Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. 4 I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, 5 because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.” 6 So Isaac stayed in Gerar.
Isaac and Abimelek
1Now there was a famine in the land—besides the previous famine in Abraham’s time—and Isaac went to Abimelek king of the Philistines in Gerar. 2The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. 3Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. 4I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspringa all nations on earth will be blessed,b 5because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.” 6So Isaac stayed in Gerar.
7When the men of that place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” because he was afraid to say, “She is my wife.” He thought, “The men of this place might kill me on account of Rebekah, because she is beautiful.”
8When Isaac had been there a long time, Abimelek king of the Philistines looked down from a window and saw Isaac caressing his wife Rebekah. 9So Abimelek summoned Isaac and said, “She is really your wife! Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’?”
Isaac answered him, “Because I thought I might lose my life on account of her.”
10Then Abimelek said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the men might well have slept with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.”
11So Abimelek gave orders to all the people: “Anyone who harms this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.”
12Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the Lord blessed him. 13The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy. 14He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him. 15So all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up, filling them with earth.
16Then Abimelek said to Isaac, “Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us.”
17So Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar, where he settled. 18Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them.
19Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there. 20But the herders of Gerar quarreled with those of Isaac and said, “The water is ours!” So he named the well Esek,c because they disputed with him. 21Then they dug another well, but they quarreled over that one also; so he named it Sitnah.d 22He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarreled over it. He named it Rehoboth,e saying, “Now the Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land.”
23From there he went up to Beersheba. 24That night the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.”
25Isaac built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord. There he pitched his tent, and there his servants dug a well.
26Meanwhile, Abimelek had come to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath his personal adviser and Phicol the commander of his forces. 27Isaac asked them, “Why have you come to me, since you were hostile to me and sent me away?”
28They answered, “We saw clearly that the Lord was with you; so we said, ‘There ought to be a sworn agreement between us’—between us and you. Let us make a treaty with you 29that you will do us no harm, just as we did not harm you but always treated you well and sent you away peacefully. And now you are blessed by the Lord.”
Jacob Takes Esau’s Blessing
a 4 Or seed
b 4 Or and all nations on earth will use the name of your offspring in blessings (see 48:20)
c 20 Esek means dispute.
d 21 Sitnah means opposition.
e 22 Rehoboth means room.
f 33 Shibah can mean oath or seven.
g 33 Beersheba can mean well of the oath and well of seven.
God blessed Isaac’s life, made him wealthy, kept him and his family safe, and eventually blessed the entire world through Isaac’s family line.
So what can we learn from Isaac about being blessed by God?
First, Isaac obeyed God even when it didn’t make sense.
Isaac was a farmer, and farmers typically don’t do well in famine. Yet when famine struck, God told Isaac to stay in the land instead of going to Egypt (where they probably had provisions his family needed).
Isaac could have disobeyed God and taken the easier route of going where food and water were. But instead, he listened to God and planted crops, and the Bible says he “reaped a hundredfold” the same year. It says his wealth continued to grow and he became very wealthy.
God also told Isaac that He would bless him because his father Abraham had obeyed Him. So remember, doing what God says not only affects you, it also has the potential to affect everyone around you, even long after you’re gone.
The second thing we can learn from Isaac is that he honored God with his blessing.
When we hear “honoring God with wealth” I feel like our minds immediately go to tithing. And yes, Isaac did build an altar to the Lord and “called on the name of the Lord”, so in that sense, Isaac did literally gave an offering to God. But I think Isaac honored God with more than just his money. He also honored him by the way he treated people as well.
Think about it – Isaac was very successful at living off the land, and because of his success, the people around him got so jealous that they kicked him off the very land where he was making his living. They even filled his father’s wells up with dirt. These people were bitter, and it was all because Isaac had become “too powerful” for them.
I have to applaud Issac. Most people would have fought back. They would have gotten angry, bitter, and resentful.
But what does Issac do?
He just leaves. He resettles somewhere else and re-digs his father’s wells.
But then, Isaac’s servants are digging wells looking for water in this new place that they’re settling into, and they find water two different times, but both times the herders of the land basically argued with Isaac claiming that the water his servants had found belonged to them.
So what does Issac do?
He just lets them have it and moves on. Not once, but twice.
He could have argued, he could have gotten bitter and resentful that they were taking water that he had found, but he didn’t.
So he moves on and digs a third well, and he just trusts that God will make it flourish.
And that’s when God basically tells him not to worry, and He tells him that he will bless him, then Issac builds the altar to God and calls on the name of the Lord.
So Issac is taking the high road and choosing to trust God, but then the guys that kicked him out of the first place he was at – where he was so successful – for no reason other than jealousy, come and say they want to make a treaty with him.
They wanted to make a treaty with him because they saw that the Lord was with him and they saw how God was blessing him everywhere he went.
So what does Isaac do again?
He forgives these guys, then has a feast for them.
Most people would have ignored these people or told them to leave. After all, they essentially tried to take his success from him out of jealousy. They forced him and his family to move. They caused him to have to start over and give up the work he had already put in.
But Isaac is just as cool as he can be about it.
And the Bible says right after he let them leave peacefully, his servants told him they found water.
So Isaac continually forgave those who wronged him. In doing so, he honored God through his actions, and God kept blessing him.
The moral of the story is this:
First, Isaac obeyed God no matter what. He didn’t compromise, he didn’t try to come up with his own way of doing things. He just trusted God even when it probably made no sense to him.
As a result, God blessed him and brought him through a famine.
And second, when God blessed him, he honored God through his actions and with his wealth.
Proverbs 3:9-10 says:
9Honor the Lord with your wealth,
with the firstfruits of all your crops;
10then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine.
So the question for us is, how are we doing on obeying God and honoring God with what He’s given us?
Are we living life His way? And when He blesses us, are we honoring Him by being living proof that God is good?
People told Isaac that they saw clearly that the Lord was with him. His actions, his attitude, and his gratitude pointed back to God.
I think that’s our ultimate goal in life – to have our lives point people back to God. And according to Isaac’s story, God blesses that kind of life.