God demands total obedience in trials
This seems like the logical thing to do, since Egypt is where all the food is. But still, the Lord appeared to Isaac with these words of instruction: “Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of which I shall tell you … because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My laws.” (Gen. 26:2-5). God tells Isaac not to go down to Egypt. Instead, he is to remain in Gerar (Gen. 26:2). Humanly speaking, to stay in Gerar in time of famine was unreasonable.
Even so, God promises Isaac, “I will be with you and bless you” (26:3, 24, 28). When God is present, we have nothing to fear. ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; “Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you. Surely, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10
God commands Isaac not to go down to Egypt, but to stay in Gerar to teach us that His presence will always be with us, and He can bless us, no matter the situation. God can bless us in a bad economy, bad marriage, in difficult ministry or challenging workplace.
Are you in an awful situation now? Is your spouse threatening you with divorce? Are your children so disobedient that you know it may end tragically? Is your boss threatening to sack you? If so, your tendency will be to attempt to escape your situation. Yet, in most situations, that is not God’s will for your life. He wants to provide for you in the midst of your impossible circumstances. He wants you to trust Him in the midst of your suffering. The Scriptures consistently teach us that the safest place in the world is in God’s will, for God will never lead us where His grace can’t provide for us.
Today, in the midst of your challenging circumstance, ask God to grant you perseverance; keep looking for His presence and blessing. He is big enough to handle your trials, and He will meet you right in the midst of it. In these verses, God formally told Isaac that the blessings of his father, Abraham, would be passed to him and his sons. “He has remembered His covenant forever, The word which He commanded to a thousand generations, The covenant which He made with Abraham, And His oath to Isaac. Then He confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, saying: “To you I will give the land of Canaan As the portion of your inheritance,” (Ps 105:8-11).
Why? Two reasons: First, God is a faithful God, Who gave Abraham an unconditional covenant of grace. Second, Abraham passed down a legacy of obedience. Abraham, indeed, fulfilled the law. How did he accomplish that without the law having been written? He lived by faith! The person of faith does not live by the law, but keeps the law through faith (Gen. 26:5).
You would think that after the Lord appeared to Isaac, he would not be ruled by fear, but that was not to be. Isaac, so human and so frail, mingled fear with his faith, but still he obeyed. Irrespective of the circumstance, a child of God must be sensitive to God’s voice of instruction. Also, you must be able to pray for godly wisdom and grace to obey, even when it sounds foolish.
Isaac heard God and obeyed, it became a testimony. “Now Isaac sowed in that land (the land of famine) and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. (This is a miracle!) And the Lord blessed him, and the man became rich … he had possessions of flocks and herds and a great household, so that the Philistines envied him. (Ps 112:10) 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.” These verses tell of God’s faithfulness in blessing Isaac, as He had promised (cf. 26:3; 24:1; 25:11).
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