Contrasts in Character
Genesis 26:17-33
And Isaac departed there, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelled there.…

What a detestable man Isaac is when he tells lies to the king of the Philistines! Then he goes out well-hunting, as if he deserved to find water in the earth; and, secondly, calls the wells after the names which his father Abraham had given them. What contradictions we are! — telling lies to a living king, and sentimentally honouring a dead father. Mean man! has Isaac left any posterity upon the earth? Do we look upon him as an ancient character, or as a modern instance? We are doing the same thing ourselves in some form or way. What if in the very middle of our life there be just one great black lie, and lying outside two or three beautiful touches of sentiment — quite a skill in the drawing up of epitaphs, and quite a tearful and watery way of talking about old fathers and old associations? All these speeches make the lie the worse; when we see how little good we might be and might do, it aggravates the central evil of the life into overpowering and intolerable proportions. We never know how profane is the blasphemy until we catch ourselves in prayer. To think that the tongue blackened by that profanity could have also uttered that same prayer! Why, in the contrast is a new accusation and a fresh reproach. But let us follow Isaac in his well-digging. Man must have wells; man must go out of himself and pray to God in digging, if he will not pray in liturgy and uttered hymn and psalm in words. God lays His hand upon us at unexpected places: if we will not fall down upon our knees, we must still bend the proud back and dig in His earth in quest of water. At best we are dependants, seekers, always in quest of something which another hand alone can give us. Oh that men were wise! that in these true and inevitable providences we might see the beginning of inward and spiritual revelations, and that, knowing the goodness of God in the gift of water and of bread, we might proceed to know that ineffable goodness which expressed itself in sacrificial and propitiatory blood. From the lower to the higher, I charge thee to go, or else thy reasoning is a base sophism and the beginning of an awful crime.

(J. Parker, D. 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.

The Prosperous are Subject to Envy
Top of Page
Top of Page