Friday, January 14, 2022

Isaac and the Wells: The Oath of Peace

Isaac and the Wells
Image Credit - Public Domain Image via Wikimedia Commons

Isaac and the Wells

In Genesis 26, we are introduced to the story of Isaac and the wells, which leads up to his oath of peace between himself and Abimelek.  

The story opens with news of famine in the land, another famine besides the one during Abraham's time. Due to the famine, Isaac travels toward Gerar, which is present-day south-central Israel. God appears to Isaac to tell him not to travel to Egypt. God instructs Isaac to live in the land where God tells him to live. God always keeps his promises. Here, He reminds Isaac of the oath He had sworn to his father, Abraham.

Do not go down to Egypt.  Live in the land where I tell you to live. Stay in this land for a while and I will be with you and will bless you.  For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father, Abraham.  I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping My commands, my decrees, and my instructions.  So Isaac stayed in Gerar. - Genesis 26:2-6

While there, Isaac tells Abimelek the same lie his father, Abraham, had told. Just as Abraham had told Abimelek that Sarah was his sister, Isaac tells Abimelek that Rebekah is his sister, not his wife. Isaac is afraid the men in the area will kill him for Rebekah because Rebekah is so beautiful. As with Abraham, Abimelek realizes that Isaac has lied. Abimelek goes to Isaac with the same concern that he encountered with Abraham.  

"What is this you have done to us?  One of the men might well have slept with your wife and you would have brought guilt upon us." - Genesis 26:10

Isaac explains that he lied because he was afraid for his life because of Rebekah's beauty.  Abimelek orders his people to not harm Isaac or Rebekah.  Anyone who harms either of them will be put to death.

Isaac stays and plants crops. God blesses Isaac so that he reaps 100 times what he had planted. Isaac becomes wealthy with many flocks, herds, and servants. The Philistines grow jealous of Isaac and send him away. Abimelek tells Isaac that he has become too powerful for them.

Isaac doesn't fight the situation.  He moves, but he doesn't go far.  He remains in the Valley of Gerar.  After Abraham died, the Philistines stopped up the wells that Abraham had dug there, so Isaac unstopped them and renamed them the same names that his father, Abraham, had named them.

Isaac's servants dig as well and discover a well of fresh water, but the herders in Gerar fight for the well, claiming that it belongs to them.

Isaac's servants dig another well, but the herders in Gerar claim that well also.

Isaac's servants dig a third well.  This time, the herders in Gerar leave him alone.  Isaac names the third well, Rehoboth, saying that the Lord has given them room so they will now flourish in the land.

From Gerar, Isaac goes to Beersheba.  The Lord appears to Isaac and says:

I Am the God of your father, Abraham.  Do not be afraid for I am with you.  I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of My servant, Abraham. - Genesis 26:24

Isaac does as his father, Abraham, had done.  He builds an altar and calls on the name of the Lord.  He pitches a tent there and his servants dig another well.

Now, Abimelek comes to Isaac along with Ahuzzath, Abimelek's personal advisor, and Phicol, the commander of Abimelek's forces.  

Isaac asks them why they have come to him since they had sent him away.

They tell Isaac that they clearly see that the Lord is with Isaac, so they want to make an oath of peace with Isaac.  

Isaac prepares a feast for them. Early the next morning, they swear an oath of peace, and Abimelek and his men go away in peace.

Isaac's servants report to them that the fourth well is a success.  They found water.

Teach the Kids

Here is a short video that is great for teaching this story to kids.


What lessons do we learn from Genesis 26?

1.  God always keeps his promises.  

2.  God blesses obedience and faithfulness.

3.  It is a good thing if we can settle our differences peacefully.

Isaac and the Wells
Isaac and the Wells

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