Malice Overcome by Zeal
Genesis 26:17-33
And Isaac departed there, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelled there.…

The conflict still continues between good and evil. Every town, every village, every congregation, every heart, feels this conflict being carried on. Often we go a long way to see the site of some famous battle-field. We stand and muse over the spot. Here, we say, was the standard fixed; down yonder slope the charge of the cavalry madly rushed. Yet we seldom stop to reflect on the fight that goes on within our souls, on the result of which hang eternal consequences. To this scene, to this struggle so close at hand, let us turn our eyes. If religion is not practical it is worthless — if it is always seeking distant spheres of operation, it is mistaken, for its first mission is at home. Yet how cold is our interest in our religious progress! How half-hearted our feelings on the subject! How ready we are to place the easy cushions of self-satisfaction under our conscience, and to allow only a very little of our time, and still less of our thoughts, to be devoted to religious matters. A quaint writer offers the prescription, "To produce spiritual indifference, add to five minutes only of prayer fourteen hours of worldliness, and nearly ten of torpor." Since then the cares of this world have, like the Philistines, filled up and choked those cool and pleasant wells which Abraham dug in the old time. Perhaps much of this arises from a dangerous habit of always letting the things of religion take a second place. But it would have been useless for Isaac and his servants to stand idly grieving over the choked-up wells and the want of water. There was nothing to be done but to labour diligently at the work and "dig the wells again." So if we would strive to renew the withered and damaged plants of spiritual life — if we would be hearty, active, sincere Christians, we must rouse ourselves to prayer, watchfulness and activity!

(W. Hardman, LL. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there.

WEB: Isaac departed from there, encamped in the valley of Gerar, and lived there.

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