Don't Stop Digging

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Genesis 26:18-25

Current Situation: The Philistines are symbolic of the world, which is jealous of the Christian who is being blessed with the peace and prosperity of God. The world wants the church to leave certain territories under their control. It wants the church to stay within the confines of sacred walls and to stop being a witness for God in the world.

The church should avoid making the mistake that Isaac made. He distanced himself from the enemy of God, but stopped short of moving into the place that God had reserved for him. Isaac reopened the wells that his father, Abraham, had dug and laid claim to them (Genesis 26:18). He rightfully owned the wells and to establish his right of ownership, he gave the wells the very same name his father, Abraham, had given them. However, although his father had owned these wells, his father had not dug the wells on the land that God had reserved for him. He had dug these wells outside of the will of God, and whenever God’s people act contrary to God’s will, they will encounter trouble.

Stress:  Isaac's workers also dug new wells (Genesis 26:19). However, since Isaac had not returned to the land that God had reserved for him, he encountered more trouble. It is the same with the Christian church. The digging of two new wells caused new problems with an old enemy. Since Isaac was still living in the land of the Philistines, he was still subject to trouble from the Philistines. The fact that God preserves you is not an indication that God agrees with your actions. The herdsmen of Gerar laid claims to the new wells in a contentious fashion, creating strife between Isaac and themselves. When the church is attempting to thrive in places contrary to God’s will, God brings hardship upon the church in order to cause it to conform to His will.

Search For A Solution: Isaacs search for a solution caused him to move closer to the Promised Land, but not into the Promised Land. He dug another well there and the Philistines did not bother him. He named this well Rehoboth, which means God has made room. He was now living on the edge of God’s will, but not within God’s will. God has now made room for Isaac and given him peace. However this is a temporary situation. It is not the true solution to Isaac’s problem.

Solution:  However, Isaac’s conscience began to trouble him and he began to remember the covenant. Trouble, strife and hostility drives God’s departed people back to Him. With contemporary Christians, the trouble may be foreclosure on a home, loss of a job, children dropping out of school, overwhelming medical bills without health insurance to pay them. The point to see is that God does not abandon His people; He does use trouble and trials to stir us to repentance, and to return to Him.

The trouble that Isaac had encountered while living in the world restored Isaac’s faith and he decided to return to God and to seek to renew his covenant relationship with God. Isaac went up to Beersheba. He built an altar and there, the Lord renewed the covenant with Him.

Henry Morris points out that Beersheba held fond memories for Isaac. It was there that Abraham had made a treaty with the Philistines and had built an altar. Abraham had also moved his family and ranching operation to Beersheba after offering Isaac as a sacrifice on Mt. Mariah. The memories of the good time—the joys of life and the close fellowship with God—drew Isaac back to Beersheba. He knew that he had been following God only half-heartedly, that he had been living on the border of the God’s will, one foot in and one foot out. He knew that he had been putting too much trust in the world and not enough in God. Isaac knew that he needed to have a fresh experience with God, needed to meet God face to face and repent of his half-hearted and lukewarm commitment. Isaac knew that God alone could erase his fear and protect him from his enemies. He knew that God alone could fulfill the promises made to him. He desperately wanted a fresh experience with God; he wanted to rededicate his life anew to God. Therefore, he returned to Beersheba, the place where he had experienced the most peace in life, the place where he had experienced his strongest walk and fellowship with God.

 Lessons For My Audience:  

I.     God uses the trials and trouble to drive us to Him and the hope of His promises.

II.    When we turn away from God—when we allow our hope in His promises of heaven to grow dim—God always disciplines us.

III.   He allows trouble and trials to drive us back to Him.

 We can always find inconsistencies and failures in the church, but the church also has a thrilling capacity for generating virtue where none is expected. It is time for those who belong to the church to begin digging wells that produce:

Dig wells of…Faith, Salvation, Justification, Sanctification, Hope, Eternal Residence with God

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