Original Entry Date 6/5/2013: I was reading about a time there was a great famine and God instructed Isaac to reside in Gerar, the land of the Philistine’s along with his wife, Rebekah. As I am reading I see a very vivid connection with a parable that Christ uses in the NT. Lets read about God’s faithful promise to Abraham and what life was like for Isaac in the land of Gerar.
Read Genesis 26:1-12 NKJV:
There was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines, in Gerar.
2 Then the Lord appeared to him and said: “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. 3 Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. 4 And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; 5 because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.”
6 So Isaac dwelt in Gerar. 7 And the men of the place asked about his wife. And he said, “She is my sister”; for he was afraid to say, “She is my wife,” because he thought, “lest the men of the place kill me for Rebekah, because she is beautiful to behold.” 8 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. 9 Then Abimelech called Isaac and said, “Quite obviously she is your wife; so how could you say, ‘She is my sister’?”
Isaac said to him, “Because I said, ‘Lest I die on account of her.’ ”
10 And Abimelech said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the people might soon have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt on us.” 11 So Abimelech charged all his people, saying, “He who touches this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.”
12 Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the Lord blessed him.
Take notice of verse 12; here we see an example of one who “receives the seed on good ground…bearing fruit, yielding crops multiplied hundredfold.” This is the Parable of the Sower in which Jesus describes four separate types of soil (a symbol of our hearts) that the seed (the Word of God) is being sown upon (Hearing the Word of God).
Matthew 13:18 NKJV:
“Therefore hear the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. 20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23 But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”
Take notice of verse 23 and how it directly ties to Isaac in Genesis verse 12. Isaac heard the Word of God and understood it with Faith. He then begins to plant and reap (symbolization of sharing the Word of God and leading people to Jesus) in the foreign land of the Philistine’s. Another symbolization of how we are to go into ALL of the lands to spread the Word of Christ. Just as God blessed Isaac, He blesses those who have received the seed on good soil; those who hear and understand His Word.
Let’s continue on to see more symbolism and how it connects with us today.
Read Genesis 26:12-14 NKJV:
Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the Lord blessed him. 13 The man began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous; 14 for he had possessions of flocks and possessions of herds and a great number of servants. So the Philistines envied him.
God blesses Isaac greatly, making him prosperous in all things with such great possessions that the Philistine’s (who are a symbolization of those of the world) are filled with envy! We are blessed by the Lord therefore we are envied by the world.
I’m sure we’ve all had a couple run ins with people who despise us because of the way God is working in and through our lives. They watch with a bitter heart and an abhorrent eye, desiring to see us crumble…but rather they witness our fullness of joy through the trials; the strength that keeps us from being unscathed and the favor we receive from others because He favors us. Quite a slap in the face for them.
Let’s continue reading Genesis 26:15-16 NKJV:
15 Now the Philistines had stopped up all the wells which his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father, and they had filled them with earth. 16 And Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we.”
Just like the envious Philistine’s the people of the world will try their hardest to put a stop to the outpouring/flow of God’s Spirit/Water/Light by stopping up our Spiritual “Wells” (think of Jesus and what He says to the woman at the well in John 4:13-14) by filling them with “earth” (this symbolizes worldliness). And if that doesn’t work the people of the world will try to drive you out, just how Abimelech told Isaac to leave because he was too mighty.
Worldliness can be very attractive and desirable because of the desires of our flesh. We can all admit that we’ve been led off track in this way many times before and there’s still A LOT of walking left for us to do in this life.
Let’s follow the example of Isaac and how he is literally made to leave the land and departs to a Valley. Genesis 26:17:
Then Isaac departed from there and pitched his tent in the Valley of Gerar, and dwelt there.
Here is a symbolization of Isaac going through a valley experience, or in other words a dark and troublesome time where it is easy to lose faith in God. A time where the waters of the Spiritual Well seem all dried up. But Isaac does exactly what we need to do when we face the valleys of life.
And Isaac dug again the wells of water which they had dug in the days of Abraham his father, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham. He called them by the names which his father had called them.
Isaac thirsted for God and sought Him out; this is resembled in how Isaac dug the wells of his father, Abraham, out again. We, too, need to press into God when we are in the valley. He will quench our thirst for Him.