and he became richer and richer, until he was exceedingly wealthy.
I. ISAAC IN HIS BUSINESS RELATIONS.
I. THE GRADUAL EFFECT OF SELF-INDULGENCE (cf. Matthew 19:24). The birthright despised not through sudden temptation or any marked step of sin, but by worldly interests taking up the thoughts. Customs and maxims of the world tend to neglecting the birthright (cf. Matthew 6:83). This is no ideal danger. No sharp line to tell when danger begins. Things perfectly allowable, even laudable, may choke spiritual life. Even in good work the mind may be so engrossed in the work itself that communion with God fades. There is need of habitual self-denial (John 6:38); of keeping guard over the tendencies of daily life; of definite aims, not passing wishes; of making personal communion with God an essential part of each day's work.
II. THE DEADENING EFFECT IN RELATION TO REPENTANCE. "Time enough, is a fatal mistake (Acts 24:25; 2 Corinthians 6:2). So far as we know Esau never repented. Even when Jacob received the blessing he was sorry, but there was no real change, no confession of error. Self was still the ruling power.
III. THE CALL TO CONSIDER OUR BIRTHRIGHT (Romans 8:17; 1 John 3:2). Not merely a future blessing. Thinking of it thus leads to its being left out of view. Now there is reconciliation, peace, spirit of adoption, the Spirit's witness in our hearts, freedom of access in prayer, and promises to be realized in growing likeness to Christ and communion with him. Few would deliberately postpone to the end of life the claiming their birthright and making sure of it, the work of repentance and faith, and the casting away what has hindered. But many without set purpose do delay. Each time the call is put away is a victory for the tempter. - M.
Isaac sowed .... and the Lord blessed him.
I. ISAAC HAD A GOOD FATHER. Happy the son whose father was chosen partner with God in a divine covenant, and twice blessed the son whose father had this testimony that he pleased God in the fulfilment of such a covenant, Not only great favour rests upon the head of such a father, but the richest blessings are pledged to his posterity.
II. ISAAC HAD TRAITS OF HIS OWN TO WHICH HIS PROSPERITY WAS LARGELY INDEBTED. His very name indicates that he was "a son of laughter and joy." True to his name, his nature was of the sunny and hopeful type. The value of this disposition in the successful conduct of life is simply incalculable. It is more than capital, for capital will perish. It is more than friends, for friends die. It is more than success, for it outlives success. When everything is gone, the man who has hope has all he needs. Thus Isaac went from well to well. He was envied at Gerar, and he moved to Esek. Esek was captured by the enemy. He hopefully journeyed to Sitnah, and dug again. But Sitnah was claimed. Should he give up now? No; all these choked wells were leading him to the broader valleys of Rehoboth, where was "room" — room for his still multiplying flocks and growing wealth.
III. The third secret of Isaac's prosperity was HIS EXTREME PEACEABLENESS. The spirit of the beatitudes dwelt in this man more than in any other man of his times.
IV. But there remains a fourth and final element to be noticed in the prosperity of Isaac. I have said that he had a good father behind him, a brave heart within him, a good will to men about him; but he put the crown upon his success by owning and seeking THE FAVOUR OF GOD ABOVE HIM.
(J. B. Clark.)
1. Such was the position of the sacred historian. He who relates this story, after describing the prosperity of this man, adds, "And the Lord blessed him" (ver. 12).
2. It was evident to Isaac himself. His prosperity, the rest he enjoyed from his enemies, and room to enlarge in, he ascribed all to God (ver. 22).
3. It was evident to his enemies. They were constrained to acknowledge that God was with him.
II. HIS PROSPERITY MADE HIM A MARK FOR ENVY. We are told that "the Philistines envied him." His prosperity was not without alloy. Every blessing of this world is accompanied by some disadvantage or evil. We have to pay a price for every earthly good.
III. HIS PROSPERITY SERVED TO DEVELOP THE VIRTUES OF HIS CHARACTER. Bacon has said that " Prosperity doth best discover vice, but adversity doth best discover virtue." And human experience shows that such are the usual effects of "these conditions. But in the case of Isaac there were virtues that shined out in his prosperity.
1. The virtue of patience. The Philistines carried their envy into action. They stopped up the wells which he had inherited from his father (ver. 15). But he met all this envy by patience. When persecuted in one place he fled to another. He removed from well to well (vers. 18-22).(1) His patience was victorious. It won upon his enemies. The Philistines were at length wearied out. They came round, and asked for a treaty (vers. 28-30).(2) His patience won the Divine approval. The Lord appeared to him and renewed the old promises. He was assured of perpetual protection and guidance.
2. The virtue of forgiveness. He had suffered a grievous wrong, but he forgave it on the entreaty of Abimelech. This was not the easy virtue of a man who has no strong feelings and who is soon won over. It was principle, and not a weak feeling, that made him forgive.
3. The virtue of reverence. He set up an altar for the worship of God, and pitched his tent there as if he would dwell in the Lord's house (ver. 25). He bears a public testimony to the obligation of religion. Many a man forgets God with increasing prosperity, but it was not so with Isaac. With him it served to deepen the feeling of reverence and to strengthen every duty of piety.
(T. H. Leale.)
1. He was active and enterprising (vers. 12, 13).
2. His industry and enterprise under the blessing of God resulted in immense wealth.
II. ISAAC IN SOCIETY.
1. As tried by society (vers. 14, 16, 19-21).
2. His bearing under these trials.(1) He bore envy and strife and hatred with perfect patience.(2) He separated himself from those around him rather than contend with them.(3) He recognized God's hand in all (ver. 22).(4) This example of Isaac, both in business and in society, is worthy of all commendation and imitation.
III. ISAAC IN HIS RELIGIOUS LIFE.
1. He was honoured with personal communications from God (ver. 24).(1) This proves that his conduct was approved by God.(2) This approval signified God's encouragement to him in view of future trials.
2. Isaac evinced his appreciation of these Divine promises and privileges by a renewed consecration of himself to God (ver. 25).Lessons:
1. Prosperity is as real a test of faith as adversity.
2. The test of prosperity is more severe than that of adversity.
3. Peace has ever been the choice of true believers.
4. Such a choice has ever met with the Divine approval.
5. Let Isaac's example be ours — in business, industrious and enterprizing; in society, peace-loving and yielding; in religion, ever prepared for communion with God, and ever yielding ourselves in consecration to God.
(D. C. Hughes, M. A.)I. ISAAC'S PATIENCE. An example of those who endure, instead of murmuring, rebelling, or despairing.
II. ISAAC'S PROTECTOR.
1. God directed Isaac.
2. God exhorted Isaac.
3. God encouraged Isaac.
III. ISAAC'S PROSPERITY.
1. "The man waxed great." He grew very prosperous, and his prosperity was continuous.
2. "The Lord blessed him." God's blessing makes rich, whether it be in temporal or in spiritual things.
3. The Lord made room for him (ver. 22).
4. The Lord made his enemies to be at peace with him.
(W. S. Smith, B. D.)
PeopleAbimelech, Ahuzzath, Bashemath, Basmath, Beeri, Elon, Esau, Isaac, Judith, Phichol, Rebekah
PlacesBeersheba, Egypt, Esek, Gerar, Rehoboth, Shibah, Sitnah, Valley of Gerar
TopicsBecoming, Continually, Continued, Forward, Gained, Greater, Grew, Grow, Increasing, Rich, Richer, Till, Waxed, Wealth, Wealthy
Outline1. Isaac, because of famine, sojourns in Gerar, and the Lord blesses him.
7. He is reproved by Abimelech for denying his wife.
12. He grows rich, and the Philistines envy his prosperity.
18. He digs wells.
23. God appears to him at Beersheba, and blesses him;
26. and Abimelech makes a covenant with him.
34. Esau's wives.
Dictionary of Bible ThemesGenesis 26:1-14
LibraryThe First Apostle of Peace at any Price
'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 …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
"Thou Art Now the Blessed of the Lord. "
Whether Every Lie is a Sin?
An Obscured vision
The Plan for the Coming of Jesus.
And to Holy David Indeed it Might More Justly be Said...
Covenanting Performed in Former Ages with Approbation from Above.
Jesus Sets Out from Judæa for Galilee.
Appendix ii. Philo of Alexandria and Rabbinic Theology.
Sundry Sharp Reproofs
The Section Chap. I. -iii.
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