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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

2022.01.25 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 26:12–25

Read Genesis 26:12–25

Questions from the Scripture text: What did Isaac do in Genesis 26:12? How much did he reap? How did this happen? Of what was this the beginning (Genesis 26:13)? To what extent did it continue? What did he have (Genesis 26:14)? How did the Philistines feel about this? What did they do in Genesis 26:15? What did Abimelech say and do to Isaac in Genesis 26:16? Where did Isaac go in Genesis 26:17? What did he do in Genesis 26:18? What else in Genesis 26:19? Who quarreled over these wells (Genesis 26:20)? What does he call the well in response (verse 20)? What does he do in Genesis 26:21? What do they do? What does he call the well in response? What does he do in Genesis 26:22? What does he call this new well? Why? Whom does he recognize as doing what for him? Where does Isaac go in Genesis 26:23? Who appears to him (Genesis 26:24)? When? What does He call Himself? What does He tell Isaac not to do? Why? What does He say that He will do? How does Isaac respond now (Genesis 26:25)? Upon what does he call? What else does he do there? 

Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, and first song all come from Genesis 26:12–25 so that we will see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with Fill Thou My Life, O Lord My God.

What astonishing material fruitfulness! Everything is stacked against Isaac. He’s a livestock farmer, not a crop farmer. He’s used to the hill country, not the lowlands. It’s the middle of a famine. But he reaps one-hundred-fold in the first year! That’s more than enough for himself, and the brisk grain market enables him to purchase flocks, herds, and servants. 

Genesis 26:13 emphasizes the increase of Isaac, literally: “And the man became great, and continuing he continued and became great until he became exceedingly great.” 

But this fruitfulness was not just material; it was spiritual. Just as there’s no other explanation for Isaac’s grain crop, there is also no other explanation for the shift in Isaac’s character.

In the previous passage, the man through whom all the nations of the earth were to be blessed had almost brought guilt upon Gerar. In this passage, he departs peaceably from the city, and interacts exceedingly peaceably with the herdsmen in the countryside.

Isaac now has a huge logistical task on his hands. In Genesis 26:16, Abimelech had complained that Isaac was too numerous. The city and its area couldn’t support both him and the Philistines. So, now he moves into the countryside and finds the old wells stopped up. He’s giving them the old names, but they’re about to get new ones related to the herdsmen claiming one after another of them. 

Isaac needs the water! And, he’s mighty. He could easily take it by force. If he is too great for Gerar city, he is also too great for its herdsmen. But he doesn’t. He is trusting Yahweh (finally!). He keeps digging them and digging them until finally the herdsmen have enough water for themselves (that Isaac has now provided), and one for himself. Rehoboth. “Wide.” 

No longer is Isaac acting out of self-interest, putting his own skin ahead of everyone like he had earlier (even ahead of Rebekah). He acts in great selflessness, great patience, great persistence, great diligence… all out of great faith in the Lord to take care of him. Praise God!

And that’s exactly the point. Praise God. Only He can make land fruitful like Isaac’s crops had been. Only He can make a sinner’s heart and life fruitful like Isaac. Can’t He (and doesn’t He!) do the same for His people today? Whatever your material needs; your Father knows and is abundantly able. Whatever the difficulty of your spiritual challenges; your Father is more than able by His Spirit, and the life and character of His Son, to form and sustain in you great spiritual fruitfulness! 

The Lord then appears to Isaac and repeats His blessing (Genesis 26:24) to which Isaac responds with worship (Genesis 26:25). Just so, when we come to the Lord to worship Him for what He has done for us in Christ, we find Him continuing to declare His blessing to us, even as He receives our worship.

What material needs do you have right now? What spiritually challenging circumstances are you in? Where can fruitfulness come from in the midst of them? How should you respond—before, during and after?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You have made us fruitful despite our inability or the difficulty of our circumstances. Yet, in lean times we have been anxious, and in times of plenty we have been proud. Forgive us such wickedness, and give us eyes to see Your goodness always, so that in want and in plenty we will always worship You, through Jesus Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH534 “Fill Thou My Life, O Lord My God”

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