Angelic Conflict part 119: Human history –Gen 26:1-5; 12-22; Luk 6:27-30; Jer 29:13; Mat 13:18-23; Psa 23.
length: 72:28 - taught on Jul, 14 2013
The Abrahamic Covenant was repeated to Isaac, GEN 26:1-5.
GEN 26:1 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.
There are no Philistines yet, but there will be, so the writer, Moses, describes the place where later the Philistines settled.
GEN 26:2 And the Lord appeared to him and said, "Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of which I shall tell you.
Gerar is still within the bounds of the Promised Land.
Then God specifies seven provisions:
1. I will be with you.
2. I will bless you.
3. I will give all these lands to you and your seed.
4. I will establish the oath which I swore to Abraham.
5. I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven.
6. I will give unto your seed all these lands.
7. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.
There are 10 Canaanite tribes in this area at the time and all of their lands will be given to the seed of Isaac. And the Canaanites (descended from the cursed Ham) will not just roll over, but nothing and no one can stop the fulfillment of the promises of God.
GEN 26:3 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.
The only condition is to stay put.
GEN 26:4 And I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed;
GEN 26:5 because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My laws."
Isaac: Contention over the three wells, GEN 26:12-22.
The account of the struggle to recover the wells that Abraham had dug begins with Isaac’s prosperity. Initially we are drawn to Isaac’s wealth, which was in three areas.
GEN 26:12 Now Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. And the Lord blessed him,
The first area is a new one for the Patriarchs and that is agriculture.
You are blessed when God says you are and nothing will stop it. Our condition is to walk with Him and wait on His perfect timing.
The second area of his prosperity is in verse 13 and is personal greatness.
GEN 26:13 and the man became rich, and continued to grow richer until he became very wealthy;
Your NASB uses the word for wealth three times, but the Hebrew word means “great.”
This word gives Isaac the status of greatness as a man of God and not just in his bank account, although that is inferred as well.
Anyone can accumulate riches and fail to be a great man or woman of God. Yet a great or powerful man or woman of God does not require riches or desire them, but if they have wealth, they are gracious and enjoy and use their wealth to God’s glory.
And note the progression: He went from great, to greater, to greatest. The believer never arrives. He continues to press on and is a lifelong student of the word of God.
The third area of prosperity is in his possessions in the form of animals and servants.
GEN 26:14 for he had possessions of flocks and herds and a great household, so that the Philistines envied him.
This led to the envy of the Philistines and this reveals the pettiness of a people without God.
When your god is your appetite then you are easily moved to jealousy. When your God is the God of grace you rejoice with those who prosper.
The grace oriented believer rejoices with those who prosper because he knows that God is the one who blesses and therefore he isn’t looking at something that he wishes he could have, but rather is looking at the hand of God working. He loves to see God work whether it is in his own life or in the life of another.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
GEN 26:15 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.
The envy of the Philistines is so great that they are willing to cut off vital water supply in the context of a famine in order to hinder Isaac.
This is cutting off your nose to spite your face. The depth of man’s jealousy is a potential abyss.
The contrast with Isaac is quite striking. He is great with God while the Philistines are great with jealousy.
Be very weary of jealousy for it is a destroyer of life.
Now notice what the godly Isaac does. He doesn’t fight with them but rather he properly uses the doctrine of separation. There will be no living in peace with these people, so it is better to depart.
GEN 26:16 Then Abimelech said to Isaac, "Go away from us, for you are too powerful for us."
GEN 26:17 And Isaac departed from there and camped in the valley of Gerar, and settled there.
Isaac’s promised land includes the place that he departed from and he realizes that the time of ownership has not yet arrived. He properly applies the doctrine of divine timing.
The application to us here is that we may come to understand that we will be blessed in certain areas, but as spiritual believers we must realize that God’s timing is always perfect. It may be that we do not yet have the capacity, or that we have the capacity, but for some other reason that will bring maximum glory to God, God delays on delivering that certain blessing.
So Isaac moves down the Gerar valley and as would be needed to survive, water, he digs more wells. And because he is blessed by God, the wells spring forth abundant, high quality water.
GEN 26:18 Then Isaac dug again the wells of water which had been dug in the days of his father Abraham, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham; and he gave them the same names which his father had given them.
Isaac had not forgotten the names that Abraham had given the wells. He honors his father.
Always honor your parents. I don’t care what quality they were. You don’t have to invent reasons to honor them. Just honor them for the fact that God chose them to be your parents, and for you, they were perfectly designed to lead you to God’s saving grace.
Now comes the reason that I chose this passage as part of our study.
GEN 26:19 But when Isaac's servants dug in the valley and found there a well of flowing water,
GEN 26:20 the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with the herdsmen of Isaac, saying, "The water is ours!" So he named the well Esek, because they contended with him.
Isaac moved, set up his own camp, in the land that God had promised him ownership, and he digs his own well and the petty herdsmen of Gerar have the audacity to say the well is theirs.
Never underestimate the pettiness of people. If they take from you, give it freely, and trust God for the result.
LUK 6:27 "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
LUK 6:28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
LUK 6:29 "Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.
LUK 6:30 "Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.
I do not suggest that you give to those that you know are going to use it for criminal reasons, like drug abuse, for in that you are only hurting them more. However the principle is a godly one, whoever takes from you, give freely and don’t demand it back, and God’s word will be glorified and God will provide for you.
GEN 26:20 the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with the herdsmen of Isaac, saying, "The water is ours!" So he named the well Esek, because they contended with him.
Isaac changes the name of the first well to Esek = contention.
GEN 26:21 Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over it too, so he named it Sitnah.
So he hands over the first well and digs another, which as we can rightly conclude was flowing with sweet, clear, clean water because of the promise of God to bless Isaac and now they want that well also. Isaac is going to do the same thing. Rename it and hand it over.
The attitude of LUK 6:27-30 is not a onetime only proposition, but rather a lifelong way of thinking concerning material possessions. Let them go graciously and let God fill your vats.
Continuing in Luk 6:
"Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return."
Isaac renames the second well Sitnah = enmity or adversary. This is the same root word for “satan.”
So after the contention of the first two wells, Isaac moves farther on down the valley and digs another prosperous well.
GEN 26:22 And he moved away from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it; so he named it Rehoboth, for he said, "At last the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land."
Finally some peace. There is no quarrel. Isaac has separated from Abimelech and then from the first well and then from the second and he has finally dug a well that no one contends with.
Isaac names the third well Rehoboth = a wide or broad place; a place with plenty of room.
Now for the application.
Water so often in the word of God represents the word of God. When we search out truth from the word of God we dig for it.
'And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
“truth” - avlh,qeia[aletheia] = truth. Literally the negative a with letheia meaning to cover or to bury; therefore, to uncover or to dig up that which is buried.
And we know from our past studies as well as from experience that positive believers are attacked. Believers that are new into doctrine have that doctrine contended. Believers that mature in doctrine gain the notice of the KOD and are attacked personally and their loved ones are attacked. However, when we continue to press on we find peace in the midst of all of it. A place with plenty of room for ourselves and for those who are blessed with us.
1st well - Esek; “contention” = contention against new believer.
2nd well - Sitnah; “adversary” = attacks by KOD against advancing believer.
3rd well - Rehoboth; “broad place” = peace in the midst of your enemies.
The word of God is chock full of application to this.
This wonderfully depicts the walk of the believer. He begins in doctrine and faces contention. In the parable of the sower these are the seed that fell among the rocky soil and persecution arose because of the word.
MAT 13:1 On that day Jesus went out of the house, and was sitting by the sea.
MAT 13:2 And great multitudes gathered to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat down, and the whole multitude was standing on the beach.
MAT 13:3 And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, "Behold, the sower went out to sow;
MAT 13:4 and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up.
MAT 13:5 "And others fell upon the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil.
MAT 13:6 "But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
MAT 13:7 "And others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out.
MAT 13:8 "And others fell on the good soil, and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.
MAT 13:9 "He who has ears, let him hear."
Esek (contention) - contention of the new believer who is persecuted because of the word; seed among the rocky soil.
MAT 13:18 "Hear then the parable of the sower.
MAT 13:19 "When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.
MAT 13:20 "And the one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word, and immediately receives it with joy;
MAT 13:21 yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.
All believers face this. Though Christ is depicting those who fail at this point by falling away, we have all faced this persecution.
We were all persecuted for taking the word of God literally and seriously as the inerrant, inspired word of God.
If he continues to press on in doctrine despite the persecution because of the word he will grow in grace and knowledge and gain the notice of the KOD and so the positive believer comes to know that he has an adversary, satan and the KOD. In the parable of the sower these are the seed that fell among the thorns.
Sitnah (adversary or satan) - the KOD opposes the growing believer; seed among the thorns.
MAT 13:22 "And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
The KOD implies through a thousand different means that the believer should distrust the promises of God and get entangled in the details of life and fear that those details will not work out. The parable states that the word is in the soul but that it is choked with worry and fear. Fear leads to worry. The KOD does the same with riches. But it doesn’t have to be a lot of wealth, although that certainly is a great temptation, but for most the deceitfulness arises when bills are due that cannot be paid, financial hardship, bill collectors and bad credit make the believer think all his problems would be solved if he could just accumulate enough wealth to stop the harassment of the bill collector or those odd colored envelopes in the mail that don’t look friendly.
Though Christ is depicting those who fail at this step and fall away, all believers will go through this. They are all lies to make you afraid and therefore worried.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.
Persevering through this stage brings one to maturity and Rehoboth; a life of peace with plenty of room.
Rehoboth (broad place) - the mature believer who enjoys peace and tranquility and prospers in the midst of his enemies; seed on the good soil.
MAT 13:23 "And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit, and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty."
Luke’s account is slightly different:
And the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.
This third type of believer who is positive and humble does not imply that he didn’t face the persecution and temptations of the first two; in fact he did and because he did not quit he faces even more persecutions and temptations, but they do not rob him of the peace that is the fruit of God the Holy Spirit and the doctrine that is in his soul.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
The Mosaic Law could have never produced such things. The Law only showed our inability to obtain them, which should increase our desire for them, through Christ, His word, and His Spirit.
Another depiction of Rehoboth is in Psa 23.
Short background: David is back out in the wilderness where he once hid from murderous Saul. That persecution he did not deserve. However this time he roams in the wilderness to hide from his son Absalom, who in rebellion, dethroned David and took his kingdom. Why was Absalom allowed to do this? God’s discipline was upon David. But David did not waver in his dependence on God and David found peace even though he was not in his beloved city, but back out in the wilderness where he once herded sheep. He now realizes that he is not the shepherd at all, but is one of the sheep, and the only faithful one is his shepherd.
PSA 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He possesses nothing right now. He has lost it all. The deceitfulness of riches could have overcome him, but he realizes that the Lord is enough and riches come and go, but the Lord does not.
PSA 23:2 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
PSA 23:3 He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name's sake [it glorifies Him].
PSA 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me;
Thy rod and Thy staff [instruction and discipline], they comfort me.
PSA 23:5 Thou dost prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies [Rehoboth]; Thou hast anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.
PSA 23:6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
A table implies plenty of room for wine and food and the enemies, though surrounding, cannot take the provisions or prevent David from taking the provisions, nor can they overturn the table. When God prepares a table it is the Lord’s Table. When man prepares a table without God, God will certainly turn it over.
And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the moneychangers, and overturned their tables;
These were certainly tables of prosperity, but deceitful prosperity from the scheming of man and the greed of man. Especially being in the temple it revealed man’s desire for wealth and prosperity to the exclusion of God.
All successful empires have conquered nations along their borders and used them as buffer nations against outside attack. So having room doesn’t mean you have no enemies, but it does mean that you enjoy prosperity in the midst of your enemies.