Genesis 26 – Four Steps Every Generation Must Take to Follow the Lord

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I’m going to invite you to Genesis 26 is where we’re going to be together today. And we’re going to be dealing with really, chapter 25 and 26 is a transitional section in the book of Genesis. And there’s a few of these because Genesis highlights us really main themes or ideas throughout the book, and we’ve categorically broken them up into three. So you’re aware. Uh, Genesis chapter 1 to 11 unfolds the great fall of humanity. Really? Uh, you see, the book of Genesis is written to a group of slaves who have found their worth based on what they do. They have been taught their worth is merited. To them, their value is only as good as what they can produce. And God frees them from Egypt and brings them to the promised land. And he has Moses. He declares to Moses the truth of who he is. And so you discover in the book of Genesis, God unfolds for them the true identity that they have in him, which is not your worth is based on what you do. Your worth is based on who you are being made in the image of God. Your worth is not merited, it’s intrinsic. You were created to know God. Your purpose in life is discovered not as you look deeper within yourself, but beyond yourself because you didn’t make you, but God made you as you connect to him. But what we discover is even being made in the image of God in all of creation, reflecting his glory, that mankind immediately rejects God.

You see this in the story of Adam and Eve, and God shows up and God could have at that moment judged all of humanity. He was completely just to do so. But he was gracious, and he offered to us a path of redemption, reconciliation, that we could know him and walk with him because we sin, were separated from God relationally. And you can’t do anything to earn God’s favor back. That’s what religion will teach you. That’s not what Christianity teaches you. Christianity teaches you. You were made for relationship with God. Sin has alienated you. No matter how hard you may try or work. You can’t undo the sin that you’ve done. You need forgiveness by the grace of God. And that’s what the Bible communicates, is God’s redemption story that rather than give up on us, God pursued us and gave his life for us all of Scripture communicates that, but what we find is, just as Adam and Eve sinned against God and rebelled against God, the next generation shows up and they say to the generation before them, you guys are all wrong. We’re going to show you how to do it. And they continued to to rebel and sin against God. And it spiraled down and down and down until you get to chapter 12, where God intervenes in the life of one particular family, uh, Abraham and Sarah.

God shows up in the life of a pagan man living in a pagan land with a pagan name dedicated to a pagan god, and by his grace promises this man, if you follow me by faith, I will take you to a land, and you will produce a seed, and from your seed it will bless all nations and all people groups. And that’s the theme of the Bible is you see that fulfilled in Jesus that God has not given up on us. He’s pursued us with his life, that we can enjoy relationship with him for all of eternity. If we would come to Christ, if we would surrender our lives to him. And so you read about the book of of the story of Abraham. That’s what we’ve been looking at together from Genesis chapter 12 all the way to Genesis chapter 25. And last week we deal with the death of Abraham. And now we’re starting to see in this transitional chapters of 25 and 26, the passing of the torch to the next generation. You’ll read briefly about the life of Isaac, and then we’ll we’ll deal with Jacob. And then finally, Joseph. The last really two big characters of the book of Genesis unfolds the life of Jacob and Joseph. But here we find the life of Isaac, the next generation after Abraham in Genesis chapter 26. And it’s helping us understand or be able to ask the question and maybe answer the question, um, will Isaac obey the Lord? Just like Abraham stepped out by faith from the place he was familiar, to go to this place.

He didn’t even know where he was going, but he trusted that God was going to supply. And he followed the Lord by faith. And now this next generation. Isaac, what’s he going to do? Will he follow after the Lord? Will he own his faith? Will it become his own, or is he simply just going to become claim to be a follower of God because his parents were? Yeah. Can I tell you this morning, um, if you claim to be a Christian, the reason you claim to be a Christian should not be because you grew up in a Christian church, or your parents were Christian, but rather you come to know Jesus. Just because you come to a church doesn’t make you a Christian. I hope to God we know that I have failed you as a pastor. If that’s new, um, you’re not a Christian because you show up to church, you become a Christian because of your relationship in Jesus. Have you given your your heart to Christ as Christ has given his life for you as you? Have you given your life to him? Have you owned that faith? And we’re going to see whether or not Isaac has done that and this this story as it begins to unfold. And some of you have that same concern for, uh, maybe your children or your grandchildren, have you, as you’ve followed the Lord and walked with him, your hope is that that next generation and generations to follow would grab a hold of the importance of of who Christ is.

And if you’re younger this morning, or new to the Christian faith, maybe grabbing a hold of what it is to follow Jesus and make it your own. Isaac. He’s about to to fight in this story, some of the same battles his father fought as we saw, uh, Abraham go through battles with with famine and with political leaders and even issues over Wells. He had problems with Wells. We’re going to see within this story, Isaac is is walking that same path. He’s dealing with famine. He’s dealing with problems with political leaders. He’s battling over some wells in a desert. I mean, that’s very valuable for the flourishing of life, to be able to have some water. And you see these same things with Isaac. And it shouldn’t surprise us that Isaac is finding his faith tested in these areas, because Ecclesiastes chapter one verse nine tells us there’s nothing new under the sun. You might be facing an issue today that has a a different kind of facade to it, but but it still deals with matters of the heart that we’ve been wrestling with from the beginning of creation. There’s nothing surprising to the Lord. There’s nothing new under the sun. And the way that we wrestle through that is the same way generations have wrestled through the same struggles.

And so we we learn from the model of past generations as we, we deal with these things. But the question is, would Isaac walk by faith? Or would Isaac walk away from faith? Would he run away? Would he lie? Would he create conflict? And so as we look at this passage today, we’re going to be talking about four steps every generation must take to faithfully follow the Lord. Four steps if you’re going to own your faith, four steps every generation must take to faithfully follow the Lord. And point number one in your notes is this be refined in the truth. Be refined in the truth. And here’s why this is important. Not that you just know the truth, but that your life continued to be refined in that truth. And the reason this is important is because you’re going to face temptation. And it’s easy to say you’re Christian when life is going easy. But but it’s a demonstration of the genuineness of your faith. If you still follow the Lord, even in the midst of adversity and the refinement of that truth becomes a wonderful opportunity for you to be reminded of what should take precedent. No matter the circumstance that you’re going through. It’s really giving you a demonstration of where your hope is. I mean, all of us are going to face struggles in life. Better to struggle with the Lord than without him and be being refined in the truth helps us to do that.

In Genesis chapter 26, verse one, it says, now there was a famine in the land besides the former famine. That was in the days of Abraham. So he’s saying, just like Abraham endured a famine in Genesis chapter 12. So Isaac is finding himself in a similar situation. And Isaac went to Gerard to Abimalek, king of the Philistines. And the Lord appeared to him and said, do not go down to Egypt, dwell in the land which I shall tell you. If you remember the story in Genesis 12. That’s what Abraham did. God said, follow me to this promised land. I’ll give you a seed that will bless all generations. And Abraham did. And as soon as he got there, there was a famine. And Abraham, rather than live in that faith of the truth of what God says, he runs to to Egypt. And it led to all sorts of problems for Abraham. God had to intervene, rescue Sarah, and bring him back to the promised land. And now Isaac is facing the same temptation. And God says, sojourn in this land, and I will be with you, and I will bless you and God. God’s not saying, look, it’s not going to be difficult around you, but rather God’s going to safeguard you. Here’s how you know you’re going to survive, Isaac, because I’ve promised you that you’re going to survive. If you’re looking at a famine and thinking this could be the end of your life, I’ve already told you a generation is going to come through you that will bless all people groups.

So you have to live in order to do that. That’s that’s why he’s saying, let me remind you of the truth. Sojourn in this land and I will be with you, and I will bless you. For to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham, your father. I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven. I will give to your offspring all these lands, and in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. Verse five. Because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws every generation. We’ll face circumstances that will tempt them to walk away from the Lord. For Isaac, it was a famine in an agricultural society. This is this is significant, right? This is dealing with your well-being. It makes you concerned for the future and for Isaac. Because of the promises of God. This becomes a temptation not to just for self-preservation, but to flee from what God has said to him. Because God’s promises to Isaac was particular to the land that he found himself. And this, this famine became, became this place of temptation, of demonstrating what he was going to walk in fear or faith.

It would maybe be the equivalent of like today, if we don’t necessarily talk about famines today, but let’s just pretend like everyone got concerned about, uh, a sickness that comes around the world. And, and then that sickness shuts things down and you have transportation issues, and everyone’s worried about running out of toilet paper, and all of a sudden inflation’s going crazy, like, what are you going to trust in in those moments you’re going to run in fear or are you going to walk by faith. That’s the kind of a similar tone that you might experience today. What what’s going to determine how you step, step in this life? Are you going to react or are you going to act the way that God has called you to? And God gave Isaac these promises to, of trust, to to orient and focus Isaac on on what God has said, the truthfulness of who God is in the midst of the circumstances that he is facing. That’s the same thing is true for us. Just as Isaac is facing this temptation and the truthfulness of God’s Word helps align his heart. Same thing is true with you if I use an example in Scripture, um, Matthew chapter four, if you remember the story of the temptation of Jesus and the wilderness tells us he goes in the wilderness for 40 days, and there he meets Satan and Satan tempts him. Satan even quotes from God’s Word. He perverts the quotes of God’s Word, but he even quotes from God’s Word in order to to tempt Jesus.

But do you know the way that Jesus combats the temptation over and over? Jesus says, thus it is written, thus it is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God. And the question you got to answer for your for your own life is, who am I going to listen to? What word is going to speak into my heart to determine my steps? Is it the truthfulness of what God says, or is it what what other people tell you? It becomes important for every generation to refine, to find themselves refined in the truth. For from Abraham to Isaac, Isaac had to not just live on what what his dad said, but own it, because now it belongs to him, and whether or not he’s going to live it out. And the same is true for us. But I would say for us, we’re in a much more privileged position today when it comes to understand the beauty of God’s Word, that you have the whole picture. For Isaac, it was a statement of saying, one day I will bring about a seed and it will bless all nations, all people, groups. But today you get to see the fulfillment of that. How God’s grand story has been told as you hold all of Scripture in your hand.

Now, sometimes I hear people say, you know, if I just lived in the first century when Jesus lived and I saw Jesus do those things, of course I would believe. And to that I say, no, you wouldn’t. And here’s why. If you’re not going to believe now, you weren’t going to believe then because the people during Jesus’s day didn’t. But but in in today, the Scripture says in first Peter, angels long to look into this, that the prophets were declaring something that they would never see fulfilled. But now you have the opportunity to be able to look back of God’s great hand, how he’s orchestrated his story of redemption for all of us. And if you ask me, what point of time would you like to live? I picked today, please give me today. I will take modern medicine and air conditioning every time and and how the story of God unfolds in all of it. And the Bible says to us in Galatians chapter three verse 16, listen to this. Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say and to offsprings referring to many, but referring to one, and to your offspring, who is Christ? The ultimate picture of what God is saying to Abraham. Through you I’ll bring a seed that will bless all people groups. What he’s saying is he’s going to bring Jesus. And now you’ve seen how that great story from Genesis into the New Testament has unfolded in Christ.

In fact, Jesus told us over and over, the whole point of Scripture is to point you to the to the the great hero of the Bible, which is Jesus. If you read the Bible and you don’t, you fail to see the goodness of who Jesus is and what it is to know him in relationship. You fail to see the importance of Scripture. In John chapter five it says this. Verse 39, you search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life. And Jesus says it is they that bear witness about me. Jesus saying the whole. Point of the Bible is, is to focus on him. So you see the goodness of who he is because God has created you for relationship in him, and God has recreated you at the cross for relationship in him. And in the Gospel of Luke chapter 24, after Jesus’s resurrection tells us, he appears to a couple of people and beginning it says in verse 27, and beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted them all the scriptures, the things concerning himself, I mean showing them from the beginning to the end of the Bible how the whole grand theme was about what God was going to do, being refined in the truth. Because we will face temptation, but it becomes a place for us to to demonstrate. Will I walk by, by faith? Or will I listen to circumstance and just react, or what other people have to say? And when you choose to be refined in the truth and walk in it, the beauty is you get to model for the next generation.

And this is what this is what Abraham did for Isaac. This is now what Isaac gets to do for his children. And it’s what you get to do today by refining yourself in God’s truth. It’s not just about what you say you believe, but honestly demonstrated in the way that you live. Um, Proverbs chapter 22 verse six says, train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old, he will not depart from it. And the encouragement for you thinking about the next generation, young people train them. What is saying is not just simply teach them. That’s the idea of theory. It’s just saying something. But prove that you really believe it by the way that you live your life. Train them. Help equip them for the same thing that that when it’s time to kick them out of the nest, they have the ability to run. Just as you’re seeing in the life of Isaac being refined in the truth, something every generation must take a step in. Point number two, do not let fear determine your steps. Do not let fear determine your steps. I got to say, in the life of Isaac, he didn’t do everything perfectly. And here in this next section of this chapter, you see him responding in fear rather than faith.

It says so Isaac settled in Garar when the men of the place asked him about his wife, he said, she is my sister. We’ve already seen this, right? This is what Abraham did twice. He did this in Genesis chapter 12. He did this again in Genesis chapter 21. And now we’re seeing Isaac do this. One of the I guess if we look for the if you’re the the glass half full kind of person, the good news is Abraham did it twice. Isaac only did it once. So we’re learning, I guess. I don’t know, but but he says, say you’re my sister. And look. Why? For he feared to say my wife, thinking, lest the men of the place should kill me because of Rebecca, because she was attractive in appearance when he had been there a long time. Abimalek, king of the Philistines, looked out of a window and saw Isaac laughing with Rebecca, his wife. So Abimalek called Isaac and said, behold, she is your wife. How then could you say she is my sister? Isaac said to him, because I thought, lest I die because of her. And Abimelech said, what is this you have done to us? One of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and you have brought guilt upon us. So Abimalek warned all the people, saying, whoever touches this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.

He’s apparently part of the mafia. But, but, but you see, at least Isaac in the story, he’s walking. He’s walking in fear rather than faith. Now, I think it’s important to know when we determine to be refined in the truth, we’re not going to to be perfect, but to not let fear dictate how we continue to live. You know, when you choose to walk in fear, there’s there’s a few unfortunate things that happen. There are many unfortunate things. But let me just talk about some primary things, like when you choose rather than walk in in fear rather than faith. That’s not biblical. It’s not good. Bible tells you in First Timothy, God doesn’t give you a spirit of fear, but of power and and love and a sound mind that God calls you to so much more than to worry about what other people say or think or do. Um, can I tell you, when I was a young person, I was a very timid person. I still am not one that I don’t care much for the spotlight. And I know for some of you I’ve shared this before, but when I came to know the Lord before I knew the Lord if I was in school, teacher gave a book report and said, read this book and you’re going to give an oral report. I would read the book, but I would take the knife. I’m like, no way are you ever getting me in front of someone to say something like that.

I will be in the back. You know, I can whisper it to you kindly to myself. You know, between me and you, I’m not saying this in front of everybody like, I don’t, I don’t. I didn’t want that. But then something incredible happened to me when I came to know the Lord. And it wasn’t anything to do with me. It was because of who the Lord is. When I first came to know the Lord, I decided I was going to read the. Bible from beginning to end. And I remember when I got to the book of Joshua. I remember as I was reading this chapter thinking, man, I don’t want to be the guy. That follows Moses. Could you imagine that? Like, that’s like the guy that plays for the Bulls and follows Michael Jordan? Who wants that? Can anyone remember even who that is? No, because you don’t care, right? Like, I don’t want to be the guy that follows Moses. But that’s what Joshua had to do. And and maybe, maybe there’s like one Bulls fan that knows who that is. But keep it to yourself. No. But anyway, so so so Joshua steps in. But but here’s what’s interesting. When you read Joshua chapter one, you know the first thing God tells Joshua to do, verse eight is know the Word of God. He commands him to know the Word of God. And then in verse nine he gives him the promise don’t be afraid.

Don’t be discouraged because the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. The presence of God will sustain you where God has called you. So stop looking at your problems and look at the greatness of who God is when it talks about be courageous. What it really means is take a risk. Man. Don’t. Don’t cower Isaac over your wife. Be a man and do what God’s called you to do. Don’t pander to your I never mind I but but act courageously, and it has nothing to do with who you are but the greatness of who your God is. That God has called you into something more. I mean, could you imagine this morning when I read that it was so profound for me? God knows where I am. God knows exactly what I need, and God’s going to be there, and I’m either going to trust that or I’m not. And if I believe what God says, then I need to walk in the truthfulness of His Word rather than live in fear. I don’t want to get back at the end of my life and have all these regrets. I want to understand who God is and experience that as I walk with him, I don’t, I don’t. I want to swing for the fences in my life. And so this is what this is. Where it came for me is like, I realize I’m either going to embrace God’s truth or I’m not.

You know, I came to this place where I said to myself, I could be really concerned with what people think about me, or I could be more concerned with what God wants to do in them. And the truthfulness of what God wants to do in transforming them is far more important than what you think about me, right? And when I came to that realization, I thought, man, who cares? Then I’m just going to start telling people about Jesus like what God wants. Could you imagine on a Sunday morning, like, we come from all different walks of life and people come through our doors. You know, sometimes you come to church because you’re just in a place of desperation and you want to know that you matter to the Lord and you look, you’re willing to give up on other things to to finally give your heart to God. And could you imagine if my thought was, oh, I wonder what they think about me like I wouldn’t. You can’t you can’t serve two masters either. I’m going to be concerned for what God wants to do in you, or I’m going to be concerned about what you think about me. But I can’t do both of those things. And the only way to walk in that is to be refined in the truthfulness of God and say, look, fear is not going to determine who I am, but faith and walk in that.

But if I step in faith, here’s what happens I disobey God. I negatively impact the relationships around me. And I never lived the calling God has put on me. I’ll never fulfill the purpose which God has created me. I won’t experience my relationship with him, and the people around me won’t experience the blessing of what it is to walk with someone who walks with Jesus. So all of you have the. The question to answer this morning is what’s going to dictate your life? Don’t let fear determine your steps. And why do we act in fear? I’ve already said it. It’s because we’re often more concerned with what people think about us. Rather than what the Lord thinks of us. And so we step into that. And what does the Bible teach us about fear? The fear of man will never lead you to the will of God. The Bible knows you struggle with fear, and that’s why the most repeated command in all of the Bible is fear not, I am with you. And the giants that we would consider in Scripture of the faith are people that struggled in fear, because we always come to these places when we’re in, when these new experiences of life, these new temptations, these new challenges of how am I going to respond? And it’s the refinement of the truth in our hearts that remind us to keep continuing to take these, these steps of faith.

When you struggle with fear, what’s important is to focus the greatness of who God is. We tend to struggle with fear because we’re looking in ourselves and not who he is. And first John chapter four verse 18 says his perfect love casts out fear. And what it’s saying is he knows where you are. He knows what you need. And don’t be afraid to follow him because he can he can provide. And so the encouragement is to stand for truth and in standing for truth contained to be kind. Sometimes when I say stand for truth, I get afraid of what that might mean for some people, because I feel like some people hear it and be like, yeah, I’ve been sitting on this for years, and you get so riled up that all of a sudden we’ve awakened the greatest jerk to ever exist, right? Like it’s like you’re just so emotionally charged. You just destroy people rather than rather than bless or serve them with truth. So when you come to know the truth, what it means is you don’t need other people to affirm you because you’re confident in who you are in the Lord. You don’t have to beat other people up in order to make yourself feel better. You completely know who you are because you’ve been refining the truth of God’s Word, and so therefore, you can step with his confidence that serves other people because you don’t need their affirmation. You’ve got the greatest affirmation that you you can have in Christ.

And so you stand for the truth in this kindness to the way that you serve people in this world. Point number three. Live a life God desires to bless. Live a life God desires to bless. Now one of the beautiful things about the Lord. He reigns on the just and the unjust. I mean, no matter if you know Jesus or not, the only reason you’re here today is because the grace of God lets you breathe. So God’s grace is good. Um, but you also want to continue to experience the Lord. And and the way that you experience him is you live the kind of life that the Lord desires to bless. And you see this with Isaac. He continues to step by faith. And Isaac sowed it says in verse 12, he sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. The Lord blessed him, and the man became rich, and gained more and more until he became very wealthy. He had possessions of flocks and herds, and many servants, so that the Philistines envied him. Now let me say, when I tell you to live the kind of life God can bless. I’m not saying, if you do this, you will be rich. Invite me to your mansion and take me around in your Lamborghini. That’s. That is not what we’re. It’s not what I’m saying. Okay. Um. God may have that in you.

In the cards for you. He may not. Certainly. If you live a life of integrity, you’re willing to work hard. Um, people. People tend to honor people like that and give them position and favor. So it’s important as a Christian to live that kind of life in general, regardless if you get monetary gain or not. Sometimes that can happen. But I think it’s I think it’s important to remember as a Christian, you follow Jesus. Jesus walked in poverty. If Jesus walked in poverty, you can be a Christian and walk in poverty too. We’re not talking about we’re not talking about monetary gain necessarily, though. This is the way that Isaac happened to discover God’s hand of blessing. What we’re saying is, regardless of what we have in this world or not, we when we walk in Jesus, we’re experiencing his blessing every day because we’re connected to him relationally. God meets us there. The Bible promises God will sustain us whatever we go through. And so it’s important that we we be faithful to the Lord no matter the circumstance that we’re in. So it’s not about fixating on rich or poor, as we see Isaac with wealth here, but focusing on being who God calls you to be no matter what you have or don’t have. And sometimes you’ll meet people that will say this in life, or I’ll meet people. They’ll say, you know, one day when I get X or I accomplish X, then I’ll start doing what God wants me to do.

And can I tell you if that’s you, if you’re waiting to get to a certain point before you give God your life or you do things for the Lord, can I just tell you the result or what you will do when you get there? You won’t serve the Lord. You have to be faithful today in order to be faithful with many. And it’s not about when I get that. Then finally I get godly. You know, one day when I win the lottery, then I’ll finally give to the Lord, right? Like one day when this happens, then I’ll finally dedicate my life to the Lord. No you won’t. You do it now or you won’t do it at all. Just because you have more, doesn’t all of a sudden mean this light switch will come on and all of a sudden, now you’re the most godly, generous person on the planet. In fact, what’s likely to happen is that when you get more, you just become responsible for more and you become this greater wrecking ball of problems in life. That’s why it’s so important when when you think about young people to start training them what it means to follow the Lord. Because when they get older, their decisions have greater consequence and it can be far more destructive. And so if you follow the Lord in little, then you’ll follow the Lord in lot. If you don’t follow the Lord in the little, you won’t follow the Lord in lot.

I mean, get this. I know sometimes rich people get a bad rap. They’re like, oh, they’re greedy, right? Rich people can be generous and get this. Poor people can be greedy. It’s just if you’re poor, you can mask it because people don’t necessarily see you giving a lot because you don’t have a lot to give, but you can still be poor and greedy. What matters is what’s resting in the heart. That’s why the Bible says in Luke chapter 16 verse ten, one who is faithful in very little is also faithful in much. One who is dishonest in very little is also dishonest in much. Just because you have more won’t all of a sudden mean now you’ll serve God. It’s not about the size of the gift. What God’s interested in is the heart of the giver. And I’m going to talk about that. I’m not talking about money specifically. I’m talking about every aspect of your life. Is it surrendered to the Lord or not? Live the kind of life that God can bless. And as Isaac does this, he discovers not everyone is for him. It says in verse 15, Now the Philistines had stopped and filled with earth all the wells that his father’s servants that dug in the days of Abraham his father. And Abimelech said to Isaac, go away from us, for you are much mightier than we.

So Isaac departed from there, and encamped in the valley of Gerar, and settled there. And Isaac dug a well, and the wells of water that had been dug in the days of Abraham his father. And when the Philistines had stopped after the death of Abraham, he gave them the names that his father had given them. But when Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and found there a well of spring water, the herdsman’s of Garaatie quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen, saying, the water is ours. So he called the name of the well S-ic because they contend with him. Then they dug another well and they quarreled over that also. So they called it Sitna. And so here’s what Isaac’s discovering. He’s he’s really discovering government overreach is what he’s discovering. And so he continues to move on and on. And maybe you found yourself in Utah because you had to leave where you were. He’s he’s, uh, he’s moving on. He’s he’s he’s digging these wells and and he’s he’s discovering conflict and he’s he’s discovering, uh, not everyone is is in favor of him, even as he’s walking with the Lord. And not everyone is in favor of him. And can I tell you, there’s there’s a lot of things in life you can’t control. But the one thing you can control is how you choose to respond. And what we see with, with with Isaac is a step of of godliness, right. They bring the conflict to him.

But Isaac responds in a godly way or responding in hate, anger, revenge will never work out God’s will. The the calling of a Christian is not to be mean. It’s not to throw mud. In fact, in first Peter chapter three it says this. It is better to suffer for doing good if that is God’s will, than for doing evil. You’re going to face adversity in life. It’s better to do it with God than fighting against him. And Isaac continues to to model this. He doesn’t throw gas on the fire, right? He he stands for what’s right. And he’s also kind in the process. Um, you know, one of the things I’ve seen in life that I try to encourage Christians in when you go through adversity, even myself, and sometimes when people do things, they malign you. They’re upset at you, they want to attack you. Everything within you wants to react to that. Either defend yourself or or attack back. Become aggressive. But, but can I tell you one of the most beautiful things I think Christians can can do is, is one. You continue to move forward with godly character, and you allow the Lord to use time on your side. What I mean is, you can’t change the heart of another person, especially when they’re in that kind of a bad attitude. Right? But you continue to be who God has called you to be, and you leave the possibilities of what God can do.

Um, open. Leave those doors open of reconciliation, what God can do. I have seen God do incredible things. Not not maybe in a month or two, but in two, three, ten years, even a Christian just maintain who God has called them to be walking with integrity. And the Lord has used time to orchestrate things in an incredible way. Just be who who God has called you to be and and the Lord will work it out. And Isaac teaches this by continuing to move on. He continues to dig Wells. He’s he’s looking for for a place to flourish in the Lord. And maybe some of you, we need a place of peace. We need a place of opportunity. We need to see where God’s hand is moving. In order to do that. We we go out in this world and we sort of dig wells of opportunity. We find out, well that, well, those people, they weren’t really interested at this time. So I’ve got to move on. I can come back here one day, but it’s just no for now and move on and dig another. Well, and that’s okay. And this is what Isaac is doing. He’s looking for a place to flourish in the Lord. A place where he can see God’s hand continuing to move. And so he moves on and he digs another. Well, he’s not throwing mud. He’s not acting in revenge. He’s just looking for that place to dig a well.

So point number four, then, is this. Keep taking steps of faith. Keep taking steps of faith. And what I mean by that is this don’t live on what you did yesterday. God wants to continue to do something new in you today, and God wants to continue to do something through your life today. If you’ve done wonderful things for the Lord, I’m thankful you’ve done wonderful things for the Lord, and God wants to continue to do things through your life. Um, maybe by way of Isaac and Abraham will say to Isaac or to younger people, you can’t live on the faith of your parents, right? God wants to do something new in your life, in your generation, for you to grab a hold of that. So keep keep taking steps of faith. And you see this through through Isaac. It says in verse 22, and he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name Rehoboth, Rehoboth, saying, for now the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land. Verse 23. From there he went up to Beersheba. And the Lord appeared to him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham your father. Fear not, for I am with you, and I will bless you and multiply your offspring for my servant Abraham’s sake. So he builds an altar there, and he called upon the name of the Lord, and he pitched his tent there.

And there Isaac’s servants dug a well, uh, it goes on and it talks about again, verse 26 to 29, uh, the political leader and the military leader showing up to Isaac, which is not the welcoming committee. Right. If the if the big boss man and his his thug shows up, that’s not like we’re so glad you’re here. Kind of a conversation. But in verse 30, Isaac invites them over and seeks peace with them. It says so he made them a feast, and they ate and drank. In the morning. They rose early and exchanged oaths, and Isaac sent them on their way, and they departed from him in peace. That same day Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well that they had dug, and he said to him, we have found water. And he called it Sheba. Therefore the name of the city is Beersheba. To this day I don’t want you to miss this. This is incredible. Isaac goes around digging wells, and, you know, if you just read that, at first glance, you would just assume, oh, because there’s water there. But what you actually find is in this story, he dug the well and he trusted that God would supply because God said he would. And then after they’ve dug the well, then the water comes and the people rejoice. I think oftentimes this is what it looks like to follow the Lord God.

We we see what your word says. I’m going to step out in faith that you’re going to do what you say you will. And in so doing, you get to experience the goodness of the Lord. And this is exactly what what happens for Isaac. He he keeps taking these steps of faith, looking for opportunities for God desires to work. And then he sees God’s hand and he rejoices. Can I just tell you that what you celebrate, you replicate as a family? If you see God’s good hand in your life, taking time to honor that and reflecting on it even annually, remembering what God did for you and your family becomes this beautiful place of continuing to to model the good hand of God as you take steps of faith that spurs on that next generation to think about how they can see God move in those same, same ways. Because as you took steps of faith, so they should expect the same God to meet them as they take steps of faith. So. So in conclusion, I got one more slide here and we’ll close. But the promises of chapter, chapter 26, verse 1 to 5, I say become the very foundation. The truthfulness of what God says is the very foundation, the pillar of everything else that follows in this passage. Through the promise, Isaac demonstrates faith in God beyond the adversity, and in so doing he witnesses the the faithfulness of the Lord. Just because people act poorly doesn’t mean you you stop following God, but rather you follow the Lord because he alone is worth it.

He’s worth it. And and Jesus, I think, really becomes the model for all of us to follow after, um, what God has called us to in the midst of adversity. I mean, you think about in Jesus’s life, people treated him horribly, but he didn’t stop. Why? Because it was worth it. Honoring the father, seeing your life transformed in him to to the to Christ. That’s what mattered. Uh, and when you think about in the struggles that you face in life, the Bible has this really this counterintuitive way to discuss adversity. You know, our tendency when we face hard things is to easily try to figure out how to make it, to quickly try to figure out how to make it easy or to run away from it, you know, not to be confrontational about it, some, some kind of easier path. But the Bible has this counterintuitive way to talk about adversity. It doesn’t ignore our pain. Um, Jesus certainly can relate to our pain. And Jesus was betrayed by his own friends, crucified by the religious leaders of his day. And Jesus knows what it is to to be betrayed and face hardships. But when you look at what the Bible says about hardship, it’s very interesting. And first Peter chapter four verse 12, it says, beloved, do not be surprised at the.

Fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you as though something strange were happening to you. Now don’t be shocked when the world acts like the world as let’s say you live in a fallen world, and when the fallen world acts fallen, well, it affects you, right? So don’t be shocked by that. But then, what’s really counterintuitive and interesting is the very next word. Look at this. Rejoice, right? But rejoice. Who? Who in the world is like, oh man, bad things. Let’s have a rejoice party. Everyone right like that is not that is not the norm for the way that we respond. But it says, but rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. I mean, this is the steps Isaac took by faith. They weren’t easy, but he kept taking those steps. And adversity becomes this teacher for him. It’s it’s a teacher for us. Adversity becomes this opportunity to truly demonstrate the genuineness of our faith. A faith that is not tested cannot be trusted. But when you hold to Christ in adversity, it’s a demonstration of what matters more to you, where your hope truly lies. Adversity is the prod God uses to help us look beyond the temporal. To realize I wasn’t made for this. My heart longs for more and we start to seek something greater than ourselves, greater in terms of the scope of eternity and suffering. If we’re honest, we put it into that eternal perspective becomes just a moment in the blip of of the existence of your soul before the Lord.

I had my great grandmother. She passed away when I was eight years old. But I remember as a kid, uh, my my mom had a handful of sisters, and sometimes they would come in the home and be a little bit worked up and younger in years, still still learning. And they would come to her and share with her their struggle, and she would always give the same advice to them over and over. It was great. She would just say, this too shall pass, this too shall pass. But when you think of the season that you’re in, sometimes we feel like it is. It is eternity. But when we take a step back and you truly consider the scope of all of eternity, it’s but a blip in the in the radar of what God desires to do in your life and through you. And and the encouragement, I think, is we think about this generationally is it becomes an example to the next generation. You know, when you walk faithfully with the Lord and you see God faithful to you, not only do you get the joy of experiencing his good hand in that, but you’re modeling to the next generation that he continues to be faithful. The same God in Genesis is the same God today, and one of my heroes in the in the faith is a man by the name of Charles Spurgeon.

That’s him on the screen. Charles Spurgeon was very influential man in the 1800s. He was considered he was called the Prince of Preachers, and his church was thousands of people. In fact, on services on Sunday, that’s where the newspaper press would show up, because during this time, this they didn’t have gatherings this large. There was not amplification from microphones to hear someone in a crowd of thousands of people was you had to have a booming voice to do that. But Charles Spurgeon, thousands would come and listen in the newspapers. That’s what they would write about on Monday morning. It’s about whatever he he was talking about. And sometimes very maligning opinions on him. Uh, weren’t kind to him, but but, you know, I, I like for Charles Spurgeon really has nothing to do with the size of the crowd. I don’t the size of the crowd is not something I’m after in life. I just want to see what God wants to do in the hearts of people. The thing, the reason I love Charles Spurgeon so much is because the way he demonstrated faithfulness in God in his own battles. So one of the things, if you read about Charles Spurgeon, that you discover is that he he struggled deeply with depression. And in his ministry, not only did the church flourish, but they say something like 70 plus ministries came out of this church through the leadership of Charles Spurgeon.

Um, one of the things he had several reasons that people think that he battled with depression. One was early in his ministry as he’s preaching to a crowd, someone got up and yelled fire! And there wasn’t. There was no fire, but someone yelled fire! And the crowd ran out of the building. And there were a handful of people that were trampled to death. And they say he never got over it. He never got over the loss of that life. And he and he battled with depression all of his days. But you know what he continued to do in the midst of that battle? Step forward in a faithful God and in stepping forward in a faithful God. He saw the beautiful blessing of God’s hand in his life. Can I tell you this morning, Genesis 26, a beautiful story of the life of Isaac. But it’s the same story God desires to write in your life too. The the faithfulness of who he is all of your days. The way that we do that is to be refined in his truth, to not walk in fear, but but live a life that God can bless. And as we follow that path, we see the goodness of the Lord all of our days to the point that we can model, even in hardship, what it looks like to follow him for the next generation.