Tuesday, November 01, 2022

2022.11.01 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 26:12–22

Read Genesis 26:12–22

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 do material and spiritual fruitfulness come from? Genesis 26:12–22 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these eleven verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the Lord from Whom every material blessing comes is the Lord from Whom the greater spiritual blessings come as well.  

Although Isaac had given much evidence of his remaining sin, the Lord was merciful and faithful to prosper him both materially and spiritually.

We’re usually less keen to see spiritual fruitfulness, so the Holy Spirit sharpens our vision by how extraordinary is the material fruitfulness. When Jesus teaches the parable of the soils, “a hundredfold” represents maximum-imaginable-fruitfulness (cf. Matthew 13:8). 

Notable material blessing, notably from the Lord. This would be a remarkable crop by anyone and at any time. But it isn’t by anyone; it’s by a man who up until that time had focused primarily upon livestock. And it isn’t any time; it’s in the midst of a famine (cf. Genesis 26:1). 

This is, apparently, how these crops went far beyond feeding his clan and his herds and flocks, to enabling him to procure the great wealth described in Genesis 26:13-14. Considering that wealthy Abraham (Genesis 24:35) had left Isaac all that he had (Genesis 24:36, Genesis 25:5), the fact that this crop-during-famine takes Isaac to an even greater level of prosperity tells us that he is now extremely wealthy indeed!

Notable spiritual blessing, notably from the Lord. Thus, by Isaac’s material fruitfulness, we are enabled to see the greatness of the spiritual fruit as well. 

He is content to walk by faith in the steps of his father, Abraham (cf. Genesis 26:18). And, surely his water needs were very great during this famine. 

He is peaceable and generous, even with neighbors who hate him (cf. Genesis 26:27). At great cost to himself, he gave up well after well that he had dug again. If he was too mighty for Gerar itself (Genesis 26:16), certainly he was too mighty for its herdsmen (Genesis 26:20), and could have retained the wells by force.

But we see what enabled him to value and pursue peace so much—he trusted that it was Yahweh who was making room for him, Genesis 26:22. What a turnaround from the lack of faith that led to fear that led to lying that brought an entire nation under the threat of God, in Genesis 26:6-10

Just as with the crop fields, there is only one valid explanation for the spiritual fruitfulness: undeserved grace from God! 

For us as well, all of our material fruitfulness comes by grace and mercy. 

For us as well, all of our spiritual fruitfulness comes by grace and mercy.

What troubles/attacks are you under? What life-long experience since the womb does this continue? What habits and practices in your life show a right response? How long should this continue?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You have given us all our material blessing: home, food, water, clothing, safety, and community are all good and perfect gifts which come down from You, our Father of lights. And even more, You have given us whatever spiritual blessings we have: if faith, contentment, being peaceable, generous, diligent, forgiving—it all comes from You. Now give us the blessing of hearts that do not wander from You, but which rejoice over You. Make us to look to You for every blessing, binding our hearts to You, and tuning our hearts to sing Your grace in Christ, in Whose Name we ask it, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP65B “The Far and Distant Peoples” or TPH429 “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”

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