Monday, May 23, 2011

Genesis 26:10-22

Then Abimelech 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.” (Gen 26:10)

After rereading this morning about Isaac repeating the exact deception that Abraham had used, I wondered if Isaac had a big “Aha!” moment when Abimelech chastised him for nearly bringing ruin on his people, just as Abraham had done with Abimelech’s father. I wonder if Isaac thought to himself, “Oh no! I’ve become my father!”

Have you ever thought that? One of the things that I want to talk about this morning is that while we certainly need to guard against repeating the sins of our parents, we also need to learn to reject the specific sins, without rejecting the person. We can become so angry with some of the failures of our parents, that we become blind to the good traits that we would want to inherit, and inevitably we will fall back on those very traits we despise! There are surely many good traits we can find in our parents that we want to emulate. And in today’s passage, we’ll see Isaac moving beyond the negative to capitalize on the blessings of Abraham.

So Abimelech gave orders to all the people: “Anyone who harms this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.”

Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the LORD blessed him. The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy. He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him. (vs. 11-14)

I find it astounding that Abimelech, the pagan, is so fair with Isaac. He orders his people to leave Isaac in peace. I’m certain Isaac was humbled by this experience, for the LORD blessed him in the same way He had blessed Abraham: he became so wealthy that those around him took notice and even envied him - to the point that Abimelech asks him to move away.

So Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar, where he settled. Isaac 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. (vs. 17-18)

Isaac didn’t argue with Abimelech, but humbly obeyed his request. And then we see Isaac reopening the wells of blessing that his father had used. Now that’s the right thing to do! Unfortunately, the herdsmen around him did not like that idea, so they hassled Isaac, stopping up wells. Each time that happened, instead of demanding his rights to the water, Isaac quietly moved on until he finally came to a spot where they left him alone, according to verse 22:

He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarreled over it. He named it Rehoboth saying, “Now the LORD has given us room and we will flourish in the land.

Do you remember what Abraham had done when his herdsmen quarreled with Lot’s herdsmen over the land in chapter 13? He let Lot choose first which land he would take. Here Isaac is showing that same generosity and humility of his father, which is a by product of the faith he had also inherited from his father. He was trusting God to bring them to a land of blessing and provision. He knew that if he would just let go of what he had, God would give him so much more. This is such an important principle of the Bible - letting go instead of clinging to worldly possessions- losing to gain. This was something great that Abraham had modeled over and over to his son. And to make sure that Isaac didn’t miss this quality of his father, we’ll see tomorrow that God confirms it to Isaac.

If you have been hurt or angered by the failures of your parents - maybe nearly destroyed by some big sins in their lives - don’t hang on to that hurt. Give it up to God and ask Him to heal you. Then acknowledge something good that your parent passed on and focus on that! Unfortunately, we all seem to hand off some kind of baggage. In speaking of what she and her husband passed down to her girls, Beth Moore writes, “If we managed not to pass down an oversized suitcase, we at least handed them a carry-on.” That cracks me up! Sorry, Molly and Emmy! I know your father and I have given you enough that you would have trouble getting it into the overhead bin on a plane!


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