GENESIS 26:1-35



1. a)  When another famine arose in the land, where did Isaac go? 

He went to Abimelech king of the Philistines in Gerar.

b)  Where did he evidently plan to go?  Why?

He had planned to go to Egypt because there was an abundance of food.  Recall chapter 12.  Like father, like son.

2. a)  What command did God give Isaac (2-3a)?

"Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live.  Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you...."  

b)  What personal promise did God give him?

"I will be with you and bless you.."  That's if he stayed in the land of famine.

c)  What was the larger promise on which this specific one was based (3b-4)?

God promised that he would give to him and his descendants all the land and make his descendants like the stars in the sky and give them all the land and bless all nations on earth through him.  This was the covenant promise.

d)  What was the example of faith set by Abraham (5)?

His obedience to God's requirements, commands, decrees and laws.  The children of godly parents must have their own faith.  The time comes when each one must make a personal covenant with God and a personal decision to obey God's commands.  This was the time when Isaac came to have faith of his own.  

Many people don't want to put down roots because commitment is costly.  It is easier to simply pull up stakes and move on, church-shopping.  There are many "tramp" Christians.  They stay in one place as long as they find some benefit to themselves.  But they never think of taking any responsibility or of trying to give to others.  They keep shopping churches because they do not want to deny themselves and take up the cross of mission.  They do not want to die for the Christ but want to live for themselves. God says to them, "Stay in this land for a while and I will bless you."  Staying in the church overcoming practical difficulties is the matter of obedience to God's calling.

3. a)  How did Isaac respond to God's command?

He stayed in Gerar.  He obeyed God.

b)  What does this show about him (6)?

He is obedient.

c)  Why might he have been afraid of the Philistines?

They were strong and war-like people.  He was a quiet and passive man.

d)  What event reveals his fear (7-8)? (Who had done something very similar to this?)

He lied when he told the Philistines that Rebekah was his sister not his wife.  This was just like his father.  Like father, like son.

4. a)  How was his lie exposed?

In verse 8, Abimelech saw Isaac caressing his wife Rebekah.  They were surely not acting like sister and brother.

b)  How was the unseen hand of God protecting Isaac from his own foolishness?

Abimelech was a man of conscience.  He was stunned that Isaac lied.  God protected Isaac and Rebekah from a terrible accident.  See verse 11.  God saved Isaac from his own foolishness in this way.  He moved and softened Abimelech's heart to see his error.  See verse 10-11.

c)  What does the resolution of this problemshow about Abimelech?

He was a man who feared God and had a conscience.

5. a)  How did God bless Isaac (12-13)?  

God rewarded Isaac's obedience despite his mistakes.  When Isaac planted crops in that year in the land, they reaped a hundredfold.  He became rich, his wealth began to grow until he became very wealthy.  He had many flocks and herds.

b)  How did God's abundant blessing affect Isaac's relationship with his Philistine neighbors?

They envied him and began to stop his wells up.  God had kept his promise.  Read verse 2-5 again.  

Everytime he dug a well, watter bubbled up and everytime he planted, many crops came up.  He was thriving in a desert-like environment.

But whenever there is God's blessing, there is also Satan's attacks.  Read verses 14-15.

c)  How did they harass him in Gerar (12-16)?  

They filled up his wells with earth and told him, "Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us."

6. a)  Why did Isaac move out of the city into the valley of Gerar (16)?

He didn't want to fight back.  He is a passive man.

b)  How did he survive in the valley?

He reopened the wells of fresh water and God continued to be with him and bless him.

c)  How did the Philistine herdsmen continue to harass him (17-21)?

They quarreled with his herdsmen and said, "The water is ours!"  The Philistines became more aggressive.  It was hard for Isaac to stay in this land of the Philistines and continually give in to their harassment!  

But God had told him to stay, so he stayed -- and kept digging wells.  God kept his promise.  He was with Isaac and he blessed him.

7. a)  How did he dealwith the Philistine herdsmen when they demanded his wells?

He kept on moving and naming the wells.

b)  Think about his well-digging life.  What could he learn?

It was hard for Isaac to stay in the land.  He gave in and seemed to be a wimp.  He should fight and win like a man.  But Isaac's way resembles Jesus' way.  He trusted in God's blessing, so God blessed him.  

Isaac was fighting a spiritual battle.  Isaac fought his enemies with "giving-in-faith."  He did not fight for his rights.  He did not fight for the wells that belongs to him.  He just gave in anddug another well and each time God blessed him with abundant water, even in a time of famine.  He trusted God, so he could give in.  

Outwardly he was losing the battle, many precious wells.  He lost human battle.  But inwardly he was winning over Satan's attack.  He won the spiritual battle over Satan.  He did not give in to his anger toward man, but to the desire of the Spirit.

In such a barren land of famine, water is more precious than oil.  This water represents God's blessings and God's life poured out on him.  When we obey God, no matter what the situation or condition, God will pour out his blessings on us and make us fruitful.

When people in the world stir us up, we should struggle hard not to give ourselves in to our anger and fight human, physical battle for money or our self-esteem.  Rather, we need to struggle hard to give in to the desire of the Holy Spirit and fight spiritual battle against Satan's attack despite we lose some money or some benefit.  When we overcome ourselves inwardly, it will be a real victory.  Isaac set a very good example for us to follow in our day to day life, in such a competitive society.

c)  Why might this life have been difficult for him and Rebekah (16-22)?

It's hard to keep giving in and not to resist.  Fear began to come into thier hearts because the Philistine herdsmen kept harassing them.  They were nothing but strangers in the foreign land.

** DO NOT BE AFRAID (23-25)

8. a)  Why did he name his well "Rehoboth" (22)?  

Rehoboth means "room." Isaac said, "The Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land."

b)  Is this name a sure faith or a vague hope?

A vague hope because he had fear in his heart, in the course of living this kind of life.  He did not have peace when he moved to that place.  He had fear; fear caught up with him.  Fear accumulated in his heart and built up over the years of giving in without a fight. 

c)  Why did he leave there and go to Beersheba?

He could only take so much harassment.  He kept on moving to avoid the harassment.

d)  What happened at Beersheba?

The Lord appeared to him that night and said, "I am the God of your father Abraham.  Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham."

e)  Why did he need this meeting with the Lord?

He had been overcome with fear and needed God's assurance of protection.

9. How did Isaac respond to God's words of promise?

He built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord.  He pitched his tents and his servants dug a well.

b)  What does this show about him (25)?  

He believed that God was with him andhe believed God's promise and was strengthened by it.  He was encouraged by God and gave God thanks and praise and worshiped him.  And God continued to bless him; the well.

10. a)  When Abimelech came to see Isaac again, what change can we see in Abimelech?

They clearly saw that the Lord was with Isaac.  They saw that he was blessed by the Lord and wanted to make a treaty with him.  See verses 28-29.  They respected Isaac and honored him because of God.

b)  What did Isaac ask him and how did he respond?

Read verse 27.  They wanted to make a treaty with Isaac.

c)  How can we account for this change?

The change in Isaac was perceived by the people he had feared the most - King Abimelech and General Phicol.  He took the initiative and asked.  See verse 27.  Their anser in verse 28 shows that all of his blessings came from God.  These two godless men saw God in Isaac and wanted to be his friends.  They became believers in God and men who feared God.

11. a)  How did Isaac receive Abimelech?

Isaac gave a great feast for him and his men.

b)  What does this event show about Isaac's quiet victory in the land?

Isaac had won a difficult battle within himself.  As a result, the kingdom of God could spread.

c)  How had God helped him?

The Lord had been faithful to his promises.  See verses 2-5 and 24.



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