Summary: Isaac & Abimelech. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: Genesis chapter 26 verses 1-33:
• A preacher was addressing his congregation;
• When he held up a large piece of paper.
• He then took from his pocket a marker pen;
• And made a black dot in the centre of it.
• Then he held the paper up before the people and asked them what they saw.
• One person quickly replied, “I see a black mark.”
• “Right,” the preacher replied. “What else do you see?”
• Complete silence prevailed. “Don’t you see anything other than the dot?” he asked.
• A chorus of noes came from the audience.
• “I’m really surprised,” the preacher commented.
• “You have completely overlooked the most important thing of all—the sheet of paper.”
• Then he made the application.
“He said that in life we are often distracted by small, dot-like disappointments or painful experiences, and we are prone to forget the innumerable blessings we receive from the hand of the Lord”.
• But like the sheet of paper,
• The good things are far more important than the adversities that monopolize our attention.
Quote: Someone has written:
“As you travel down life’s pathway, may this ever be your goal:
Keep your eye upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole!”
There was an advertisement in a local newspaper that said:
REWARD: Lost dog. Three legs, blind in left eye, right ear missing, tail broken,
recently neutered. Answers to the name “Lucky”.
• The Hebrew word (language of the Old Testament) for ‘luck’ is ‘Gad’,
• So I guess you can live by ‘Gad’ or by God – I know which I prefer!
• As Christians we can be confident that God is good;
• And God is a God of blessing!
The theme running throughout this chapter is God’s blessings:
• The chapter begins with the promise of God’s blessings upon Isaac (verse 3):
• “Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you”.
• And then ends with Abimelech (vs 29) acknowledging God’s blessings on Isaac.
• C.E.V: “The LORD has truly blessed you."
This is a great chapter because it teaches us 3 important truths:
• WHO God blesses,
• WHY God blesses,
• And HOW God blesses.
• And most importantly we discover in this chapter, that God’s blessings;
• Are not hindered by our circumstances, our mistakes, or the opposition of others.
Quote: You could summarize Genesis Chapter 26 in one sentence:
“God, in his goodness and grace, blesses his people despite the situation,
despite their failings, and despite opposition”.
Note: Genesis Chapter 26 is the only chapter in the Bible where Isaac is the focus of
• There are other chapters in which he is mentioned, but he is not the centre of attention.
• But in this chapter he is the main player, the star actor in this narrative.
• As we go through the chapter we are going to see Isaac in four different situations;
• Interestingly they are all situations that, his own father Abraham also experienced.
• So for Isaac will it be a case of ‘like father like son’?
• Will he make the same mistakes that his father did? Or will he respond differently?
(A). He faced his father's choice (vs 1-5).
“Now there was a famine in the land--besides the earlier famine of Abraham's time--and Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines in Gerar.
2 The LORD appeared to Isaac and said, Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live.
3 Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham.
4 I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed,
5 because Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees and my laws”.
Verse 1: “Now there was a famine in the land”:
• After his father’s death, Isaac had been living in the Negab region:
• When food became scarce because of a famine he was forced to move on.
• This presented Isaac with a problem;
• Where to go? He had an important choice to make;
• He could choose Egypt, which was irrigated by the Nile.
• Or he could head for the coast of Canaan, with its higher rainfall.
• Back in Genesis chapter 12, Isaac’s father Abraham had faced the same situation:
• And Abraham had opted for Egypt (which with hind-sight was not a good choice).