I wish to mine the truths that God has opened to me from Genesis 26.
Verse one tells that there was a famine in the land and the obvious course of action was to move to Egypt were their was food, safety and the comforts of life. Common sense would confirm every time that this was a prudent move. But God intervened and strongly suggested that Isaac stays in the land of the famine, with the promise of great blessings. Isaac's father before had faced a famine and without hesitation had moved to Egypt but God allowed Abraham to go. Why stop Isaac? God had a wider plan for Isaac which the ensuring verses indicate.
Never question Gods dealings for he has one purpose in mind for our life – to bring us unto glory so we may be ready to meet our bridegroom.
Verse 6 - So Isaac stayed in Gerar... Despite the famine Isaac trusted Gods word against all logic and common sense. But Isaac lies to his neighbors about his wife – verse 7. Although he trusted God to care for him if he stayed in the land it did not occur to him that Gods protection was all encompassing. God is interested in all aspects of our life, not just the so called 'big ticket' issues.
Verse 11 & 12 plainly point out the blessings that God had promised certainly was all and more that Isaac could have wished for. Protection and an abundance of food, wealth, comforts and prestige. Isaac was riding on Gods back; life was good and building more and more upwards. God was true to his word and Isaac believed.
But such blessings do not last as Isaac discovered in verses 15 & 16 for such is the way of God. After a spiritual high of any kind God will engineer our circumstances to test our faith – is our faith in the blessings, or in God himself? Such was the way of Jesus, who after spending 40 days fasting and enjoying Gods presence was brought face to face with the tempter. Jesus who was transfigured on the mount descended into the demon possessed valley. Peter and John after enjoying a spectacular work of God were thrown into prison. Think of Jobs story.
Why does God burst our bubble? Faith that is not tested is not faith. Faith must be tested, because it can only become our intimate possession through conflict. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuineand may result in praise, glory and honorwhen Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1
Isaac had a dilemma. Should he stay in the land that God said he would be blessed by staying, or was God a liar, not to be trusted or was that voice not from God? How many of Christ's disciples have crashed out through such testing believing that God is a cruel monster?
Egypt must have look very inviting to Isaac but he moved a short distance away and encamped in the Valley of Gerar- verse 17. But even here trouble follows him for he cannot obtain any water and quarrels break out – no water in a famine surely he must move to Egypt. But to be true to God's word he must stay, so we read that he resisted the temptation to content for life giving water and moved on trusting that God would be true to his word and find a well for him.
A wise disciple allows God to fight their battles, for we having done all, are to stand clothed in the full armour. And so it proved to be true, for Isaac had his victory seen in verse 24 onwards. God appeared in person, the King appeared and re formed their friendship and his servants came with the good news that water had been found.
But above all God was honoured for in verse 28 Isaac's demeanor of meekness and inoffensiveness witness had been unto God himself.
Isaac never became great in the sense that Abraham became, but his life is not to be overlooked for his life of meekness and inoffensiveness was under-girded by God. Supernatural meekness and inoffensiveness is not timidity but an almighty strength scorning the weapons of the flesh; recklessness, adventure and independence. Meekness and inoffensiveness is self control indwelt by the Holy Spirit for the fruit of the spirit is self control.
Jesus said - learnofme;forIammeekandlowlyinheart:
But to be true to God's word he must stay, so we read that he resisted the temptation to content for life giving water and [b]moved on trusting that God would be true to his word[/b] and find a well for him.
Pray for GOD's mercy to give me the faith of Isaac.
In Christ name.
Sometimes when God tells us to do something (or not do something), we see the results of our obedience immediately. Sometimes we don't. As you say, "untested faith" is not faith.
[b]"Why does God burst our bubble? Faith that is not tested is not faith. Faith must be tested, because it can only become our intimate possession through conflict." [/b]
What a wonderful review of Isaac you've given; I thought the [above] quote captured the essence of what we could learn from his walk quite well. Great blog, wmj!
wmj, Well said, thank you for the picture you've painted and of how God must over the complete course of time be trusted to "direct our paths."
[b]But such blessings do not last as Isaac discovered in verses 15 & 16 for such is the way of God. After a spiritual high of any kind God will engineer our circumstances to test our faith is our faith in the blessings, or in God himself? [b]
Isaac is something of a puzzle because a lot is not written about him in Genesis. I think Isaac's character was demonstrated for us when he carried the wood for the sacrifice up Mt. Moriah without protest. He trusted his earthly father Abraham and his heavenly Father. Isaac is a man of great faith and character. Thank you and God Bless. Phil
Fab. I thank you very much for sharing these insights, am getting a lot from reading them.
Since a few people have already heartily agreed with your comments on tests of faith - count me among them - will instead mention another piece of what you said about Isaac's character which was very well put:
[i]"Supernatural meekness and inoffensiveness is not timidity but an almighty strength scorning the weapons of the flesh; recklessness, adventure and independence. "[/i]
These are truly admirable qualities because they come from self-control. Self-control is often forgotten or considered to refer to abstinence from bad habits, but you are right, it is much more character-defining than that.
Thanks and God bless you,
"Faith that is not tested is not faith. Faith must be tested, because it can only become our intimate possession through conflict." It's interesting that despite this being a frequent theme throughout both the Old and New Testaments, it seems that many (if not most) Christians have the opposite perspective. We tend to judge whether God is the author of something according to whether it succeeds or fails by man's standards. Of course that was one of the real difficulties that the disciples of Jesus faced between the time that He died on the Cross and they saw Him after His resurrection. I think of Psa. 105:19 saying that the word of the LORD tried Joseph. Whenever we get a word from the LORD, it is necessary that we endure whatever testing is necessary either due to the size of the assignment we have or areas in our lives in which we need to be purified and strengthened or both.
Thanks for the wonderful reminder!