Genesis 26:1-4,6-7,12-17 Now there was a famine in the land, besides the previous famine that had occurred in the days of Abraham. So Isaac went to Gerar, to Abimelech king of the Philistines. The LORD appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of which I shall tell you. “Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham… So Isaac lived in Gerar. When the men of the place asked about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” for he was afraid to say, “my wife,” thinking, “the men of the place might kill me on account of Rebekah, for she is beautiful”… Now Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. And the LORD blessed him, and the man became rich, and continued to grow richer until he became very wealthy; for he had possessions of flocks and herds and a great household, so that the Philistines envied him. Now all the wells which his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines stopped up by filling them with earth. Then Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are too powerful for us.” And Isaac departed from there and camped in the valley of Gerar, and settled there.

Today’s chapter has a lot more than just the few verses I’ve selected and I sometimes wonder if we should draw more from it but there will be a time for that in the future. After Abraham and Sarah’s journey, we are now journeying with Isaac, Rebekah, Esau and Jacob.

Amazing how true the statement is that the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree! Isaac says to the Philistines the very same thing his father Abraham said to them that their wives were their sisters.

They were operating in fear instead of in faith and it is only by God’s grace that they were spared. We read later that Abimelech discovers the truth, is angry again, and prohibits anyone in the land from touching Rebekah.

Because Isaac does not go down to Egypt but stays in the land God promised to bless him in, he is now blessed with abundance of everything, so much so that Abimelech requests him to leave the land and Isaac then moves to the valley of Gerar and settles there.

As we read this passage, we can see the pain of lying, the fruit of obedience and the nature of God. What probably surprises us is why God permits suffering in our lives when we willingly follow Him?

In Genesis 25, we note that Rebekah is barren and only through prayer does God bless them with twins. Today we see that Isaac was troubled by the famine and had to move to find pasture for his herds and shelter for his family.

He is forced to live among people who are sinful and wicked in their ways and when he prospers he is forced to move home again to avoid conflict. What is God saying to us through all this suffering?

Clearly in Isaac’s life, God shows us that He rewards obedience but we also can see that the suffering in Isaac’s life became a blessing and testimony to the people around. Later, Abimelech and his generals come to Isaac to draw a treaty to live in peace because they witness God’s hand upon Isaac.

When we move from living in the moment to living in the eternity of God’s will, we stop fretting about our difficult situations and begin to focus our attention on God’s amazing love and our problems fade away.

When in the boat rocked by the storm, the disciples were fearful for their lives, Jesus simply commanded the storm to ease and it did. Jesus is not just above everything but wants us to live in His peace and trust Him to take us beyond for His glory, regardless of the situations in our lives.

Every hurdle in our lives is an opportunity for us to testify about the God we serve who is beyond everything. Can you stop stressing about the issues in your life and start focussing on the one who gave up His life to show you He is above it all and loves you beyond anything you can imagine?

Are you an Isaac who obeyed God and was blessed or and Esau who followed his heart and was cursed?

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

Mark 4:38-40 Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

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Comments
  1. tonirand says:

    Vineet,

    I read the title and decided I should skip this post ( I was trying to run away from facing up but here I am, like Jonah. I have come full circle! 😉 )

    Suffering is not easy. After I’ve passed through it and I can look back and see how He delivered, that’s ok. In the middle of the suffering, that’s not usually my first response…

    “When we move from living in the moment to living in the eternity of God’s will, we stop fretting about our difficult situations and begin to focus our attention on God’s amazing love and our problems fade away.” You have made a very profound statement. The reality is, this ought to be a natural response for every believer BUT it’s not always that easy!

    Every time I’ve faced difficulty, God has brought a testimony. I’m learning to let Him guide me through the dark patches instead of allowing my own thoughts and feelings to direct my path. I must lean on Him. As you so aptly put it, “every hurdle in our lives is an opportunity for us to testify about the God we serve who is beyond everything.”

    Thanks so much for sharing. All the blogs I’ve visited so far today are pointing me in the same direction. I do not believe in coincidences! 😉

    Committed to serve,
    ann

    • ServantBoy says:

      Hi Ann,

      It is amazing how much we detest the thought of suffering. I have always been fearful of praying that God prune me for His glory because I cannot stand pruning. Yesterday was a double whammy for me because I was confronted with this message from Genesis and at the early morning Bible study, we studied John 15!!!

      This morning, I finally got on my knees, confessed to God that I dreaded the thought of falling into the bottomless pit of suffering and told Him that I trust Him to prune me for His glory alone, but to be gentle with me so that I don’t falter in my faith walk and I only grow in fruitfulness as He said He would do in John 15.

      Like you, even I have stopped believing in coincidences, specially with relation to God because He has a way of driving His point in and we have a way of trying to block out the essential and accepting only what we want to believe 😦

      God bless you, Vineet

  2. Debbie says:

    Thank you, Vineet, for taking us through the suffering to the gain we have in Him. I am thinking about a time when I thought to protect myself from a pain. Afterward, He showed me what I was doing, not trusting Him to take care of me. Then, the exact same situation came up again . . .and this time I didn’t try to cover myself. Yes, it was painful, but this way I allowed Him into it, shared it with Him, and it brought me closer to Him. God bless you for always bringing us to Him! 🙂

    • ServantBoy says:

      Deb, I just mentioned to Ann that I suffer the fear of suffering so much that I avoided talking to God about pruning me for His glory. Yesterday when I read John 15 at a Bible study, I was reminded that pruning is necessary because only then will good fruit be born and God the father is the gardener and Jesus is the wine while we are the branches of the vine. No pain is certainly no gain in our spiritual walk. Also in John 15:26-27, we are reminded that the the spirit of truth now lives in us, it testifies of Jesus Christ and therefore we are to testify of Him too. Therefore pruning is for God’s glory and our role is to love one another and testify of God’s goodness. In Christ, Vineet

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