How in tune are you to the mercies of God in your life?
As we discovered in our study of Genesis 26 on Sunday, as we grow in our understanding of the Lord’s mercies and are ready to experience them, it increases our gratefulness, our hope — indeed our quality of life.
This particular chapter is about Abraham’s son Isaac — and we see that God wants to bless Isaac just like the Lord blessed Abraham. But one of the things we notice about Isaac is that he avoids conflict — and that he wants peace. And as we know in life, conflict is inevitable and peace between human beings isn’t always possible.
And right off the bat we see Isaac repeating the sin Abraham committed — lying — by telling King Abimelech that his wife Rebekah is his sister. Of course, Abimelech soon saw right through Isaac’s deceit and confronted him and rebuked him. Amazing that once again the Bible openly acknowledges that man of God is absolutely subject to correction from a pagan — and it teaches us that the world is watching God’s people to see if indeed they live godly lives and practice what they preach.
But even after this sin, God blesses Isaac with great wealth. So much so that Abimelech told Isaac to leave since had become mightier than him. Amazingly sometimes the Lord pours out his blessings upon us even when we do wrong — and it’s an illustration of the biblical principle that ultimately God’s blessings aren’t dependent on what we do. It’s not a transaction between us and the Lord.
Rather it’s completely dependent on God and how he wants to pour out his blessings, his mercies, upon us.
It seemed wherever Isaac went and whatever he did, God blessed him. After he successfully dug wells in the Valley of Gerar and then moved on to Beersheba, verses 24 and 25 tell us that “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 will bless you and multiply your offspring for my servant Abraham’s sake.’ So, he built an altar there and called upon the name of the Lord and pitched his tent there. And there Isaac’s servants dug a well.”
Even Abimelech recognized what was happening and paid Isaac a visit — and he is as shocked as we are! “Why have you come to me, seeing that you hate me and have sent me away from you?” Isaac asked the king. Abimelech saw how the Lord was blessing Isaac and wanted to make a pact with him, which Isaac did, again moving again toward his goal of peace in life.
However, we see in the final verses of the chapter that total peace won’t come for Isaac, as his son Esau at age 40 “took Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite to be his wife, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite,and they made life bitter for Isaac and Rebekah.”
What is it that you’re seeking in life? Is it peace? Is it security? Is it safety? Is it adventure? Is it wealth? Whatever motivates you, don’t lose sight that it should be pursued with the filter of desiring God’s blessings — which we don’t always “deserve” and aren’t always what we planned on.
And as Pastor Scott emphasized, a deeper understanding of God’s mercies and why he pours them out on us will lead to good things — particularly an increased desire to seek after them. The Lord wants to pour out his blessings so that we will recognize and appreciate what a good and loving father he is — and be drawn to him. Such an understanding changes how we think and act. It’s the difference between “being good” — as part of a transaction — and being in relationship with the Lord because He is good! And that’s when the blessings can really flow.