Because You Have Done This

So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.” And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”
(Genesis 22:14-18)

“Because you have done this” – That statement could be in between a bad choice leading to a awful consequence, but for Abraham it was quite the opposite. Abraham made a choice to obey God even when it would cost him his son Isaac. Because Abraham made this choice to obey God even through extreme sacrifice of what he held most dear, God would richly bless him and his family for generations to come.

We studied this chapter last night in a Bible study at someone’s home, and it really caused us to reflect upon the faith and trust that Abraham had in God’s promises. That trust in God’s promises led him to the conclusion that if he killed Isaac, then God would raise him from the dead (Hebrews 11:19). He knew that God would provide, even if Abraham gave up the very things God promised him.

What a great example for leaders of homes, and what an encouragement to know that if we make the commitment to follow God fully, God will be there in our homes blessing us and providing us with wisdom and strength. Abraham said, “The Lord will provide,” and that is just as true for us today as it was for Abraham. Our job is to fully obey His voice. The calling for us is the same as it was for Abraham; don’t withhold anything from God. Don’t let anything be so valuable to us that we would not give it over to Jesus.

You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe–and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”–and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
(James 2:19-24)

We have found water

Right now, we are in the process of having a new well dug. So as I’m writing, the well driller is outside prepping the area for drilling…and we are praying!

It made me think of Genesis 26:12-33 when Isaac was digging wells.

The first observation: Enemies

One of the first things I notice is that Abraham and Isaac had enemies. The Philistines had stopped up the wells of Abraham by filling them with earth (vs. 15). Isaac was told to get away from the Philistines because they saw him as too powerful (vs. 16). They were afraid of him and envied him.

So, Isaac left and went away. In this section you see Isaac repeatedly trying to live in peace with his enemies. He digs a well, the Philistines quarrel with him about it, and he just moves on and tries another spot (vs. 19-22). He eventually finds a spot and digs a well where there is no contention from the Philistines (vs. 21).

Because of Isaac’s behavior and the Lord’s powerful working in Isaac, the Philistines clearly saw God’s presence in Isaac’s life (vs. 28). They ask to make a covenant with him, to ensure that he will not attack them (vs. 29). Their fear of him came because he was “the blessed of the Lord” (vs. 29).

In a world where everyone is looking for a fight and a reason to quarrel, what kind of people do we need to be in this world, men? What example do we as men need to set for our sons and daughters in how to live peaceably with all men?

Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink, for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
(Romans 12:17-21)

The second observation: By His Father’s Names

Isaac re-dug the wells of Abraham and called them by the names Abraham called them (vs. 18). There is a great lesson here in following the example and walking in the pathway left by a godly person. Abraham dug these wells, and Isaac respected his father by calling them by the same names.

We can do the same by looking to those who go before us and leave footprints to follow. It may be our parents, grandparents or other godly people in the church who have laid down a pattern for us to follow.

They called sin by its name – “sin.” We need to call it by the same name.

These godly men and women called the Bible the Word of God. We need to call it by the same name.

Our spiritual forefathers showed reverence for the God and Creator and Lord Jesus Christ by the way the lived their lives, by how they worshiped him, and by how they respected His authority. We need to call the wells of faith they dug by the same names.

Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:7-8)

The third observation: The Lord blessed Isaac richly

Isaac’s eyes were on the Lord (vs. 22), and the Lord’s eyes were on Isaac (vs. 24). God encouraged Isaac not to fear because He was with Isaac and would bless him. Isaac built an altar and worshiped God (vs. 25). God blessed Isaac richly in the presence of his enemies.

That reminds me of David:

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows.
(Psalm 23:5)

By “blessing” I do not mean to say that God is going to shower down material riches upon us. I also do not personally apply this to expect God to give the Kemples a well with perfect water this week. Even if we end up with nasty water again, God is good and He has blessed us richly. He has blessed us “with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). It really is the wells of salvation from which we draw the purest and most awesome water (Isaiah 12).

God blessed Isaac in a mighty way, and the enemies of Isaac saw God’s working in his life. This was a testimony to God’s grace and strength and it brought God glory. May we seek God’s blessings for His glory, and not for our own personal gain (see how Paul used “glory” in Ephesians 1:6,12,14).

The fourth observation: In His Time

You know, it took a lot of time and space in Genesis 26 from Gerar to Beersheba (vs. 17,33). It took time to dig wells, it took time for quarrels to happen, and it took even more time for Isaac to move his family, servants and animals to another location.

All the while, in good times and bad, in frustrations and victories, God was with Isaac. He is good. God accomplished His purpose and worked His will in His time, not in Isaac’s.

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.
(Isaiah 40:27-31)

Showing Endearment

Now it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked through a window, and saw, and there was Isaac, showing endearment to Rebekah his wife (Genesis 26:8).

Isaac went into Philistine territory, and was afraid that the men there would steal his wife and kill him, so he lied about being married to Rebekah. However, in time, he could not hide his affection for his wife, and he was “caught” showing affection to Rebekah. Other versions say Isaac was “laughing” with Rebekah (ESV), or he was “caressing” her (NASB). Young’s Literal Translation says he was “playing” with Rebekah.

I love the next verse where Abimelech king of the Philistines said, “Quite obviously she is your wife” (Genesis 26:9). Quite obviously. Something to think about men, isn’t it?

In years past, I’ve heard preachers ask the question, “If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” Great question, but I want to take that concept and apply it to our marriages. Would you have been “caught” showing endearment to your wife? I’m not talking about sex, I’m talking about intimacy, affection and tenderness. Two people who truly love to be around each other. A man who is madly in love with his wife, and he can’t help showing it to her.

Showing Endearment

Is your wife your sweetheart? Rebekah was Isaac’s sweetheart, and that fact could not be hidden, to Rebekah nor to others observing. Do we play with our wives? Are we daily showing endearment to our wives?

A man told me one time that he could go into a restaurant and tell you which couples were dating and which couples were already married. His observation (right or wrong, it was his observation) was that the couples who were dating were looking deeply into each other’s eyes and talking and laughing. The married couples were just looking down and eating, with the occasional word to each other. Now I know that is not true for all couples, but there is some general truth in this observation.

Men, in most marriages, for many different reasons the intimacy and tenderness may have been lost, but it can be rebuilt. Fight hard for this in your marriages, men, make your wife your sweetheart again. Don’t forget to notice her perfume. Compliment her genuinely. Come up behind her and just hold her. Touch her lovingly and tenderly. Find ways to “play” with her; just have some fun together. Be creative. Keep your eyes on her, and only on her.

Rebekah was “quite obviously” Isaac’s wife.

Thus Isaac was comforted

Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and he took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her; thus Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death (Genesis 24:67).

Thus Isaac was comforted. It is just a quick thought for today, but this verse gives us insight into one of the wonderful benefits of marriage. We are to comfort one another. In this case, Rebekah was a comfort to Isaac after his mother’s death.

For today, consider how you can be that comforting person to your wife. We all have painful and trying times, and what a blessing it is to have a godly spouse who can calm your hurting soul.

Be that for your wife today. By your words, body language, and behavior, you can help calm and soothe the soul. Think of a passage from the Bible to send her to remind her of God’s presence in her life. Reach out and hold her hand. You may not even have to say anything. Sometimes a hug is all you have to “say.” It may be that she needs comfort from one of her sisters in Christ. So that means hubby needs to make that happen so she can get away and be revived.

Thus Isaac was comforted.

Just before this phrase in the above verse, it says, “and he loved her.” One way we can be “comforted” ourselves is by loving others. Not only did Rebekah comfort Isaac, but Isaac was comforted by loving Rebekah.

A Grief of Mind

When Esau was forty years old, he took as wives Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite. And they were a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 26:34-35).

Hittites were really bad people usually. They were enemies of God, pagan and idolatrous. Esau decided to marry two of their women. I believe the text is implying that these two women were just like all the other Hittites. He brought them home to mom and dad. What was the result?

They were “a grief of mind” to his parents. The ESV puts it like this, “and they made life bitter for Isaac and Rebekah.” Look at what Rebekah said about it later on:

Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I loathe my life because of the Hittite women. If Jacob marries one of the Hittite women like these, one of the women of the land, what good will my life be to me?” (Genesis 27:46, ESV).

A Grief of Mind

Rebekah hated her life because of these two women. If Jacob, her other son, were to follow in Esau’s footsteps, she would feel like her life was worthless. I’ve talked to many a parent who has experienced this. Their children went and married a spouse who was selfish and immoral and it brought great pain upon the whole family. The whole family!

It ruins harmony. Your son or daughter is torn between being in harmony with the parents or the spouse. Every interaction is painful. Visits are a headache (before, during and after). Christmas, Thanksgiving and birthday parties are almost unbearable. When that son or daughter has a spouse who is ungodly, then even something as “simple” as going to worship services and church activities can be an all-out war. If you’ve been through it, you can appreciate what Rebekah is saying…she hated her life because of it.

This is just a simple reminder from the Scripture that our choices, especially who we marry, can bring either great joy or incredible pain to our lives and to the lives of those we love. Choose wisely! Pray a ton. Seek God’s wisdom. Ask for the advice of Godly men and women who can guide you through these critical choices. It seems like Esau made decisions based upon lusts, emotions and the moment (Hebrews 12:16). Think past the moment and the emotions. Consider how this decision will affect scores of people who love you!

A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother (Proverbs 10:1).

A foolish son is a grief to his father and bitterness to her who bore him (Proverbs 17:25).