GOD’s COVENANT REAFFIRMATION TO ISAAC – A DECEPTION BY ISAAC (G-26-HBS)

GOD REAFFIRMS HIS COVENANT TO ISAAC

This chapter is about Isaac. In fact, it is the only chapter that is really about Isaac, and it just isn’t very thrilling. All he does is dig wells.

God has a message for us in this also. In fact, it is a very important message, and Paul stated it quite accurately: “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Rom. 15:4).

This is a chapter that teaches patience, and some of us need that—certainly I am in that category. Yet, we would not have you get the impression that patience is all that God wants of us.

The Lord also had men like Abraham, like Jacob, and like David, men who were real go-getters and who were aggressive.

God can use that also. But the life of Isaac has a great message for many of us. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16–17). With that in mind, let us come to this chapter.

Isaac, the beloved son, has the covenant confirmed to him. Then we find him dropping into the same sin of unbelief as his father Abraham had done. Finally, we see him digging wells in the land of Gerar. This doesn’t seem to be very exciting but there is a message here for us; so let us not miss it.

Genesis 26:1-5 KJV

[1] And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar.

[2] And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:

[3] Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;

[4] And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;

[5] Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.

Genesis 26:1 KJV

And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar.


  • This is now the second famine that is mentioned.
  • You remember the famine in the days of Abraham when Abraham and Lot took off for Egypt.

Genesis 26:2 KJV

And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:


  • Why did God say that to Isaac?
  • Well, he had an example before him of his father who had run off down to the land of Egypt.
  • This reveals the fact that “like father, like son,” sins are carried from father to son.
  • You can talk about the generation gap all you want, but there is no generation gap of sin.
  • It just flows right from one generation to the other.
  • Generally, the son makes very much the same mistakes that the father did, unless something intervenes.
  • So God gives definite instructions to Isaac at the time of famine.
  • And He confirms the covenant which He had made with Abraham.

Genesis 26:3 KJV

Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;


  • God says to Isaac, “Don’t leave this land, don’t go down to Egypt. I want to confirm with you the covenant which I made with Abraham.”

Genesis 26:4 KJV

And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;


And He repeats the threefold promise:

  • (1) the land—“I will give unto thy seed all these countries”;
  • (2) the nation—“I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven”;
  • (3) the blessing—“and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.”

Genesis 26:5 KJV

Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.


  • At this point God had not yet given the Mosaic Law; Abraham was not under the Mosaic system.
  • However, the important thing is that, when God told Abraham something, he believed God and acted upon it.
  • He demonstrated his faith by action.

 

We have too many folk today who complain of a lack of reality in their Christian lives.

A lady came in to talk to me some time ago who said that she believed but that she just couldn’t be sure and that she didn’t feel anything.

Such uncertainty!

I didn’t have to talk to her long to find out that there was no action in her life.

She was just sitting in the corner, twiddling her thumbs, saying, “I believe,” and then expecting some great something to take place.

That just doesn’t happen.

When you believe God, you act upon His promises.

If you would call me right now to tell me that there is a certain amount of money in a bank in downtown Los Angeles and that you have put it in there for me and I should go down to get it, do you think I would just sit right here the rest of the day?

My friend, if you know me, you would know that by the time you hung up the telephone I would have my hat on my head and I’d be going down there.

Faith is what you act on.

Faith is something that you step out on. Abraham believed God, and God counted it to him for righteousness.

God is now telling Isaac that He wants him to be that same kind of man.

ISAAC MISREPRESENTS REBEKAH

The pressure of famine in Canaan forced Isaac with his family and flocks to migrate into the land of the Philistines, where he was exposed to personal danger, as his father had been on account of his wife‘s beauty; but through the seasonable interposition of Providence, he was preserved (Psalm 105:14Psalm 105:15).

Genesis 26:6-11 KJV

[6] And Isaac dwelt in Gerar:

[7] And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon.

[8] And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife.

[9] And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a surety she is thy wife: and how saidst thou, She is my sister? And Isaac said unto him, Because I said, Lest I die for her.

[10] And Abimelech said, What is this thou hast done unto us? one of the people might lightly have lien with thy wife, and thou shouldest have brought guiltiness upon us.

[11] And Abimelech charged all his people, saying, He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.

Genesis 26:6 KJV

And Isaac dwelt in Gerar:


  • Gerar is to the south.
  • Abraham and Isaac both lived in the southern part of that land.
  • Actually, Abraham had come into the land up north to Shechem, but he ended up living down in the southern part at Hebron, the “place of communion.”

Genesis 26:7 KJV

And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon.


  • Isaac is repeating the sin of his father.
  • God had warned him not to go to Egypt; so he didn’t go there but went to Gerar instead.
  • In Gerar he must have seen the men casting glances toward Rebekah; so he says to her, “You tell them that you’re my sister, not my wife.”
  • The difference between Abraham and Isaac is that Abraham told half a lie and Isaac told a whole lie. The one he is telling was cut out of the whole cloth.

Genesis 26:8 KJV

And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife.


  • I guess they were laughing and playing together.

Genesis 26:9 KJV

And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a surety she is thy wife: and how saidst thou, She is my sister? And Isaac said unto him, Because I said, Lest I die for her.


 

 

 

Genesis 26:10 KJV

And Abimelech said, What is this thou hast done unto us? one of the people might lightly have lien with thy wife, and thou shouldest have brought guiltiness upon us.


  • Isaac had put these people in danger of committing a sin.

Then Abimelech went on to say—

Genesis 26:11 KJV

And Abimelech charged all his people, saying, He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.


  • Abimelech became a very good friend of Isaac’s.
  • Isaac had the respect of the community just as Abraham had had.
  • Both of them were outstanding men.

I mention that here because from the rest of the chapter we might not get the impression that Isaac is an outstanding man.

ISAAC IN GERAR

During his sojourn in that district he farmed a piece of land, which, by the blessing of God on his skill and industry, was very productive (Isaiah 65:13Psalm 37:19); and by his plentiful returns he increased so rapidly in wealth and influence that the Philistines, afraid or envious of his prosperity, obliged him to leave the place (Proverbs 27:4Ecclesiastes 4:4).

This may receive illustration from the fact that many Syrian shepherds at this day settle for a year or two in a place, rent some ground, in the produce of which they trade with the neighboring market, till the owners, through jealousy of their growing substance, refuse to renew their lease and compel them to remove elsewhere.

Genesis 26:12-22 KJV

[12] Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him.

[13] And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great:

[14] For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him.

[15] For all the wells which his father’s servants had digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped them, and filled them with earth.

[16] And Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us; for thou art much mightier than we.

[17] And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there.

[18] And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them.

[19] And Isaac’s servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water.

[20] And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac’s herdmen, saying, The water is ours: and he called the name of the well Esek; because they strove with him.

[21] And they digged another well, and strove for that also: and he called the name of it Sitnah.

[22] And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and for that they strove not: and he called the name of it Rehoboth; and he said, For now the LORD hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.

Genesis 26:12 KJV

Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him.


  • God is with him, you see.
  • That is the blessing that God promised to these people from the day He called Abraham.
  • It was an earthly blessing.
  • Later on when God put them into that land, He told them He would bless them in their basket; that is, it would be filled with foodstuff.
  • God made that promise good when they were walking in fellowship with Him.
  • We must remember that He is not promising us that blessing.
  • He has promised spiritual blessings to us.

We are told that we are blessed with all spiritual blessings, and that is our portion today. But that blessing is on the same terms. It depends on our walk with God. If you will permit Him, He wants to bless you abundantly in your spiritual life.

We find here that Isaac is greatly blessed—

Genesis 26:13 KJV

And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great:


  • Don’t miss the fact that Isaac is greatly blessed.
  • His field brings forth an hundredfold!
  • The impression some of us have is that Abraham was outstanding, and Jacob was also, but not Isaac. Let me say that Isaac is also outstanding.

It is significant that the life of Isaac is tied in with that of Abraham. Isaac’s birth and his life are interwoven with Abraham’s experiences.

Although Isaac was important when he was offered there upon the altar, again it was Abraham and Isaac together.

Why should it be so presented?

Well, we have already seen that all these things happened unto them for examples to us. It presents a wonderful picture of the intimacy between the Lord Jesus Christ and the Father.

Jesus said, “. . . he that hath seen me hath seen the Father . . .” (John 14:9). And in the high priestly prayer of Jesus, He said, “. . . I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do” (John 17:4).

Also, He said, “. . . My Father worketh hitherto, and I work” (John 5:17).

Therefore, it is very proper that the story of Isaac and the story of Abraham be identified together.

Now here in the chapter before us we see Isaac standing on his own two feet, and he doesn’t look too attractive. He exhibits a weakness and repeats the sin of Abraham.

However, the Word of God makes it clear that Isaac was a very great man in that land—

Genesis 26:14 KJV

For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him.


  • The Philistines couldn’t stand to see all this prosperity—

Genesis 26:15 KJV

For all the wells which his father’s servants had digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped them, and filled them with earth.


  • Abraham had been digging wells in that land, and now his son comes along and the wells become his.
  • But he would go out in the morning and find that the wells were all filled up.
  • This was done by the Philistines and, by the way, this is the first mention of the enmity of the Philistines.
  • This led to continual warfare later on in the days of David.

Genesis 26:16 KJV

And Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us; for thou art much mightier than we.


  • Notice the importance of Isaac at this time.

Genesis 26:17 KJV

And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there.


  • This man Abimelech said, “You are causing a great deal of difficulty now, and it would be better if you left.”
  • He had great respect for Isaac, as you can see.
  • Now this is a part of Isaac’s life that looks like weakness, but it is not.

Notice that he returns back to the land where his father Abraham had been—

Genesis 26:18 KJV

And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them.


  • This reveals the struggle that was carried on.
  • I feel that the water is a picture of the Word of God. We are to drink deeply of it.
  • It is called the “water of the Word” and is for drinking purposes to slake our thirst, and it is also for washing.
  • Jesus said that we are cleansed through the Word which He has spoken.

Genesis 26:19 KJV

And Isaac’s servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water.


  • Water is a very necessary item in life. You can’t have life without water.
  • You can fly over the deserts of Arizona, New Mexico, and California and see plenty of arid land.
  • Then all of a sudden you see an area of lush green and wonder what has happened down there. Water is the only explanation.

Genesis 26:20 KJV

And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac’s herdmen, saying, The water is ours: and he called the name of the well Esek; because they strove with him.


  • And, my friend, water is the explanation for the differences between God’s children in any church—the water of the Word of God.
  • There is a great difference in the lives of believers who study God’s Word. And there will be a struggle.
  • I think that you will always have to pay a price if you are really going to study the Word of God.
  • The devil will permit you to do anything except get into the Word of God.

Genesis 26:21 KJV

And they digged another well, and strove for that also: and he called the name of it Sitnah.


 

 

 

Genesis 26:22 KJV

And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and for that they strove not: and he called the name of it Rehoboth; and he said, For now the LORD hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.


  • Then he calls the well Rehoboth. It means “there is room for us” Before that he would dig a well and they would take it away from him.
  • He’d move up, dig another one, and they would take that away from him. He would just keep moving up.
  • This certainly reveals that Isaac is a man of peace and a man of patience.
  • David wouldn’t have done this, I can tell you that.
  • Simon Peter wouldn’t have done that.

It is a real lesson for us here. This is especially applicable when we apply it to the study of the Word of God.

ISAAC GOES TO BEER-SHEBA

Finally Isaac moved away from the Philistines. This time there was no strife when he dug a well, so he called it Rehoboth (broad places or room).

He went from there to Beersheba, where the LORD reassured him with the promise of blessing, and where Isaac built an altar (worship), pitched a tent (abiding), and dug a well (refreshment). Just as water is a basic essential in the physical realm, so is the water of the Word in the spiritual.

As there was a lapse of ninety years between the visit of Abraham and of Isaac, the Abimelech and Phichol spoken of must have been different persons‘ official titles. Here is another proof of the promise (Genesis 12:2) being fulfilled, in an overture of peace being made to him by the king of Gerar.

By whatever motive the proposal was dictated – whether fear of his growing power, or regret for the bad usage they had given him, the king and two of his courtiers paid a visit to the tent of Isaac (Proverbs 16:7).

His timid and passive temper had submitted to the annoyances of his rude neighbors; but now that they wish to renew the covenant, he evinces deep feeling at their conduct, and astonishment at their assurance, or artifice, in coming near him.

Being, however, of a pacific disposition, Isaac forgave their offense, accepted their proposals, and treated them to the banquet by which the ratification of a covenant was usually crowned.

Genesis 26:23-35 KJV

[23] And he went up from thence to Beer–sheba.

[24] And the LORD appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham’s sake.

[25] And he builded an altar there, and called upon the name of the LORD, and pitched his tent there: and there Isaac’s servants digged a well.

[26] Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar, and Ahuzzath one of his friends, and Phichol the chief captain of his army.

[27] And Isaac said unto them, Wherefore come ye to me, seeing ye hate me, and have sent me away from you?

[28] And they said, We saw certainly that the LORD was with thee: and we said, Let there be now an oath betwixt us, even betwixt us and thee, and let us make a covenant with thee;

[29] That thou wilt do us no hurt, as we have not touched thee, and as we have done unto thee nothing but good, and have sent thee away in peace: thou art now the blessed of the LORD.

[30] And he made them a feast, and they did eat and drink.

[31] And they rose up betimes in the morning, and sware one to another: and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace.

[32] And it came to pass the same day, that Isaac’s servants came, and told him concerning the well which they had digged, and said unto him, We have found water.

[33] And he called it Shebah: therefore the name of the city is Beer–sheba unto this day.

[34] And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite:

[35] Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.

Genesis 26:23 KJV

And he went up from thence to Beer–sheba.


 

 

 

Genesis 26:24 KJV

And the LORD appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham’s sake.


  • God appears to him to comfort him.
  • God appeared to all the patriarchs with the exception of Joseph.
  • He appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Genesis 26:25 KJV

And he builded an altar there, and called upon the name of the LORD, and pitched his tent there: and there Isaac’s servants digged a well.


  • He goes on again, digging wells.
  • You can always put a well down next to Isaac.
  • You can put an altar down next to Abraham, and you can put a tent down next to Jacob, as we shall see later on.

Genesis 26:26 KJV

Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar, and Ahuzzath one of his friends, and Phichol the chief captain of his army.


  • Although Isaac almost seems weak in his dealing with the men of Gerar, the king of Gerar was so impressed that he followed Isaac to Beer-sheba in order to establish good relations.

Genesis 26:27 KJV

And Isaac said unto them, Wherefore come ye to me, seeing ye hate me, and have sent me away from you?


 

 

 

Genesis 26:28 KJV

And they said, We saw certainly that the LORD was with thee: and we said, Let there be now an oath betwixt us, even betwixt us and thee, and let us make a covenant with thee;


  • The influence of Isaac in that land was not that of a weak man.

Genesis 26:29 KJV

That thou wilt do us no hurt, as we have not touched thee, and as we have done unto thee nothing but good, and have sent thee away in peace: thou art now the blessed of the LORD.


  • When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him, Proverbs 16:7. Kings’ hearts are in his hands, and when he pleases, he can turn them to favour his people.

Genesis 26:30 KJV

And he made them a feast, and they did eat and drink.


  • It is not wrong to stand upon our guard in dealing with those who have acted unfairly. But Isaac did not insist on the unkindnesses they had done him; he freely entered into friendship with them.

Genesis 26:31 KJV

And they rose up betimes in the morning, and sware one to another: and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace.


  • Religion teaches us to be neighbourly, and, as much as in us lies, to live peaceable with all men.

Genesis 26:32 KJV

And it came to pass the same day, that Isaac’s servants came, and told him concerning the well which they had digged, and said unto him, We have found water.


  • Providence smiled upon what Isaac did; God blessed his labours.

Genesis 26:33 KJV

And he called it Shebah: therefore the name of the city is Beer–sheba unto this day.


 

Genesis 26:34 KJV

And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite:


  • Esau was foolish in marrying two wives together, and still more in marrying Canaanites, strangers to the blessing of Abraham, and subject to the curse of Noah.

Genesis 26:35 KJV

Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.


  • It grieved his parents that he married without their advice and consent.
  • It grieved them that he married among those who had no religion.
  • Children have little reason to expect God’s blessing who do that which is a grief of mind to good parents.

I hope that you have really enjoyed this post,

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