Summary: When trouble comes, just remember the promises of God and persevere.
On Saturday, May 21, 1927, a New York evening paper contained an expert’s elaborate demonstration of the impossibility of flight across the Atlantic Ocean. The funny thing is, on the first page of that very same paper, was the headline flung across the top in gigantic letters: “LINDBERG HAS ARRIVED!” And underneath was an article describing the first transcontinental flight by Charles Lindberg. When the “experts” were saying it can’t be done, Charles Lindberg did it. He flew across the Atlantic Ocean.
Whenever you attempt anything worthwhile, There will always be those critics who say, “It can’t be done.” There will always be those who oppose. There will always be those who fight you. But that doesn’t need to stop you from doing what you know God has called you to do.
The question is: What do you do, as people of faith, when opposition comes? What do you do when the critics try to shut you down? What do you do when your detractors try to thwart or discredit what God wants to do through you? Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Genesis 26, Genesis 26, where Isaac, a man of faith, faces opposition from the Philistines.
Genesis 26:12 And Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. The LORD blessed him... (ESV)
Now, the normal yield in a good year was 25 to 50-fold. Isaac reaped 100-fold – i.e., 100 times what he planted!
Genesis 26:13-15 ...and the man became rich, and gained more and more until he became very wealthy. He had possessions of flocks and herds and many servants, so that the Philistines envied him. (Now the Philistines had stopped and filled with earth all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father. (ESV)
Now remember, these are days of drought and famine (vs.1). Water is very scarce, so these wells are very important! The Philistines are trying to starve Isaac out of existence, because they are envious of his success.
Genesis 26:16 And Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we” (ESV) – i.e., too numerous.
In a land with limited resources, there is not enough to sustain both Abimelech’s people and Isaac’s vast and growing household.
Genesis 26:17-18 So Isaac departed from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar and settled there. And Isaac dug again the wells of water that had been dug in the days of Abraham his father, which the Philistines had stopped after the death of Abraham. And he gave them the names that his father had given them. (ESV)
Instead of fighting, Isaac simply moves on and reopens the wells his father had dug years before. You see, Isaac is trying to establish his presence in the land, claiming his father’s wells by right of inheritance. That’s why he gives them the same names. Then he goes on to dig another well.
Genesis 26:19 But when Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and found there a well of spring water... (ESV)
Literally, a well of living water. This was an artesian well with running water – a very valuable and important find in the midst of drought.
Genesis 26:20-21 the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen, saying, “The water is ours.” So he called the name of the well Esek [which means contention or dispute], because they contended with him. Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over that also, so he called its name Sitnah (ESV) – which means enmity or opposition.
Actually, the name, Satan, comes from this very word. For you see, he IS the adversary. He IS the hostile opposition to every believer. But not even Satan can stop God’s people from accomplishing God’s will in their own lives.
Genesis 26:22 And he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name Rehoboth [which means room], saying, “For now the LORD has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.”
Isaac doesn’t fight back. He just moves on and digs another well until the Philistines finally give up and let him have his space.
I like the way Paul Overstreet put it in a song several years ago (www.youtube.com/watch?v=UP6-ZUFtB0k&list= RDoVeml28Eo3w&index=11) –
Ike had a blessing from the Lord up above,
Gave him a beautiful woman to love,
A place to live, some land to farm,
Two good legs and two good arms.
The Devil came sneaking around one night,
Decided he would do a little evil to Ike.
Figured he hit ole Ike where it hurts so he
Filled up all Ike’s wells with dirt
Ike went out to get his morning drink,