Abraham, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham; and he gave them the same names which his father had given them. But when Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and found there a well flowing water, the herdsmen of Gerar quarrelled with the herdsman of Isaac, saying, “The water is ours!” So, he named the well Esek, because they contended with him. Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over it too, so he named it Sitnah. He moved away from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it; so he named it Rehoboth, for he said, “At last the LORD has made room for us, and we will be fruitful in the land. Then he went up from there to Beersheba. The LORD appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you, and multiply your descendants, for the sake of My servant Abraham.” So he built an altar there and called upon the name of the LORD, and pitched his tent there; and there Isaac’s servants dug a well.
Abimelech had told Isaac to move, so he did. Once Isaac moved, he had his men re-open the wells that Abraham had established. When he did that the herdsmen of Gerar laid claim to the wells. Isaac’s men had done the work of digging, yet the herdsmen of Gerar wanted to reap the benefits of that work. Isaac said, “Come on men…that’s fine. Let them have these wells. They can have this well, Esek (contention). It is not for us to live in chaos. We live in the way of the LORD.” So, Isaac moved on. He re-opened another of his father’s wells, and these herdsmen once again laid claim to it. So again, Isaac tells his herdsmen, “Come, let us move on. We will not dwell with men of Sitnah (harassment). Let them have it. It’s OK. God will provide room for us…don’t lose faith. TRUST God!” So Isaac left again. The third time Isaac’s men dug a well, there was no quarrel, so he named it Rehoboth, “for he said, ‘At lats the LORD has made room for us, and we will be fruitful in the land.”
Some things just aren’t worth fighting over. It’s their choice. Let them have what they want and trust God! He will “make room for us,” all we have to do is trust Him and live righteously before Him! God brought Isaac comfort. “Do not fear, for I am with you!” Yes, times here in America and many other nations look troubling. There are wars and rumors of war. There is an unsettling here. Many feel as if they are being tossed to and fro in troubling waters, but says, “Do not fear, for I am with you!”
We See Plainly
Genesis 26:26-33 Then Abimelech came to him from Gerar with his adviser Ahuzzath and Phicol the commander of his army. Isaac said to them, “Why have you come to me, since you hate me and have sent me away from you?” They said, “We see plainly that the LORD has been with you; so we said, ‘Let there now be an oath between us, even between you and us, and let us make a covenant with you, that you will do us no harm, just as we have not touched you and have done to you nothing but good and have sent you away in peace. You are now the blessed of the LORD.'” Then he made them a feast, and they ate and drank. In the morning they arose early and exchanged oaths; then Isaac sent them away and they departed from him in peace. now it came about the same day, that Isaac’s servants came in and told him about the well which they had dug, and said to him, “We have found water.”
Abimelech came to Isaac with two witnesses:
- Ahuzzath, his adviser; whose name means possession.
- Phichol, the commander of his army; whose name means mouth of all.
With these witnesses, Abimelech answers Isaac’s question. Isaac had asked, ” Why have you come to me, since you hate me and have sent me away from you?” Abimelech says (paraphrasing), “Look, our eyes have been opened. You opened those closed wells, you know, the ones filled with earth which had blinded us, and now we can see plainly, clearly! God is blessing you in supernatural ways! Please remember that when we sent you away, we didn’t bring harm to you or any with you. We sent you away peaceably, so please have mercy on us and do no harm to us just as we didn’t do harm to you. Let’s make this oath, for we can see that You are now the blessed of the LORD.”
Isaac chose to join into this agreement with them. He wasn’t vengeful over being sent away; he did not show anger over the quarrel about the wells. He showed them mercy and forgiveness of the wrongs they had done to them. He realized they were spiritually blind at the time of those events! He was not disrespectful to them or the offices they held.
Learning from Isaac, let us not be vengeful or hateful towards our government. Their eyes are muddied and they cannot see spiritual things. Show their office respect. Respect their positions. This doesn’t mean that you have to agree with what they are doing, it just means you are choosing to walk in the way of the LORD. Stand FOR something, not AGAINST it. “You have to stand for something or you will fall for anything!” Our leaders represent possession and mouth of all…but God can open their eyes to the spiritual things. He can remove the mud and rubbish from them, just as He did with Abimelech and his adviser and commander of his army. Do not quarrel with them as the Philistine herdsmen did with Isaac’s herdsman. Let them have their way. We do not have to fear because God said, “Fear not, I am with you.” We do not have to quarrel, Isaac didn’t. We have a choice in how we react to things. Choose to react in a godly manner. He will bless you. The president or congress, the government as a whole, may “think” they are in control, but God is in control. Our job is not to fight against them, but to invite God to dwell in our land! Welcome Him here and He will “make room for us.”
On the same day that Isaac entered this covenant with Abimelech, his servants came and told him that they found water. God blessed them based on the choices Isaac made.
34 In the year 2148, when Esau was forty years old, he recalled that his father had married at that same age. Therefore, in filial emulation of his father’s conduct, he also married. Despite having seduced married women and ravished them over the course of the preceding twenty-five years in flagrant disregard of his father’s morals, he did not consider this affectation the least bit hypocritical. Esau married two women: the first was named Oholivamah the daughter of Anah,31 but Esau nicknamed her Judith [Yehudit—”a woman who acknowledges (that idolatry is false)”] in order to trick Isaac into thinking that she was righteous. In order to hide the fact that she was illegitimate (since she was actually the daughter of Anah’s wife by Anah’s father32), Esau called her the daughter of Be’eri [“My well”], implying that her father had engaged in digging wells for the advancement of civilization, just as Isaac had. Esau called her father the Hittite rather than the Hivite, because he wanted Isaac to think that she was a local girl.33 The second was named Adah, daughter of Elon; people nicknamed her Basmat [“spice woman”] daughter of Elon the Hittite because she regularly burned incense-offerings to idols. Esau did not change her nickname; he simply lied to Isaac and said that she was so named because her deeds were as morally pleasing as the fragrance of spices is physically pleasing.34
35 These wives were spiritually rebellious toward Isaac and Rebecca and caused them great anguish for, among other things, they unabashedly served idols. – The Lubavitcher Rebbe
Esau married when he was 40 years old because he remembered his father had married at that age. He did not choose the righteous path his father has chosen, but thought that by marrying at this age it would appear he is following his in father’s footsteps. The wives that he chose were spiritually rebellious toward Isaac and Rebekah. Let us be careful that we do not follow in Esau’s footsteps. Let not our eyes be fixed on men and their problems or answers, but remain focused on God! Let us not “change our name” as a means of tricking others to think we are righteous, or think our deeds are morally pleasing to God. Let us always walk in righteousness as Isaac and Rebekah. Let us not grieve Holy Spirit, but welcome Him into our tents. May we not become “out-of-order” as Esau but stand for
Hebrews 7:25 He is able, once and forever, to save everyone who comes to God through Him. He lives forever to plead with God on their behalf.
Blessed are You, LORD, God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. Thank you for sharing this account of the wells with us. Thank you for showing us that this is comparable to today’s events and that we have a choice. We can choose to quarrel or not. We can choose to show respect to the leaders or not. The choices are ours to make. Thank you for showing us that if we choose righteousness we will be blessed. I now interceded on behalf of our government. Lord, their wells have been filled with earth. They “think” they are protecting us from harm, yet, they are pushing you out for they cannot see the spiritual things. I ask you now, OPEN THEIR EYES! RE-dig their wells. Allow them to SEE YOUR TRUTH! Bless us, Lord, as we welcome you into our land. Make room for us as you made room for Isaac. Fill our wells with water as we choose to forgive our leaders, respect our leaders, look at them with compassion for their blindness. Heal our land, O God, in a way that no one but YOU can receive the glory! In Jesus name. Amen!