Phil Cox


(Bible quotations are from the NIV unless otherwise stated)

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Dig another well

16th February 2008

There was famine in the land. Nevertheless, God told Isaac to stay in the land (Genesis 26v1-6) and promised to bless him mightily, and Isaac obeyed God. Soon, however, trusting in himself rather than in God, Isaac resorted to lying to protect himself (Genesis 26v11). Despite Isaac's faithlessness, God looked after him and prospered him:

Genesis 26v12-13
Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the LORD blessed him. The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy.

Isn't it great that we don't have to be perfect to enjoy God's blessing? Notice, however, that although it's true that Isaac was rich because God blessed him, it's also true that Isaac had to plant the crops. God doesn't bless our idleness.

But being blessed by God doesn't mean that we won't have problems to contend with.

Genesis 26v14-16
He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him. So all the wells that his fatherís servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up, filling them with earth. Then Abimelech said to Isaac, "Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us."

Envy is a terrible thing. Because God was prospering Isaac, the Philistines blocked up his wells and forced him to move away. But Isaac kept on working:

Genesis 26v17-18
So Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar and settled there. Isaac 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.

If you're successful, you may find that some agency (human or demonic) may block up your wells - the sources of life and refreshment that you need to prosper. But, if you continue to seek God, you may find opportunity to re-open those wells.

But read on.

Genesis 26v19-22
Isaacís servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there. But the herdsmen of Gerar quarrelled with Isaacís herdsmen and said, "The water is ours!" So he named the well Esek [which means dispute], because they disputed with him.
Then they dug another well, but they quarrelled over that one also; so he named it Sitnah [which means opposition].
He moved on from there and dug another well, and no-one quarrelled over it. He named it Rehoboth [which means room], saying, "Now the LORD has given us room and we will flourish in the land."

It's not hard to find discouragement and opposition, even when we have God's promises and have experience of His blessing. After re-opening his father's wells, Isaac continued to seek more blessing - to open more wells. And, although the Philistines had seen that God was with him, and even after he'd succeeded in re-opening his father's wells, they still contended with him over the new wells he was digging.

What did Isaac do? He carried on digging. When his wells were stopped up with earth, he re-opened them. When his wells were disputed, he dug more wells. Isaac kept going. And because he kept going, and kept working, God blessed and prospered him.

We're all in a spiritual struggle. We too will find that work that we have faithfully done in God's service is opposed, and sometimes stopped, by others - either by other people or by spiritual forces. Sometimes God allows this to happen. But, like Isaac, we must keep going - keep working - keep looking for God's blessing. And it will come.

Isaac named all the wells he and his servants dug - the ones he had to re-open, the ones he lost and the ones he kept. In the same way, we benefit by remembering both our victories and our defeats. Remember what we've lost, and what we've kept, and what we've regained. They're all part of our story, all part of what makes us what we are.