Summary: Understanding why it is important not to live an ambiguous lifestyle, but to truly remain in God’s perfect will.
For the last couple of weeks Collier has been sick with the flu. His temperature would range between 102-103. One particular day his temperature went above 105 three different times. Each time we would place him in the bathtub with cool water. Each time our hearts would shatter because of his cries and pain. He looked at us with those big blue eyes that once were filled with excitement, now are filled with tears. Each look screamed, “Dad, please help me. Why are you doing this to me? What have I done to deserve this?” And each whimper just reaffirmed what I felt that he was feeling. The last time we placed him in the tub was the worst. His temperature was not dropping, and his screams and groans continued to penetrate deeper into my soul. What kept me focused was that I knew this would help him. At some point my prayer turned from him to what is it we need to learn from this? Almost sarcastically. I heard God speak to my heart saying, “Do you not think that I feel how you feel every time you experience a hot time in your life? What does the temperature do? It kills the infection. The water keeps the body from overheating. Is it comfortable? No. But it must be done in order for the body to heal. Just like when your spirit has the infection of sin. I allow the heat of life to purge it, and my spirit is the water that keeps you cool. And don’t think for a minute that I don’t feel what you as the father felt.” This gave me a better perspective of why God allowed Isaac to go through his famine.
I. The atmosphere where Isaac dwelt. (1) The
bible teaches that there was a famine. We in America don’t truly understand what famine really means. He was afraid of the famine. He was afraid of losing everything that he had, including his inheritance, and family. Ever been afraid of losing anything? Ever had you life savings threatened? The loss of family threatened?
There are several kinds of famines. Let’s look at some.
A. Physical famines. This is time when the
physical things are more than limited. Food is in short supply, money is non existent. Even our basic needs are not being met. The temptation is to lose faith in His provision.
B. Spiritual famines. The times in our lives
when we are not hearing God’s voice. When we not seeing the answer to our prayers. The temptation is to want to turn from God not to trust him and rebel.
C. Major loss. Death of loved one. Loss of
major investment, home, job, divorce, etc. This causes spiritual pain. The hurt is real and at times overwhelming. The pain forces us inward. Often depressing us. The temptation is to continue down the road of self pity away from God.
What did Isaac’s famine cause him to want to do? RUN! He wanted to run to what appeared to be a safer place. He wanted to go to an area that looked like they had it together. Egypt. Only that wasn’t where God was working. Isn’t that what we do. We look for the easy route, the most convenient place. Why did God allow Isaac to go through a famine? Isaac needed to see that he wasn’t depending on God. Why does God allow us to experience famines? He simply wants us to see in what we are trusting. Are we living in dependence of earthly things or are we living in the assurance of God? He wants us to come to a realization that no matter our circumstances, He is the safe haven, the place where we truly abound!
II. The assurance from God where Isaac dwelt. (2-5)
A. God’s command. (2) Isaac wanted to
run, but God commanded him to stay and wait for God’s direction. God said, “Do not go down”. Every time we run, we literally go down away from God. We must wait on God, He will direct our paths.
B. God’s contract. (3-5) When we wait look
At what God promises. “I will be with you and bless you, I will give these lands, I will perform the oaths…, I will make your descendants multiply,”. When we wait on God’s direction, His contract with us is that we walk with Him. This affects our family’s and friends, and enemies. (Abraham)
III. The ambiguous lifestyle Isaac chose. (6)
Where he lived had two meanings. In one respect he was obeying God by living in Gerar. However if you look on a map you will see that Gerar is as close to Egypt as you can get and still be “in the promised land”. So outwardly it looked like He was trusting God. However inwardly, he was not. Isaac chose to ride the fence so to speak. He chose not to live in the center of the God’s promise. But he chose to live near the outskirts, just in case it became to hot and he needed a way of escape.