IT’S ALL SMALL STUFF (GENESIS 26:12-33)
Snoopy, Charlie Brown’s dog, was having one of those lazy, carefree days doing nothing as he plopped his stomach on the floor in his kennel and then walked around aimlessly and restlessly, sighing in his thoughts: “I’m growing old, and I’ve never done anything. I’ve never chased a rabbit...I’ve never barked at a burglar. Cats scar me to death. I hate retrieving ducks. All I ever do is sleep.”
After pondering his options, Snoopy went back to sleep, this time with his head contentedly rested on a rock, his back on the floor, facing the blue sky, admitting to himself: “Well, I guess each of us has his own special calling.”
Unlike Abraham, Isaac lived an easy life and had it made. He was a boring guy who lived a ho-hum life and made no ripples in life. Unlike his father and his son, he did not loom large in the Bible; he was more like a small-print footnote stuck between two important dissertation and larger-than–life figures. His father, Abraham, was the father of many nations and Jacob, his son, was the father of the nation Israel. Unlike Abraham and Jacob who traveled abroad, Isaac lived a sheltered life and had never left home. His parents even ordered a bride for him, but after the death of both parents, he had a rude awakening. Curiously, he imitated his parents’ tag team lie disastrously and gambled with Rebekah’s life when he told the Philistines that she was his sister (Gen 26:1-11).
God did not let Isaac down even though He let him fail. Isaac later made up for his past inexperience, mistakes and immaturity. Slowly, he stepped out of his father’s shadow, experienced God for himself and got along impressively with his neighbors.
How should we respond to people who intimidate us? Who should we turn to when we are alone and afraid? Why is it more blessed to turn the other cheek than to fight tooth and nail when our enemies offend us?
Shut Up and Pull Out Like a Gentleman
12Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the LORD blessed him. 13The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy. 14He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him. 15So all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up, filling them with earth. 16Then Abimelech said to Isaac, “Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us.” 17So Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar and settled there. 18Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them. 19Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there. 20But the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen and said, “The water is ours!” So he named the well Esek, because they disputed with him. 21Then they dug another well, but they quarreled over that one also; so he named it Sitnah. 22He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarreled over it. He named it Rehoboth, saying, “Now the LORD has given us room and we will flourish in the land.” 23From there he went up to Beersheba. (Gen 26:12-23)
When my wife and I agreed to the terms of a house several years ago, little did we know that trouble was ahead. On the day of our wedding anniversary, twenty days before moving in, our agent called and told us that the owner had faxed a note to him saying that he was canceling the sale. On top of a regular mortgage, the owner apparently owed the government $50,000.00. He also had back taxes, five liens, and bank loans that totaled more than his house’s asking price. Besides facing the liens that would prevent him from selling, he also wanted to sell with enough profit to pay off his debts and to retire.
On our agent’s advice, we dutifully went through mediation and arbitration as stipulated on the contract, but the seller did not budge, return calls or even open his door to a hand-delivered mediation letter from his broker. On the day we were supposed to move in, I drove by the house three times, staring at the house. The Sunday after the initial move-in date, when I remarked to my wife that we were supposed to move in that weekend, she replied, “Do you know this is the third time you are saying it?” I replied, “I know, but I can’t help it.”