Lectio – Read today’s passage through once. Then spend some time praying and asking God to show you what you need to pay attention to in the text. Read it again. Now ask God to help you see what this text, and the part that has stood out, may mean for you. Don’t expect to get a clear word every time but always be ready to really hear from God through His Word.
For more help use this Bible Study method
Be the Message
by Mary Alice McGinnis
If you are like me, this story in today’s passage is a little unfamiliar. So let me set the stage. Isaac was the son of Abraham - whom God had promised to be the Father of many nations. On Abraham’s death bed, Isaac is declared the child of promise. God declared that He would fulfill His promise to Abraham through Isaac.
After Abraham's death, Isaac was living in the land of Canaan. He was married to his wife Rebecca. Isaac and Rebecca had twins - Jacob and Esau.
At the time of today’s story, the land of Canaan was experiencing a great famine. Let’s say that their “supply chain” had dried up. The basic necessities of food and water were becoming more and more scarce. The need to take care of his family and fear of scarcity drove Isaac to flee. Isaac traveled south to a town called Gerar. The Lord appears to Isaac and tells him not to travel any further south (vs 2-4), “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. 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. 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..." (Genesis 26:2-4) When Isaac settles in Gerar, he and the Philistines are at odds. Isaac is fearful they will take his beautiful wife, Rebecca. The Philistines become jealous of Isaac. They try to sabotage him by filling up all the wells his father, Abraham had dug. Despite these setbacks, Isaac was gaining more and more prosperity and strength. “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.” (Genesis 26:12-13)
Finally, the Philistine King Abimelech, comes to Isaac, and tells him, “Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us.” (Genesis 26:16) Where do you find yourself in this story so far? Is the fear of scarcity driving you to flee to places God has not called you? Is it putting you at odds with those around you? Do you find people mistreating you or trying to sabotage you? Where is God blessing you despite your hardships? Isaac kept listening to God and relying upon His promise, and God continued to bless him. Abimelech could see it. Isaac did not have to flaunt it or preach to the King in any way. It became abundantly obvious to this Philistine King. He comes to Isaac and says, “We see plainly that the Lord has been with you. . . You are now the blessed of the Lord.” Seeing the Lord’s blessing upon Isaac, the King asks him to agree to a treaty between them. What would your response have been in that situation? Why do you think Isaac decides to make a treaty with these pagan Philistines, the very ones who tried to sabotage him? I believe that sometimes, our hardships, our obstacles, even the sabotaging of our enemies is a chance for God to work a powerful message. Sometimes God asks us to tell the message, but other times He asks us to allow our lives to BE THE MESSAGE. The message that God spoke to Abraham, and then to Isaac was, “And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. . .”
Isaac could have retaliated. He could have turned the King away. He could have wielded his power over him. But instead, Isaac remembers God’s calling to be a blessing as he had been blessed.
God’s ultimate richest blessing has been given to us through the incarnation of the Savior, Jesus Christ - the offspring of Abraham and Isaac. We now have a richness that this world cannot ever give. We have a peace that passes all understanding, a solid rock, and firm foundation, and eternal hope. How might God be using your life as a powerful message of His Divine, eternal blessings, the kind of blessings that are abundant and everlasting? Thank you for blessing me, even when life is hard. I know the blessings I have in You are abundant and eternal and can never be taken from me. Help me live my life to be a blessing to others so they may come to know You too.