The Kraig Josiah Rice
Devotional Bible Commentary on Genesis

Genesis chapter 26

Kraig J. Rice
www.7-star-admiral.com

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Genesis chapter twenty six
(Clicking on these links will move you down this web page)
  Chapter 26- Obedience is better than sacrifice
  Gen. 26:1 - 5 God is concerned about our obedience
  Gen. 26:6 - 11 Isaac deceived Abimelech
  Gen. 26:12 - 25 A trial of Isaac's faith?
  Isaac learned patience
  Isaac learned perseverance
  A name study
  Gen. 26:26 - 33 The way of peace
  Gen. 26:34 - 35 Esau made some bad choices
  Esau married two children of the devil
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Genesis Chapter 26
Obedience is better than sacrifice

God is concerned about our obedience:
"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. And the Lord appeared unto him, and said:
"Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: 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; 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; because that Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws."
(Genesis 26:1-5).

Isaac was chosen or elected by God. The blood line or family genealogy of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, flowed through Isaac. It was not necessary for God to make a separate covenant with Isaac as God's covenant with Abraham was still valid. As we look at what God told Isaac, we can observe what God wills for him concerning the promised land and his posterity.

God is very concerned about obedience from His children. One time, God through His prophet, Samuel, stated:
"And Samuel said: hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams"
(1 Samuel 15:22).

God stated that Abraham obeyed "My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws". Do you and I obey God's word? Do you and I obey God's rules and His laws? If not, there is no better time to start than right now. Let's put Him first in our life. Let's put Him on the throne of our heart. And let's give him the devotion, love, and obedience that is due Him.


Isaac deceived Abimelech:
"And Isaac dwelt in Gerar- 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. 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. 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. 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. And Abimelech charged all his people, saying: he that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death"
(Genesis 26:6-11).

Isaac used the same trick that his father had used- he repeated the sins of his father in lying and deceiving to protect himself. There is an old saying: "acorns never fall far from the tree". There is another old saying: "family values are caught, not taught". That means that children oftentimes act like their parents act. Children do this more often than following any rules that have been given them by their parents.

Why is this Abimelech mentioned in God's word? I don't really know. This Abimelech might have been a righteous individual- one who loved and served the Lord and that is why God wanted him remembered. If that is so, then we can conclude that godly folks can sometimes be deceived- like Abimelech was by Isaac. Did telling this lie ruin Isaac's credibility for the Lord? Did it hurt his testimony? Abimelech could have punished Isaac. I am sure it crossed his mind. Sometimes, godly folks (like Abimelech) can make mistakes like misjudging and punishing others who may appear to be guilty to us but who actually are innocent of breaking any criminal laws- like Isaac was. But once we make a mistake like that we have to do everything in our power to correct it and make it right for the person who we have wronged. God may forgive one who makes an unintentional mistake, like Abimelech did, but He will judge the person who does not make it right with adequate restitution
(Genesis 20:3-18).

Why does God through Moses air out Isaac's dirty laundry for us to see? In other words, why does God allow us to see these sins of Isaac? What can we learn from Isaac's bad example? One thing we learn is that God watches everything that we do. Whatever evil we want to keep secret, He will expose. He does this to teach each one of us about Himself and also about ourself. He wants us to conform to the image of Jesus Christ. He does not want us, children of God, acting like children of Satan. Also we learn that each one of us will reap what we sow, for good or for evil. Later on, we will see that Isaac reaps what he sowed when Jacob deceives him into thinking that Jacob is Esau. As Abimelech was deceived by Isaac, so Isaac was deceived by Jacob.

Abimelech just happened to see Isaac love playing with Rebekah. Was this a Holy Spirit coincidence? Whether it was or not, God has ways of revealing the truth about our sin(s) to others. To lie and deceive was not the right thing for Isaac to do. Have you sinned against the Lord and want to keep it a secret? Not much will be kept secret forever. God will eventually expose it. And when he does, it might be for your own good.

Isaac and Rebekah lived in the land of the Philistines for many years. Some of the Philistines were righteous individuals who loved the Lord but there were others who were idol worshippers. I am thinking that Esau went to too many of their wild parties and got involved in things that he shouldn't have gotten involved in. The evil world system offers many lures to attract a person away from the Lord. And maybe his parents were not the best role models for God at the time. What was he doing? The bible states:
"...lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau..."
(Hebrews 12:16).
Evidently, he treated everything sacred with irreverence or contempt and had unmarried sex with some of the Philistine people. Spiritually speaking, he was moving away from the Lord (backsliding or getting spiritually cold) and moving towards Satan and the evil world system. This can be a slippery slope and if you find yourself going down this same slippery slope to sin, I encourage you to change your direction and start moving towards the Lord again. Sin splits and destroys and it is nothing that you want to embrace at all or for any length of time.

I believe that a true child of God can bring a trial upon himself or herself. What do I mean by that? When a person sins (misses the mark) then he or she might be unwittingly inviting the Lord to take some corrective measures in that person's life via the use of a trial of their faith. God allows trials in the life of a believer to make us more like Jesus. Did Isaac bring a trial upon himself? I will let you answer that question for yourself.


A trial of Isaac's faith?
"Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the Lord blessed him. And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great: for he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him. 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. And Abimelech said unto Isaac: go from us; for thou art much mightier than we. And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there. 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. And Isaac's servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water. 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. And they digged another well, and strove for that also: and he called the name of it Sitnah. 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. And he went up from thence to Beersheba. 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."
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 26:12-25).

Can a person be blessed by God and go through a trial at the same time? Isaac was in the land where God wanted him and God was blessing him. However, he had a legal controversy with some of the Philistines. Isaac needed a lot of water to allow his livestock to drink. His herdsmen contended against some of the Philistine herdsmen. I imagine that He lost several legal challenges and this persecution went on for several years. He feared that he was going to lose everything that he owned. Isaac suffered in this trial but it made him more patient and Christ like. Isaac originally lied and deceived to protect himself. That was his fear. He doubted that God could or would protect him. But now his faith was being tested. He leaned on God and began to trust God. God never let him down. God would prove to him, through this trial, that He would protect him and everything that he owned, including his livestock. Maybe the problems with his family were also a part of this trial. After the trial was over, He could trust God more fully
(John 20:27).

How many times in our life do you and I seem to have it all. We have everything materially that we want. We are blessed by God. But there is always a problem that we wrestle with on a long term basis. It just does not seem to go away. We struggle, we twist and turn, we manipulate, we pray, we complain- all to no avail. It is like an old piece of coal that is under continual pressure. That coal is pressed and squeezed until it turns into a diamond. Maybe God was doing that in Isaac's life. Maybe He is doing that in your life. The Apostle Paul had a similar problem
(2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Right now we are like an old piece of coal that God wants to turn into a beautiful diamond. But He has to allow pressure to change us for the better. There is an old saying: "when the world squeezes you like a sponge, make sure Jesus comes out!" A diamond is used on a wedding ring. God wants His church (His bride), not only to wear that beautiful diamond on a wedding ring, but to be that beautiful diamond so He can display us proudly to those in His universe. That is how valuable you are to Him.


Isaac learned patience:     
Isaac dug well after well. He was patient in doing this. Was God teaching him patience? Does God teach you and I patience? Every trial, patiently endured, produces patience
(Hebrews 12:1).


Isaac learned perseverance:
Isaac dug well after well and suffered because of it (the Philistine herdsmen took each one away). Isaac kept on doing what was right even though he was told it was wrong (this was the opinion of the Philistine herdsmen). The bible tells us not to be weary in well doing, so let's keep on doing what is right in spite of the opinion of the unsaved
(Galatians 6:9; 2 Timothy 3:13).

Isaac's well was plugged up. It is hard to worship God if your spiritual well is plugged up. It might be plugged up with selfishness, disobedience, sin, or something else. How did Isaac get his well unplugged? He worked hard and prayed a lot. He endured and patiently waited. He had to get his flesh (depravity) under control. He had to overcome much opposition. You might have to work hard to overcome opposition from Satan, temptations, and addiction(s). But you can do it if you rely on God's strength flowing through you. You may not be able to do it in your own strength because the flesh is very weak. That is why you have to rely on Him being strong through you.

The reward of his perseverence was sweet tasting water right from the well. Let's drink deeply from the spiritual well (Jesus Christ) and His life giving spiritual water every day
(John 4:10-14; John 7:38). Water is a type of the Word of God. Let's drink deeply every time we study the bible. Water helps wash away the dirt (sin) in our life.


A name study:
Where was Gerar located? Gerar was located just south of Jerusalem. There was a well at Gerar called Esek. The name Gerar means "pilgrimage" and the name Esek means "contention". So Isaac suffered contention on his pilgrimage through the promised land. You and I are also on a pilgrimage to our promised land of Heaven. They dug another well called Sitnah that means "hatred". Satan hates every true servant of the Lord. Satan will make sure that we have plenty of contention to keep us from getting to our promised land of Heaven. Satan tried to steal Isaac's blessings from God. I image that this was part of Isaac's trial. And Satan may try to steal away any blessings that you receive from God. You have to go to war against Satan and fight him every step of the way as Isaac's herdsmen had to fight against the Philistine herdsmen.

Isaac moved to Rehoboth that means "spaces" or "places". The promised land was large- there was room enough for everyone. And there is plenty of room in God's promised land of Heaven for you and I. There will never be overcrowding there.

Then Isaac moved to Beersheba that means "well of the oath". This well was once owned by Abraham
(Genesis 21:30-31). This was a fitting place for God to appear to Isaac to remind Isaac of the Abrahamic covenant. I imagine that Isaac's trial was over with at that time and he worshipped God in spirit and in truth there at Abraham's homemade altar.


The way of peace:
"Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar, and Ahuzzath one of his friends, and Phichol the chief captain of his army. And Isaac said unto them: wherefore come ye to me, seeing ye hate me, and have sent me away from you? 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; 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. And he made them a feast, and they did eat and drink. 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. 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. And he called it Shebah: therefore the name of the city is Beersheba unto this day"
(Genesis 26:26-33).

How did Isaac treat his enemies? He made friends out of his enemies. He welcomed them, fed them, gave them drink, put them up for the night, and entered into a peace treaty with them
(Romans 12:20). This is a great example for you and I to follow today.

Abimelech and Phichol came to Isaac, like they had done to Abraham, and entered into a peace treaty with him. It was obvious to them that God was blessing Isaac. In a similar way it may be obvious to your neighbors, friends, and co-workers that God is blessing you. That is why it is important that you be a good witness to them concerning Christ. That way, they can accept Him and have peace in their hearts.

The way of peace is always a good road to travel
(Matthew 5:9). It appears that God was very pleased with Isaac for entering into this peace treaty and rewarded him with a well of water. In other words, God rewarded him with his heart's delight. In a similar way, God may reward you with your heart's delight when you please Him. The way of peace is important to God. Remember, that Christ is called The Prince of Peace
(Isaiah 9:6). There is an old saying: "let your speech be full of grace seasoned with salt".

One of the friends of Abimelech was Ahuzzah. His name means "possession" or "seizing" or "collecting". This is what the tax man might do if you fail to pay your taxes on time. I wonder if they brought Ahuzzah along so they could collect taxes from Isaac. Maybe, if Isaac owed taxes, they forgave his debt and let him alone in peace.

Why was this a public peace treaty? It was a public witness in case one of them happened to change their mind later on. A public witness always carries more weight than a private one. When you are saved you might be asked to make an open or public declaration of your allegiance to God through Christ. This is to let everyone know about your decision.

They dug a water well and named it Shebah. The name Sheba (Shebah) can mean "captivity" or "old man" or "repose" or "oath". The name Beer means "a well". So, humorously, it could have been called the well of the old man or the well of repose- one lying down in the shade, next to the well, taking it easy. But Beersheba was called the well of the oath because it was there that Abraham entered into a peace treaty with Abimelech and Phichol
(Genesis 21:31).


Esau made some bad choices:
"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: which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah"
(Genesis 26:34-35).

Keeping in mind the ownership principle, who did Esau belong to- God or Satan? God indicates in His word that Esau belonged to Satan:
"Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright"
(Hebrews 12:16).
The word profane means "to treat something sacred with irreverence or contempt". This is how he treated his birthright gift to him from God. He enjoyed his sin and refused to repent. He did not care for God or anything about God. He worshipped his own flesh. Many folks are like that today- it is me first, me second, and me third. Selfishness was the order of the day for him. Esau was not saved- he did not belong to God. As a consequence, he acted like an unsaved person acted in those days.


Esau married two children of the devil:
Esau married two Hittite women who were idol worshippers (women who belonged to Satan). One was named Judith and the other Bashemath. The name Judith can mean "confession". Her father was Beeri. That name means "my well". Therefore, one can say that her name meant "confession for my well". This name sounds good on the surface until one understands it from the Satanic point of view. The well could mean her body. Satanists, then and today, make a confession to Satan for the fleshly wants and unbridled lusts they want from him. They are after much money, power, fame, and unrestrained sexual activity as part of their worship to the devil. The name Bashemath means "confusion of death". Her father was Elon. That name means "strong". Therefore, one can say that her name meant "strong confusion of death". Satan likes to keep people confused about death. He confused Eve about death in the Garden of Eden as he reached out for ownership of her soul. Let's not you and I be confused about where a saved person goes after he or she dies. The bible states:

"...to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord"
(2 Corinthians 5:8).

Esau brought these two unsaved, idol worshipping women home with him. So, what was the problem? The main problem was spiritual. These women probably got Esau to worship idols also. Years later, the idol worshipping wives of King Solomon got him to worship idols also and turned his heart away from God
(1 Kings 11:4). Just think of the gossip that went around- the grandson of Abraham was worshipping the devil. It was so bad, that God stated that he hated Esau. Why? Allegedly, because Esau was possessed by the devil
(Malachi 1:3). I believe that Isaac and Rebekah were Satanically oppressed.

Why do you think that Isaac and Rebekah were Satanically oppressed? Well, demons receive worship when idols are worshipped. As Esau and his wives kept on worshipping idols, Satan and his imps kept on coming to Esau's home to receive the worship that they desired so badly. Isaac and Rebekah lived in a nearby tent to Esau and his wives. It is the nature of Satan, not only to receive worship in a certain location where he is welcomed, but to also oppress any folks nearby who love the Lord. So I believe that Isaac and Rebekah, who belonged to God, were continually oppressed by Satan and his imps (demons and evil spirits) and these righteous folks had to resort to continuous spiritual warfare. The expression "grief of mind" can also be interpreted to mean "bitterness of spirit". That means that Esau and his wives grieved Isaac and Rebekah's spirits. I am sure that they had to go to intercessory prayer on behalf of Esau and his wives.

How bad do you think it was? These women acted like unsaved women did in those days. They did not love or worship God- one could say that they had a different value system as they did not go to church with Isaac and Rebekah. Those women dressed like unsaved women did in those days. One or both might have tried to sexually seduce Jacob. They probably ate food offered to idols. They may have been extremely selfish and spoiled- they may not have helped anyone but themselves. There may have been violent quarrels in the tent of Esau. And there may have been other reasons not mentioned here. That is why there was problems.

Esau, as a teenager, probably knew his grandfather, Abraham. He knew that Abraham wanted Isaac, his father, to marry a woman who loved the Lord. Esau knew what Abraham told his servant:
"And I will make thee swear by the Lord, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell"
(Genesis 24:3).
So, did Esau follow his grandfather's example and marry a woman who loved the Lord? I think not. Esau was 40 years old when he married. Years earlier, Isaac was 40 years old when he got married. But Esau was a big disappointment to his parents when he embraced Satan. Esau's spiritual condition was so bad that Rebekah did not want Esau to receive the birthright.

Sometimes the best of Christian families can have a son or daughter who goes astray. God does not make any robots. Each individual is wonderfully and specially made by Him and has free will. That individual can choose to love God or not. If you have an unsaved family member, pray for that individual on a daily basis
(James 5:16).

There is a wide separation between the spiritually saved and unsaved. The godly are at odds with the ungodly. Christ stated, in this regard, that He came to bring a sword- a spiritual sword of separation between saved and unsaved family members:
"...whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household"
(Matthew 10:32-36).

Esau made some bad choices in his life. Let us learn from his mistakes not to repeat any of them in our lives. He was a bad example for us to learn from.



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