Chosen and Initiated by Adversity | Genesis 26
In this chapter we are going to see God bring Isaac through some trials to toughen him up, strengthen his faith, and help him not become a weak effeminate man. You could think of this chapter as Isaac’s initiation period, or basic training, as he becomes the new birthright holder and inheritor of the promises given to Abraham.
And we’re going to once again see many parallels between the promises given to Abraham that Isaac inherited, and America.
There are also some great personal lessons for us in this chapter as we go through hardship and adversity in our own lives. Lessons that can help us through those periods and even come out much stronger than we were beforehand. Look, hardships are not always to be looked upon as bad things, sometimes adversity is God’s way of preparing you for something greater.
Let’s begin reading:
Genesis 26:1 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.
Famine in the land- Isaac is faced with a serious famine here. Looks like there hadn’t been one like this for about a hundred years. The last one being during Abraham’s lifetime (Gen. 12:1).
Abimelech king of the Philistines- Abimelech appears to be a title given to Philistine kings. Abraham dealt with another Abimelech long ago (Gen. 20) who was likely this man’s father or grandfather.
Gerar means “a lodging place”. Now remember, Isaac does not yet possess this land, he is a stranger and a sojourner. He is a pilgrim. No doubt that’s why this place is called Garar. And I want you to remember this because there are many parallels here between Isaac and the American Pilgrims. When the pilgrims came to America they faced their own famines and adversities similar to what Isaac is about to go through.
Now watch what happens here.
Genesis 26:2 And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:
Go not down into Egypt- Interesting. During the last famine Abraham was allowed to go down to Egypt. And this appears to be Isaac’s first thought as well. But why Egypt. Why would it be so tempting to go to Egypt during a famine? Well, probably the main reason is that you had the Nile River there which provided a constant source of water for crops and livestock, apparently even during times of famine. But in the land of Canaan, you were almost completely dependent on rain. No rain meant no water for your crops, or for your animals.
This doesn’t look good for him here but God tells him to stay put and endure the famine. I wonder what he was thinking?
Sometimes we’re to do this as well. Instead of running away from adversity to some sort of comfort zone, we are to face it head on trusting that God will help us through. Whether that be through economic hardships, recessions, persecution, you name it. Whatever the famine might be.
Genesis 26:3 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;
Sojourn in this land and I will bless thee etc.- Now God didn’t just tell Isaac to stay put without reassuring him that He would be with him. No, in fact God even promised to bless Isaac in the midst of this famine.
For unto thee and thy seed will I give all these countries- Wait a minute. God is going to take the land away from one ethnic group and give it to another ethnic group? That sounds like what God did with the early American pilgrims who founded America, does it not? Oh, but that’s not nice you say. Who are you to question God? Are you more righteous than He?
Is it not God’s right to judge one nation and exalt another one?
God had a plan for the land of Canaan back then just like He has a plan for America. And he chose a peculiar people to fulfill that plan. You now, those so-called evil white Christian men that stole this land from the natives built a nation. A nation that would later become the envy of the world. Now everyone wants to come here. Even illegally if they can. Don’t you find it strange that so many who want to come to America demonize its founding fathers? It really isn’t that strange when you think about it. They don’t want any part in what made America great, like building a culture based off of the 10 Commandments and the Teachings of Jesus Christ (See Rev. 12:17). No, what they really want is the material blessings.
Joel 2 talks about this. How that foreigners would one day come to America like armies of locusts come to eat up and devour the nation’s produce. We’re witnessing it today my friends ( See article titled “The Locust Invasion of 1965 | Immigration Act”).
Genesis 26:4 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;
The word “seed” refers to Isaac’s offspring or his “race”. I can just hear it now. Oh, man. Sounds like evil white Christian Nationalism! We can’t have that. Racist! Bigot! Xenophobe! That’s not fair to the Canaanites. Where is the equality? One nation cannot be blessed more than another. We need multiculturalism. How dare you say your nation is a blessing to the world. Damn your white privilege! This is white supremacy!
Now, it is true that in the New Testament the kingdom of God is less of a racial thing than it was in the Old Testament. Galatians 3:11 says for “there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free; but Christ is all, and in all.” In other words, salvation is open to all nations. The apostles were even commissioned to “go therefore, and teach all nations” the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Matt. 28:19). Nevertheless, 2,000 years of history after Jesus came shows that the Birthright of Abraham went into Europe and later to America. The hub of Christianity was in Europe. That’s why Christianity became known to many as the “White Man’s Religion”.
Just as the tribes of Israel were chosen to carry forth the light of truth to the nations in the Old Testament, no doubt God has chosen the Caucasian tribes to carry forth the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. The concept of a chosen nation is not merely an Old Testament thing. It continues on in the New Testament as well.
When speaking to the Israelites Peter said, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9). He was quoting Exodus 19:5-6 where it says:
“Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.”
"Christian culture is superior to all other cultures. And 2,000 years of western civilization shows that God chose a special race (1 Pet. 2:9) to proclaim this truth to the nations. If this makes me racist for saying this, then I’ll be happy to wear that label so long as I fear God and not man."
We can’t so those things today. Any talk of God having a chosen race appalls many Christians. And they always claim that the New Testament changed all of that. But what do we do about scriptures like this?
“And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.” -Revelation 14:1-3
This is 144,000 from each tribe of Israel. It has nothing to do with the Jews or the modern state called Israel, nor does it have anything to do with Asia or Africa. It has everything to do with the White Christian Nations of the world who have always had a faithful remnant fighting for the commandments of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ. Have you ever heard about how the 10 Lost Tribes of Israel migrated north over the Caucasus Mountains into Europe after the Assyrian and Babylonian Captivities, and were later called Caucasians?
America is true modern-day nation of Israel. (Read “The Abrahamic Covenant by E. Raymond Capt”.
Genesis 26:5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
Not because Isaac was of a superior race but because Abraham obeyed God and the birthright was passed on to him and to his race.
Genesis 26:6 And Isaac dwelt in Gerar:
Genesis 26:7 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.
Sounds like Abraham and Isaac have the same problem. They both had hot wives, and they feared someone would kill them to steal them.
Genesis 26:8 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.
This cracks me up. Isaac was caught showing a little public affection. At least we know they had a good relationship.
Genesis 26:9 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.
Abraham pulled this same stunt on Pharoah and on Abimelech. Now Isaac does as well. In all cases no one threatened to take his wife from him. Why did these guys feel the need to do this? Maybe there is more we don’t know.
Genesis 26:10 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.
Genesis 26:11 And Abimelech charged all his people, saying, He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.
This shows a degree of morality even among the pagans here. They took adultery serious and feared the wrath of God for committing such an offence. The king even goes as far to threaten the death penalty for anyone of his people that would cause Isaac or Rebekah harm. That’s a pretty honorable guy.
Genesis 26:12 Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him.
Blessed greatly, even during a time of famine! We must trust God.
Genesis 26:13 And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great:
God’s hand was upon him. Everything he did was blessed. The birthright Abraham passed down to Isaac was a real promise and it is coming to pass. We too can count on God’s promises. Remember, Isaac was about to leave the land because of the drought, but God told him to stay. Had Isaac left he would not have been blessed like this. There is a lesson here for us as well. We must put our trust in God and lay claim to His promises, even during times of trouble.
Genesis 26:14 For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him.
Like Isaac, America too is envied for our great wealth and possessions. So many parallels.
Genesis 26:15 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.
Genesis 26:16 And Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us; for thou art much mightier than we.
Isaac was growing so powerful that he was becoming a nation within a nation. Abimelech no doubt feared he was going to lose power if Isaac stayed any longer. Christianity has done this in the past to other nations as well (Matt. 13:32-33). So even if we do become a minority in America, things can always turn around if God blesses our seed.
Genesis 26:17 And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there.
Genesis 26:18 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.
Genesis 26:19 And Isaac's servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water.
Genesis 26:20 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.
Esek means “contention”.
Genesis 26:21 And they digged another well, and strove for that also: and he called the name of it Sitnah.
Sinah means “strife”.
We see here a type in Isaac of a man going through contention and strife. Isaac didn’t give up. He kept digging more wells.
Genesis 26:22 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.
Rehoboth means “wide places or streets”.
God didn’t make it totally easy for him. Perhaps God was testing Isaac. Would Isaac give up because of the opposition or would he move forward in faith? Remember, God had told him to stay in the land during the famine. It would have been easy for Isaac to now doubt God and say, “Why did I stay in this land, I should have just gone down to Egypt where I knew I could get water. I thought God was going to bless me.” Isaac didn’t say that, he kept the faith and persevered.
"Keep digging wells. If your enemy plugs them up, then dig another one, and another one."
Genesis 26:23 And he went up from thence to Beersheba.
Genesis 26:24 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.
A family or race can be blessed or cursed by God. Canaan and his offspring was cursed (Gen. 9:25). But in this case Abraham’s offspring was blessed. Remember that as a father. You can bring blessings or curses upon your offspring. What happens between you and God matters (See Exod. 34:7).
Genesis 26:25 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.
Genesis 26:26 Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar, and Ahuzzath one of his friends, and Phichol the chief captain of his army.
Genesis 26:27 And Isaac said unto them, Wherefore come ye to me, seeing ye hate me, and have sent me away from you?
Genesis 26:28 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;
These pagans knew God was with Isaac and they are doing a wise thing by making a peace treaty with him.
Lesson. We should live at peace with our non-believing neighbors the best we can. Don’t be a trouble maker. Now I’m talking about in business and other affairs of life. I’m not talking about softening Biblical truth in order to get along with non-believers. You should civil with non-believers at your job, with your neighbors, and things like that.
Genesis 26:29 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.
Genesis 26:30 And he made them a feast, and they did eat and drink.
It’s possible they may have even shared a beer or two together and just made small talk about the famine, their families, and the such. They are being civil with one another. I go to various social events in my community and often talk to people with totally different religious and political views. Many of them know we are devoted Biblical Christians and I think seeing us there, not trying to preach to them, but to just hang out with them, I think speaks louder than trying to go there to “save them”.
Sometimes we’ll lightly joke around with them about our different beliefs, and that’s fine. And sometimes we do get a chance to plant seeds or answer a question from someone who is curious. But I don’t go there frothing at the mouth like a desperate puppy dog looking for a new convert. That’s not what I’m there for.
I think that’s what gives Christians a bad name sometimes, desperately trying to get others to believe. That’s not me. I don’t like begging people to come to Christ. Hey man, it’s their loss. If they want to go to a different place than us when they die then that’s up to them. They know what I believe.
I’ll pray for them, help them if they need help, or try to answer any question they might have, but I’m not going to sit there and beg them to be a Christian. They have to want it or it wouldn’t be real anyway.
Genesis 26:31 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.
Back in these days, getting up early in the morning was important, especially when traveling long distances. They needed all the daylight they could to get to place to place.
Genesis 26:32 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.
Genesis 26:33 And he called it Shebah: therefore the name of the city is Beersheba unto this day.
Sheba meaning “oath”. No doubt acknowledging that God was true to His promise that Isaac would be blessed if he remained in the land. Isaac’s obedience, faith, and perseverance eventually leads to blessings and peace.
Genesis 26:34 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:
Genesis 26:35 Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.
Sort of an unexpected way to close the chapter. First we have Isaac obeying the Lord and keeping his faith through famine, contention, and strife. But now we have Esau marrying two Canaanite women causing great grief to his parents. It is an understatement to say that Esau was a huge disappointment.
And you know what. Godly couples can raise children that end up disappointing them greatly. This does not necessarily mean that Isaac and Rebekah failed in parenting Esau. God himself had a son, Satan, who caused him great disappointment. Sometimes these things just happen and they are out of our control.