The Cloud of Witnesses
Former title Lessons From the People of the Bible
Lesson 5: Isaac – The Faithful Man
Isaac wasn’t perfect. He was human, just like you and me; however, like King David, he had a heart after God. After God told him not to go down to Egypt despite the local famine, Isaac kept his family in Gerar, in Philistia.
However, like his father Abraham before him, he lied to the Philistines about Rebekah, telling them she was his ‘sister’ rather than his wife - hoping that the same deceit that Abraham had used would save his life – regardless of the humiliation and possible danger to Rebekah.
Ironically, his deceit was uncovered by his behaviour with Rebekah. Loving her so much he could not restrain his passion; his actions were seen and correctly interpreted. He was summoned by King Abimelech and reprimanded. However, God made sure that the result was that both Isaac and Rebekah were protected by the King’s decree, that neither of them should be molested for fear of the death sentence.
Again God was gracious - and as with Abraham - instead of being punished, Isaac continued to dwell in the land and became extremely wealthy through hard labour and good farm management – and the Lord’s blessing.
Being a diligent farmer, he not only sowed liberally but also went around unstopping the wells Abraham had dug which the Philistines had filled in. When Abimelech told him to move on; he didn’t argue but graciously did so, continuing to restore the wells the Philistines had ruined – renaming them the names Abraham had originally called them.
The Philistines pursued him until he reached Rehoboth, when at last he felt freedom to move around as he pleased. He eventually arrived at Beersheba and settled there. There he met with God who reiterated the Covenantal promise.
In the end Abimelech arrived to strike a mutual non-aggression Treaty. The thing that had impacted the Philistine King the most was that Isaac had shown so vividly that he trusted and served the living God. That was evident in both his working as unto God and the obvious fact that the Lord was continuing to bless him in every way.
As we read in Proverbs 16: 7 - “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies live at peace with him.” - maybe it was Isaac’s life that was the inspiration behind this verse.
As we consider Isaac’s lifestyle, we see a man with a quiet confidence in God. He never forced his way on anyone else but rather went quietly about his work and life’s mission, seeking to live in peace and harmony with those around him.
Rather than seeking conflict or responding to false accusations or irrational demands, he meekly departed in peace. So far as we read, he never held a grudge or demanded retribution. He was a man of peace; secure in himself and in his position in God. In the end, his hard work, and his gentle and meek spirit paid dividends.
Isaac would say to us today...
Life is hard. There is no easy way to real success. Put in the hard yards, trust the future to God and you will reap the harvest due to you.
Father, the cry of this world is economise and spend for today. Help us remember that we are born for eternity and that what we do on earth is just the prelude to our eternal destiny. Help us to invest generously and wisely in Your Kingdom, so we receive a bumper harvest for Your glory. Amen.
Matthew 13:1-23; Matthew 25:31-40; 2 Corinthians 9:6-15.
Why do we think life is supposed to be easy?
Why do we need to be generous in order to reap a great harvest?
How are you sowing into the Kingdom of God and His harvest?