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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

2018.07.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 26:12-35

Questions for Littles: How much did Isaac reap during the famine (v12)? What point does v13 triple-make? What point does v14 triple-more-make? What had the Philistines done to Abraham’s wells (v15)? And what did Abimelech say to Isaac in v16? So, what did Isaac go around doing in v17-18? What did the Philistine shepherds of Gerar keep doing with these wells in vv19-21? What did Isaac say that the Lord had finally done for him in v22? When he went to Beersheba (v23), who appeared to him, and what did He say (v24)? How did Isaac respond (v25)? Then, who came and talked to him (v26)? And what does Isaac ask him (v27)? What kind of people do they all of a sudden sound like in vv28-30? How do they claim to have treated Isaac? Is this true? But what does Isaac do for/with them anyway in v30-31? When they leave, who immediately arrive, and with what news (v32)? What familiar name does Isaac give it (v33)? What becomes a source of grief in v34-35? 
In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, we find the Lord’s abundant blessing upon Isaac in many ways.

First, though Isaac was a wandering shepherd, all of a sudden he’s the best crop farmer there’s ever been—one hundredfold yield in the midst of a famine. And God prospers, prospers, prospers him with possessions, possessions, possessions. It is obvious that he is materially blessed.

But, second, Isaac is spiritually blessed. Though Isaac is mistreated, God gives him grace to be persistent. One well, after another, which are rightly his, get claimed by the Philistines. But the Lord hasn’t given him the land yet, and he has a promise from God to be taken care of in the famine. So, he just keeps moving on and trusting God—hearty faith in God’s Word enables him to be a peace-loving neighbor.

This spiritual blessing also presents itself in a more immediate way in the Lord’s appearance to him, giving strong reassurance in v24 that reinforces the great covenant promises of vv3-4. For Isaac’s part, the Word of God is even more important than a well of water. Amazingly, he stays in Beersheba, not Rehoboth, even before the well there is reopened.

Again, confidence in God’s promises to him enables him to deal kindly with the politically maneuvering Philistines—Abimelech trying to trade upon his kindness in the Rebekah incident and pretend that he has no control over the shepherds outside Gerar. But Isaac makes peace with them anyway. Let them have their land for now. After all, that guarantees the land to him, since God has promised to him their lands.

The main point here is still looking forward to Christ—the heir of all things who came first as a man of gentleness and peace… the very One who is promised here, and for whose sake Isaac is preserved.

But there is also an example for us, isn’t there? You have been promised that you will inherit the new heavens and new earth with Christ. It is all yours. This enables you to live wisely, stewarding whatever the Lord gives you now for the service of Christ, and (as far as possible) living at peace with all men!

Finally, however, note that there will be hard times. With so many mouths to feed (and water), surely the business about the wells was a great stressor upon Isaac. And who can place a value on the grief of Esau’s marriage choice(es!)? Thankfully, Christ did indeed come, and He has secured for us the promised inheritance. Let us live by faith in Him!
Who is mistreating you right now? How does faith in Christ enable you to react?
Suggested songs: ARP23B “The LORD’s My Shepherd” or TPH474 “If Thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee”

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