Christ’s followers are to be peacemakers
This lesson is about Isaac. Of the three patriarchs, Isaac was the least adventurous, led the most peaceful life, and lived the longest (180 years). At first glance the accomplishments of Isaac do not look impressive when compared to those of Abraham and Jacob. He was an uncomplicated man, a herdsman, farmer, and digger of wells. Isaac lived his whole life in Canaan, and prospered as a peacemaker, living quietly with patient, unfaltering faith in God amid the idolatrous Canaanites. Isaac believed the promises of God made to his father Abraham and to him, and he was determined to guard his spiritually rich inheritance.
GOLDEN TEXT: Mat 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
ISAAC DECEIVES ABIMELECH
A. Isaac Stays in Canaan
Genesis 26:1 And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar.
Gen 26:2 And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:
Gen 26:3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;
Gen 26:4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
Gen 26:5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
Gen 26:6 And Isaac dwelt in Gerar:
Question: when you here the word famine, what comes to mind?
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including war, inflation, crop failure, population imbalance, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. A famine is the deficiency of necessary resources. Now substitute the physical for the Spiritual!
…….What is your response when you come to a Spiritual famine? When you have asked God time and again what now, but hear or feel no response, what is your reaction? When God does give an answer and it’s the one you don’t like, what do you do. Too many people run away at the first sight of conflict or trouble. We as Christians must strive for stability. Isaac, just like his father Abraham obeyed God and was blessed mightily.
God Protects Isaac
Gen 26:7 And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon.
…….”OTS” How do we greet ourselves to others? Do we try to make ourselves look like someone that we truly are not? We should never put on or act like something we are not. Let the love of Christ and our relationship with Him speak for itself and trust that in itself to cause people to accept us. In Isaac’a life right here, it’s the trivial matters. Do you find yourself hung up in the trivial? We’ve got to let Christ not only have the large and what seems most important, but also the minimal and shallow matters.
Gen 26:8 And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife.
Gen 26:9 And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a surety she is thy wife: and how saidst thou, She is my sister? And Isaac said unto him, Because I said, Lest I die for (or because of) her.
Gen 26:10 And Abimelech said, What is this thou hast done unto us? one of the people might lightly have lien with thy wife, and thou shouldest have brought guiltiness upon us.
Gen 26:11 And Abimelech charged all his people, saying, He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.
…….Just as Abraham did on two different occasions, Isaac used means of deception to try keeping himself safe from harm. Thankfully, God thought more highly of Isaac than he did of God.
This goes to show that no matter what status of man you are, anyone is subject to fall. Think about who these patriarchs are, the chosen seed of Christ himself. We are so hard on people at times, while in other times we sweep the heaviest matters under a rug. Let’s put our focus on Jesus Christ Himself and let His passion for others be our passion for others!
CONFLICT OVER WATER RIGHTS
A. Prospered by God
Gen 26:12 Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him.
…….Do we really realize how much an hundredfold is? Every seed that is sown produces 100 times! Obedience to the Lord proves itself beyond what we could ever expect!
Gen 26:13 And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great:
Gen 26:14 For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him.
…….Now remember all this and think, this place was in a famine! God will not only sustain you though the drought, but bless you beyond the excess in the middle of it!
Gen 26:15 For all the wells which his father’s servants had digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped them, and filled them with earth.
Gen 26:16 And Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us; for thou art much mightier than we.
Gen 26:17 And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there.
Gen 26:18 And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them.
…….Isaac from the outside in was a testimony for that land of what a life in relationship with god can do! Just like Abimelech then, others will either accept you for who you are, or not. But either way, God through His vessel gave the chance to come to the realization of who He is, and His vessel came out on the other side blessed beyond measure!
B. Opposed by Men
Gen 26:19 And Isaac’s servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water.
Gen 26:20 And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac’s herdmen, saying, The water is ours: and he called the name of the well Esek (strife); because they strove with him.
Gen 26:21 And they digged another well, and strove for that also: and he called the name of it Sitnah (contention).
…….Now look what happens, after all that the Lord brought Isaac through, reaping him blessings and making for him a great name, they come to another enemy! Many people today would stand there and fight for something that God didn’t intend for them to have in the first place!
Gen 26:22 And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and for that they strove not: and he called the name of it Rehoboth (Now the Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land”; and he said, For now the LORD hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.
Gen 26:23 And he went up from thence to Beersheba.
Gen 26:24 And the LORD appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham’s sake.
Gen 26:25 And he builded an altar there, and called upon the name of the LORD, and pitched his tent there: and there Isaac’s servants digged a well.
…….Every turn in the life of Isaac was, just like Christians today, is a point of example and testimony. Every where he settled, though at times was not very long, he proved that His character was a foreshadow of Christ. No matter where we are in life we should be looking for the peace of God, but God doesn’t give peace through surrounding amenities. His peace is followed by obedience to Him.
Do you want peace? Obey Him. Do you want Spiritual prosperity? Obey Him.
ISAAC MAKES PEACE
Gen 26:26 Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar, and Ahuzzath one of his friends, and Phichol the chief captain of his army.
Gen 26:27 And Isaac said unto them, Wherefore come ye to me, seeing ye hate me, and have sent me away from you?
Gen 26:28 And they said, We saw certainly that the LORD was with thee: and we said, Let there be now an oath betwixt us, even betwixt us and thee, and let us make a covenant with thee;
Gen 26:29 That thou wilt do us no hurt, as we have not touched thee, and as we have done unto thee nothing but good, and have sent thee away in peace: thou art now the blessed of the LORD.
…….Our reaction to others is the testimony of who we really are. When Abimelech asked for Isaac to leave, he didn’t stick around to prove his stature of man, but he respected his authority and packed up. I have made more friends in this life and gained more respect from others by not reacting to what type of day they are having. People are looking for others with consistency, someone who doesn’t change with the tide, and those who aren’t only around in fair weather. May we strive to have this testimony!
Gen 26:30 And he made them a feast, and they did eat and drink.
Gen 26:31 And they rose up betimes in the morning, and sware one to another: and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace.
…….The Philistines didn’t seek peace because of anything Isaac had proved, but simply what God proved through Isaac! God will make us more of a man than we could ever think to make of ourselves! Some people work an entire life, striving to gain the respect and fear of man. God can make of a man on a split second beyond what anyone can accomplish in 10 life’s!
Gen 26:32 And it came to pass the same day, that Isaac’s servants came, and told him concerning the well which they had digged, and said unto him, We have found water.
Gen 26:33 And he called it Shebah: therefore the name of the city is Beersheba (Well of the oath) unto this day.
…….When we make peace in this world, God always blesses! Not even the world can deny that we are the children of God! The Bible says, “When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7)
B. Live Peaceably
Rom 12:17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
Rom 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
…….Even when it is impossible to live peaceably with some men, it is still our duty to strive for it. We are not to take vengeance on others, rendering evil for evil, for vengeance and administration of justice belongs to God. While the Gospel reconciles people to God, and to one another as believers in Christ, the gospel also brings separation between believers and unbelievers. We must not deny Christ and the gospel to be at peace with the world.