Open your bibles to Genesis Chapter 26 and read all 35 verses.
Overview of Chapter: There was famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Phillistines, in Gerar. (This is a different Abimelech than Abraham visited. This “may” have been a dynastic name of Philistine rulers). God told Isaac not to go to Egypt – but to live in the land of Gerar. God told Isaac that if he did as he said he would bless him – like he did Abraham – and because Abraham was so faithful to God by obeying His voice, keeping his commands, statutes and laws that his blessing would pass to this generation and God would keep his covenant to make Abraham’s descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven. Isaac worried about the men in Gerar killing him to get his wife Rebekah, so he lied and said she was his sister. (Sound familiar?) But then Abimelech looked through his window one day and found Isaac giving endearment to Rebekah. (In other words, not acting like brother and sister). He asked Isaac why he would do that? Isaac explained why and Abimelech was upset saying “You could’ve waited so long that one of us may have lain with your wife and then you would have brought guilt on all of us.” So, Abimelech charged all of the people under him saying “If anyone touches his man or his wife they will surely be put to death.”
Isaac sowed in that land and reaped a hundred-fold in the same year. God was blessing all that he put his hand to. This caused envy with the Philistines, and they stopped up all the wells that Abraham had dug in the days of Abraham. They had filled them with dirt. Finally, Abimelech told Isaac to leave because he had grown mightier than they were. Isaac departed from there, and pitched his tent in the Valley of Gerar, and stayed there. Isaac dug again the wells of water that had been dug in the days of Abraham. (The Philistines put dirt in them after Abraham’s death). He called the wells by the same names his father had called them. As he was digging, the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen. the first two wells they dug, the herdsmen of Gerar wanted them saying it was their water. And each time Isaac would give it to them and move on. Finally when he dug the 3rd well, they left him alone and he called that well Rehoboth, saying “For now the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.” After the digging of this well he went to Beersheba, And 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 my servant Abraham’s sake.” So Isaac built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord.
After this Abimelech came to him for a truce. Isaac asked him why? They hated him, sent him away, why are they coming to him now? Abimelech responded that they had seen that Isaac was blessed by the Lord and they wanted a covenant of peace with him. They asked him to honor that because they had not hurt him or Rebekah and had sent them away in peace. Isaac accepted their offer for peace and threw a great feast to celebrate.
This chapter ends oddly with a little tidbit of what Esau had been up to. It says that Esau was 40 years old and took as wives Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and these women were a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah. (In other words, they were drama)
Lessons we learn from this scripture:
- History Lesson: The Philistines in this story would become some of Israel’s fiercest enemies. Philistine means “sea people,” for they were originally one group of a number of migrating sea peoples from the Agean Sea who had settled in Palestine. They arrived by way of Crete and Cyprus and were used as mercenaries by Canaanite rulers. These people, living along the southwest coast, were few but ferocious in battle. Although friendly to Isaac, this small group was the forerunner of the nation that would plague Isarel during the time of Joshua, Judges, and David.
- Isaac was afraid that the men in Gerar would kill him to get to his beautiful wife Rebekah. So he lied, claiming that Rebekah was his sister. Where did he learn that trick? Perhaps he knew of he actions of his father, Abraham (remember in Genesis 12 and 20 where we read about Abraham doing that out of fear for his life over Sarah?). The moral of this story – Parents help shape the worlds future by the way they shape their children’s values. The first step toward helping children live right is for the parents to live right. Your actions are often copied by those closest to you. What kind of example are you setting for your children?
- God kept his promise to bless Isaac. The neighboring Philistines grew jealous because everything Isaac did seemed to go right. So they filled his wells with dirt and tried to get rid of him. 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?
- The desolate Gerar area was located on the edge of the wilderness. Water was as precious as gold. A person who dug a well was staking claim to the land. Some wells had locks to keep thieves from stealing the water. To “stop” or plug up someone else’s well with dirt was an act of war; it was one of the most serious crimes in the land. Isaac had every right to fight back when the Philistines ruined his wells, yet he chose to keep the peace. In the end, the Philistines respected him for his patience. He let God fight his battles and stood on his promises. When someone gets jealous of us and acts out, as much as we want to respond with anger, we must understand the devastating grips of jealousy and instead, be patient and pray for them keeping our peace and walking with God.
- 3 times Isaac and his men dug new wells. When the first two disputes arose, Isaac moved on. Finally room was available for everyone. Rather than start a huge conflict, Isaac compromised for the sake of peace. Would you be willing to forsake an important position or valuable possession to keep peace? Ask God for the wisdom to know when to withdraw and when to stand and fight.
- With his enemies wanting to make a peace treaty, Isaac was quick to respond, turning the occasion into a celebration. We should be just as receptive to those who want to make peace with us. When God’s influence in our lives attracts people – even enemies – we must take the opportunity to reach out to them with God’s love.
- Esau married pagan women, and this upset his parents greatly. Most parents can be a storehouse of good advice, because they have a lifetime of insight into their children’s character. You may not agree with everything your parents say, but at least talk with them and listen carefully. This will help avoid the hard feelings Esau experienced.
Happy Monday! Have a great start to your week!
**Notes taken from Life Application Study Bible