Isaac and Abimelech

Scripture Passage: 
Genesis 26:1-33

INTRODUCTION:  As a person, Isaac was the type of man that hated to deal with conflict.  This chapter shows him dealing a lot with what he liked the least—conflict.  He has to be warned against going down into Egypt in order to avoid the troubles of famine.  He then tells the same lie his father did in order to protect himself—except with Isaac, it was a complete lie.  He makes a fortune, but has to deal with the envy of those who are jealous of him.  Finally, he digs the wells of Abraham and has to battle over them.  But…he prospers in the end.  Watch this story and see how Isaac learns to deal with conflict in his life and how God blesses him in the end.

  1. THE BATTLES ISAAC FACED (Genesis 26:1-21)
    1. Facing Famine (Genesis 26:1-5)
      1. A second famine (Genesis 26:1; see Genesis 12:10)
      2. The appearance of the Lord (Genesis 26:2-5)
        1. The command not to go down to Egypt (Genesis 26:2)
        2. The promises of Abraham restated (Genesis 26:3-4)
          1. Multiplication of seed (Genesis 26:4)
          2. Land for the seed (Genesis 26:3-4)
          3. Blessing through the seed (Genesis 26:4)
        3. A reminder of the faithfulness of Abraham (Genesis 26:5)
    2. Facing Failure (Genesis 26:6-11)
      1. Isaac lies out of fear (Genesis 26:6-7).
        1. This is a repeat of the lies of Abraham (Genesis 12:11-13; Genesis 20:2-13).
        2. Both lies were based upon faithlessness.
      2. Isaac’s lie is found out (Genesis 26:8).
        1. The lie was uncovered for “a long time.”
        2. Abimelech looked out a window and saw Isaac with Rebekah.
      3. Isaac faces up to his lie (Genesis 26:9).
        1. Abimelech reveals his knowledge of Isaac and Rebekah.
        2. Isaac claims he lied lest he would have to die for her.
      4. God protects him despite his lie (Genesis 26:10-11).
        1. Abimelech warns Isaac about the dangers caused by his sin (Genesis 26:10).
        2. Abimelech warns his people about the dangers of touching Isaac or Rebekah (Genesis 26:11).
    3. Facing Fortune (Genesis 26:12-16)
      1. Isaac is greatly blessed in the land (Genesis 26:12-13).
        1. Isaac receives an hundredfold of what he sowed (Genesis 26:12).
        2. Isaac waxed great and grew until he became very great (Genesis 26:13).
      2. The Philistines envy Isaac’s wealth (Genesis 26:14).
        1. Isaac had possession of flocks.
        2. Isaac had possession of herds.
        3. Isaac had a great store of servants.
        4. The Philistines envy him.
      3. The Philistines stop up the wells of Abraham (Genesis 26:15).
      4. The Philistines ask Isaac to leave (Genesis 26:16).
        1. Abimelech asks Isaac to leave because of his might.
        2. Isaac was only one man with his possessions, yet the Philistines realize that Isaac is mightier than they are.
    4. Facing Friction (Genesis 26:17-21)
      1. Isaac digs again the wells of Abraham (Genesis 26:17-18).
        1. Isaac departs and pitches his tent in the valley of Gerar (Genesis 26:17).
        2. Isaac digs again the wells which they had digged in the days of Abraham (Genesis 26:18).
        3. The Philistines had stopped them up (Genesis 26:18).
        4. Isaac calls their names the same (Genesis 26:18).
      2. Isaac finds a well of springing water in the valley (Genesis 26:19).
      3. The Philistines fight him over Esek (Genesis 26:20).
        1. The herdmen of Gerar claim that the water was theirs.
        2. Isaac names the well Esek because they strove with him.
      4. The Philistines fight him over Sitnah which means hatred (Genesis 26:21).
  2. THE BLESSINGS OF FAITHFULNESS (Genesis 26:22-33)
    1. Receiving Room (Genesis 26:22)
      1. The third well does not bring contention.
      2. Isaac names the well Rehoboth which means room.
      3. Isaac praises God for the absence of trial.
    2. Receiving Reassurance (Genesis 26:23-25)
      1. The Lord appears again to Isaac (Genesis 26:23-24).
        1. Isaac goes up to Beersheba (Genesis 26:23).
        2. The Lord appears to Isaac with a message of comfort (Genesis 26:24).
          1. I am the God of Abraham thy father.
          2. Fear not.
          3. For Abraham’s sake
            1. I am with thee.
            2. I will bless thee.
            3. I will multiply thy seed.
      2. Isaac calls on the name of the Lord (Genesis 26:25).
        1. Isaac builds an altar in Beersheba.
        2. Isaac calls on the name of the Lord.
        3. Isaac pitches his tent there.
        4. Isaac’s servants dig a well.
    3. Receiving Reconciliation (Genesis 26:26-31)
      1. The Philistines seek reconciliation with Isaac (Genesis 26:26-29).
        1. A committee of men come to Isaac seeking an oath (Genesis 26:26).
          1. Abimelech
          2. Ahuzzath, one of Abimelech’s friends
          3. Phichol, the chief captain of the army
          4. Abimelech and Phichol came to Abraham years before (Genesis 21:22-32).
            1. They were seeking an oath with him because of the favor of God on his life (Genesis 21:22-24).
            2. This oath was also made at Beersheba (Genesis 21:32).
          5. Isaac asks of the purpose for their visit (Genesis 26:27).
          6. The men desire an oath because of God’s favor on Isaac (Genesis 26:28-29).
        2. Isaac makes a covenant with them (Genesis 26:30-31).
          1. Isaac prepares a feast for the men (Genesis 26:30).
          2. The men rise up in the morning and sware one to another (Genesis 26:31).
    4. Receiving Refreshment (Genesis 26:32-33)
      1. The same day Isaac’s servants find water again (Genesis 26:32).
      2. Isaac calls it Shebah which means an oath (Genesis 26:33).

CONCLUSION:  What did Isaac do right in order to come out right in the end?  1) He obeyed God’s direct commands (Genesis 26:2);  2) He admitted when he was wrong (Genesis 26:9);  3) He did not use his advantage to hurt his adversaries (Genesis 26:16-17);  4) He went back to the wells that had already been dug; i.e., he used the proven ways;  5) He remained faithful until the blessing came (Genesis 26:20-22);  6) He called on the name of the Lord (Genesis 26:25);  7) He made an agreement of mutual non-aggression with his enemies.  How can we handle conflict today?

David Reagan and Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 29:26

Many seek the ruler's favour; but every man's judgment cometh from the LORD.